Young centre leads Wallaroos
RAMPAGING 19-year-old centre Roy Stretton led the carnage with five tries as hosts and pride of Maryborough, Wallaroos white-washed a depleted and battle weary Easts Magpies 92-0 in round seven of the Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership at Eskdale Park on Sunday afternoon.
Although the result must be taken into perspective against a team which had many of their stars missing and had most players backing up for their second or third game for the afternoon, Roos' transformation from last year's whipping boys has been amazing and they celebrated one of, if not the biggest A grade win, in the club's 120-year history, while sentencing the Magpies to one of their heaviest ever losses.
It was a case of "blue murder" as the Heritage City juggernaut rolled on, racking up 19 tries with brothers Roderique and Gibson Gela wreaking havoc in the halves, each bagging hat tricks of tries in sizzling all-round performances.
They were unlucky not to crack the ton as they had a few tries disallowed, and they only landed eight conversions, with the Gela brothers sharing the goals between them and Roderique doing the better with six for a personal haul of 24 points.
After a slow start to the year, losing two of their first three games, going down to reigning premiers Wests Panthers 32-14 in the season opener, then succumbing to Hervey Bay Seagulls 24-12 after accounting for Isis Devils 44-22, They have become the entertainers of the BRL, and have notched a hat trick of victories, inflicting competition leaders Brothers' only defeat so far in 2014, a 34-26 boil-over at home on Anzac Day and a 60-24 thrashing of cellar dwellers Waves Tigers before plucking the Magpies on the weekend.
Stretton believes they were only going to get better, while coach Danny Holmes, in his 40th straight year in the game, was delighted to have kept a clean sheet in defence but knows it is early days yet and there is a long way to go if they are to emulate the Panthers of 2013 in claiming the premiership 12 months after taking out the wooden spoon.
Currently they are in equal second position on the ladder on 10 points, together with the Panthers but now boasting a superior nett points differential to the premiers, with both teams two behind Brothers, one in front of the Seagulls, who had the bye, while Easts remain in fifth on seven points, two in advance of Isis, with the improving but win-less Tigers still at the rear with just two bye points to their credit.
Despite missing most of their big guns, an also much depleted Brothers retained their two-point points buffer with a second straight tooth and nail triumph,this time at the expense of Waves 26-18 at Salter Oval on Saturday night, while earlier on that program, Wests got their season back on track after two straight losses, outgunning Isis 42-34.
After scores had been locked at 10-all at the break, Brothers clawed their way to the points on the back of a double to under-18 pocket dynamo Lewin Theuerkauff-Smith who came off the bench and put a horror previous A Grade match in their loss on Anzac Day behind him, showing his true colours.
The Brethren were well led by their halfback and stand-in captain Andrew Cross, who was also among the try scores, along with one of two A Grade debutants, Nicholas Brotherton, who also started on the interchange list.
For the second week in a row, it was so near but still so far for the Tigers, for whom young winger Nathan Jones picked up another double, and they will surely open their account shortly and that could give them the confidence needed to string some wins together.
The Panthers put their stamp on their match in the first half, opening up a 24-4 advantage, and while they dropped their guard, they hung on despite the Devils out scoring them 30-18 in the second stanza.
Flashy 19-year-old fullback Windsor Bowie, who originates from Cape York but had spent the last year exciting crowds for Gladstone powerhouses Valleys, was a match winner on club debut with a hat-trick of tries, while one of the Devils' much vaunted Samoans, Igitolo Poleka, scored twice after being injected into the game from the bench.
Three-times defending women's champions Brothers proved far too strong for Wests with classy fullback Kady Tinker cutting loose with five tries in a 46-0 white-wash.
Wests 42 (Windsor Bowie 3, Kane Chapman, Brad Pfeffer, Blain Martin, Brendan Magala, Rick Nagas, Luke Davis tries; Bevan Page 3 goals) d Isis 34 (Igitolo Poleka 2, Mathew Higgins, Liam Gooden, Jack Rowan, Nathan Sullivan, Zac Suter tries; Rowan 3 goals).
Brothers 26 (Lewin Theuerkauff-Smith 2, Andrew Cross, Dylan Blackman, Nicholas Brotherton tries; Nathan Moore 3 goals) d Waves Tigers 18 (Nathan Jones 2, Blake Spry, Dominic Tavae tries; Daniel McLennan goal).
Wallaroos 92 (Roy Stretton 5, Gibson Gela 3, Roderique Gela 3, George Major 2, Eddy Booth, Daniel Gillen, David Ball, Mark Berkery, Luke Waters, Billy Connell tries; Roderique Gela 6, Gibson Gela 2 goals) d Easts 0