BUNDABERG playing and coaching great Danny Tanner, who suffered a fatal heart attack on May 24 at the age of just 53, was given a fitting tribute with all four A Grade teams which played round eight games at Salter Oval on Sunday night lining up on the field for a minute's silence.
The tribute was held prior to the match of the night between Wests Panthers, the club which he championed for most of his playing days in the Rum City and later coached to great things, and Easts Magpies, whom he also captain/coached to success before leaving his home-town.
The Panthers, who are now coached by one of his brothers, another local icon, Nathan, and whose team includes three of his nephews, captain and one of the district's best players Josh Tanner and his brothers Corey and Patrick, then delivered their own tribute, thrashing the much under strength Magpies 64-6.
The reigning premiers rolled out another quality recruit in former Papua New Guinea International George Kepa, who starred in Across The Waves’ 2007 premiership before heading south and played for several years for Norths Devils in the Queensland Cup but had spent the last few seasons in the Gladstone League.
The flashy centre marked his debut with a double as Wests continued their re-emergence with their second straight win following two losses in a row, running in 11 tries against the hapless Magpies, who managed just one in a 58-point defeat after suffering a 92-0 white-wash at the hands of Wallaroos a week earlier.
But it was crafty five-eighth Brendan Magala and converted hooker Willie Nagas, who co-starred with three tries apiece, while electric halfback Bevan Page led their scoring with 10 conversions, and Josh Tanner chipped in with one four-pointer.
Wests had beaten Easts just 30-24 in their first clash of the season back on April 5.
They remain just two points adrift of Brothers, who moved to 14 points with a 30-10 victory at the expense of Hervey Bay Seagulls earlier on the program, a similar score-line to their 34-12 win when the pair last met back in round two.
Wallaroos stay in third position on 10 points after having their bubble burst by Isis Devils, who awoke from their slumber on their home turf at “The Furnace” at Childers Showgrounds on Sunday afternoon, bouncing back from successive narrow losses to Brothers and Wests while ending Roos’ three-match winning streak.
The Seagulls also held on to fourth berth on nine points, with the Devils joining the Magpies in joint-fifth ranking on seven points apiece but moving streets ahead of them on nett points differential, with Isis now boasting +6 with Easts minus 172 after back-to-back blow-outs.
The win-less Waves are anchored in the cellar on four points for their two byes.
Brothers, who were still without injured big guns Mat Templeman, Lewis Williams and Tyrone Hopgood, led just 10-4 after a torrid first 40 minutes.
But they clinched the points with four tries in the second stanza, with fleet-footed fullback Chris Rose and barnstorming second rower Joel McCrea each picking up doubles.
They produced three more team debutants, including 17-year-old second rower Tyson Whaleboat, a state touch representative and a cousin to Lachlan Lam, who had starred for Queensland in their under-16 win over New South Wales in the curtain-raiser to Origin I during the week.
Whaleboat backed up from under-18 earlier in the afternoon to start in the second row and score a try, and it was extra-special for the Shalom year 12 student, who for the first time played along-side his father Tat, who had led Waves to the 2007 title as player/coach and came out of retirement to help out off the bench.
Wallaroos had thumped Isis 44-22 in their first duel of 2014 but with the Maryborough side having two players sent off and another sin binned in a fierce physical encounter, the Devils were unstoppable, especially with brothers Kurt and Jake Thompson back in the fold and adding real starch and great extra attacking flair to their back-line.
Both were among their six individual try scorers.
In the women's league, competition newcomers Gladstone Raidettes ran amok against a nine-person Cherbourg, running out 70-6 victors.
Easts also triumphed, 28-12 over Wests with five-eighth Nea Robinson leading the charge with a hat-trick of tries.
Brothers 30 (Chris Rose 2, Joel McCrea 2, Keane Gooch, Tyson Whaleboat tries; Nathan Moore 2, Gooch goals) d Hervey Bay 10 (Joel Denduck, Tyson Woodman tries; Terry Horne goal).
Wests 64 (Brendan Magala 3, Willie Nagas 3, George Kepa 2, Windsor Bowie, Kane Chapman, Josh Tanner tries; Bevan Page 10 goals) d Easts 6 (Cody Maughan try, Zak Bainbridge goal).
Isis 34 (Jake Thompson, Tanielu Pasene, Kurt Thompson, Robert O'Donnell, Zac Suter, Mathew Curtis tries; Robert O'Donnell 4, Jack Rowan goals) d Wallaroos 14 (Gibson Gela 2, Sam Hutchins tries; Roderique Gela goal).