WAVES Tigers, who have recruited heavily and strongly from far and wide as they attempt to re-emerge as a force after a long stint in the Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership doldrums, fielded their strongest team in years for their sixth round clash with Past Brothers at Salter Oval on Saturday night, including rolling out their biggest signing, former NRL player Anthony Watts.
But while they improved, they lost Watts with a hamstring injury along the way, and in the end, they were again soundly beaten as the Brethren notched their fifth straight victory 32- 6 to maintain their position at the top of the table and increase their nett points differential over Hervey Bay Seagulls, who inflicted their only loss so far in 2015, back in round one on March 7 but had the weekend off with the bye.
Earlier on the program, Wallaroos made it back-to-back wins, getting their season back on track, climbing one place on the ladder to fourth with a 32-24 despatch of an also improved Easts Magpies.
But last year's beaten grand finalists, Isis Devils, who kicked off the new year with back-to-back wins, including defeating the Seagulls, slumped to a third straight loss, this time at the hands of Wests Panthers, their second successive stumble at their long-time home fortress of "The Furnace" at Childers Showgrounds.
Two-times defending premiers Wests rebounded from their loss to Brothers eight days earlier to move into third position on the ladder, getting home 30-12.
On paper, the Tigers could be roaring with their other biggest gun being 25-year-old former Newcastle Knights NRL second rower Con Mika, who also played 52 games for Hull Kingston Rovers in the English Superleague, then played reserve grade for Redcliffe Dolphins last year, but with 10 new faces in their side, it appears they are going to take a while to gel.
Brothers toughed out a 16-0 lead by the break and never relented although front rower Russell Wood came up with a consolation try for Waves.
Brothers also have a new look team this season and they fielded just five members of their team which faded badly in 2014, winning just two of their last nine matches, but they have rebuilt well under Mat Templeman, their five-times Queensland Rangers star who has stepped up to also take the coaching reins.
High class hooker Brent Kuskey and halfback Joel Fagan, a former Panthers champion and dual premiership winner, again weaved their magic as Past Brothers racked up seven tries against the Tigers and could have won by much more but for only kicking two conversions.
Their only multiple-try getter was Tom Akers who came off the bench to snare a double after kicking two goals in under-18.
Former Caboolture Snakes fullback Jake Carl, who initially signed with Waves earlier this year, but transferred to Brothers a week before the season kick-off, continued his outstanding form for the blue and whites with another try, while another feature was the A Grade debut of another under-18 quiet achiever Mathew Stockwell on the wing.
Adding to Waves' woes, Watts has announced his intention of moving to Newcastle to train for an upcoming fight and pursue his goal of returning to the NRL.
Meanwhile, Easts, bolstered by the returns of club junior products, silky skilled fullback Baidon Cooper and second row powerhouse Tyson Knight, led 12-10 at the break but Roos finished over the top of them, with winger Josh Crowley cashing in with a double.
Wallaroos coach, former Test and State of Origin star Colin Scott said their performance was evidence that his side was developing.
"We're starting to come together as a side and we're building, I'm happy where we're at and I think we're starting to cement our players and combinations," Scott said.
"(Front rower) Will Jung and (hooker) Damian Otto have been playing 80 minutes every week for us and they've been the leaders in the pack, along with Mark Berkery and Lincoln Willmot."
Scott also lauded crafty halfback Luke Waters, who was also among the tries but suffered a shoulder injury and is likely to miss two to three weeks.
Roos will get the chance to consolidate their position when they host Waves at Eskdale Park this Saturday night with the weekend marking the end of the first of three full rounds of competition .
It is back to the drawing board for Isis after being battered and beaten by Wests.
But while not the same force as the past two years, the Panthers are starting to purr with a hard-working pack behind their new but vastly experienced halves pairing of Josh Tanner and Josh Garden.
There was much to like about their performance, with passionate young winger Trent Seeds again among the stars with his second straight two-try haul while fellow 17-year-old centre sensation Hayden Tanna, a prolific try scorer throughout his junior career who has transferred from Easts, also chipped in with a four-pointer.
But they face a biggest test when they match motors with Hervey Bay in the late game this Sunday night.
Wallaroos 32 (Josh Crowley 2, Sam Hutchins, Luke Waters, Will Jung, Kane Rowles tries, Lincoln Willmot 4 goals) d Easts 24 (Baidon Cooper, Luke Watson, Ross Larson, Tyson Knight tries; Baidon Cooper 4 goals)
Brothers 32 (Tom Akers 2, Jake Carl, Daniel Finter, Brent Kuskey, Vahiti Hopoi, Taulanga Naupoto tries; Jake Carl 2 goals) d Waves Tigers 6 (Russell Wood try, Dan McLennan goal) Wests 30 (Trent Seeds 2, Hayden Tanna, Josh Tanner, James Prichard, Rick Nagas tries; Josh Tanner 2, Hayden Dight goals) d Isis 12 (Zac Dann, Jake Thompson tries; Robert O'Donnell 2 goals).