Seagulls juggernaut powers on
Even without injured captain and halfback Clinton Horne, Hervey Bay's highly potent backline cut loose as the Seagulls powered on at the top of the Bundaberg Broadcasters A-Grade Premiership ladder with an 88-0 home whitewash of whipping boys Isis Devils in their 10th round showdown at Stafford Park on Saturday afternoon.
But the rampaging Waves Tigers roared loud and clear that they are the new team to beat, overpowering Wests Panthers 44-16 in Sunday's match of the day at Salter Oval, which doubled as the inaugural Not Know Not Ever Cup, which was part of a family fun day organised by the Wests club supporting the fight against domestic violence.
In the early match on Sunday, reigning champions Past Brothers snapped a two-match losing streak, outgunning Wallaroos 50-12.
The Devils never stopped trying but their season from hell continued, trailing 36-0 at half-time, and conceding a further 52 unanswered points in the second stanza.
The Seagulls were ruthless and clinical, with try-machine wingers Billy Stefaniuk and Elisaia Saumani bagging hat-tricks and centres Nathan Martyn and Horne's younger brother, Terry, and barnstorming young frontrower Will Jung joining in the feast with two tries apiece.
Horne also kicked seven goals for a personal tally of 26 points.
Hervey Bay will face a tougher test when they travel to Brothers Sports Club on Saturday night for another grand final rematch from last year against the team that also inflicted their only loss so far this campaign, by a mere one point at their home ground in Round One on March 5.
Last Sunday, coming off successive losses to Easts Magpies and Wests, Brothers again started poorly, failing to complete their first four sets, and the Roos eventually pounced with livewire fullback Joey Alberts, who was doubling up after scoring a try in their 28-14 victory over the Tigers in under-18, drawing first blood after eight minutes.
But Brothers captain and workaholic frontrower Kevin Sherriff got them on the board with a try, capitalising on a Wallaroos knock-on in their red zone, in the 13th minute.
The premiers then clicked into gear, with Australian Police representative fullback Jake Carl, who was sorely missed in their defeat at the hands of the Panthers, getting them going, making a break and following through on two perfectly placed kicks to ground the ball, then convert two minutes later.
Brothers went on to lead 22-4 at the break before going right on with the job despite losing three players to injury and again finishing with a low completion rate.
Carl finished with a brace of tries and five goals but had an off-day with the boot, missing four straight kicks in the second half before raising the flags to bring up the half-century from his third try two minutes from the end.
Potent 18-year-old centre Jayden Alberts also claimed a three-try haul.
Joey Alberts, who was assisted from the field injured in the first half, recovered and returned to also score Roos' first four-pointer in the second half.
It was a good day all-around for Past Brothers with hooker Dylan Arndt running amok with four tries and seven goals in a 54-6 demolition of Roos in Reserve grade, and their under-18s white-washing Maryborough Brothers 56-0 with centre Corey Findlay leading the charge with three tries.
Wallaroos will need to improve when they do battle with a smarting Wests in the early A-Grade match at Salter Oval this Sunday.
Wests started well against Waves last Sunday and threw down the gauntlet with the opening try, but once the Tigers opened their account via a signature charge to crowd-pleasing blockbusting former triple Brothers premiership winning prop Vahiti Hopoi in the 15th minute, the Panthers' dam burst.
Waves finished with eight individual try scorers and after beating Wests by a mere two points in their only previous encounter this year on March 20, their string of high-quality recruits since has made them a much more complete and lethal all-round side, and they just keep going from strength to strength under their first-season coach in former NRL star and Origin and Test player Antonio Kaufusi.
The Tigers will now duel with Easts in the 3pm match on Sunday, before squaring off against the Seagulls on Sunday week in a match that could have a major bearing on the minor premiership and many believe could be an early grand final preview.