Reigning champions and hosts Hervey Bay Seagulls have made it three wins from as many matches to start their 4BU/93.9HitzFM A Grade Premiership title defence, but were forced to work hard to down the Isis Devils 28-20 last Sunday at Stafford Park.
The Devils went into the round unbeaten after a win and a draw in the first two weeks, but looked to be staring down the barrel when they conceded 18 straight points after losing enterprising young five-eighth Taylor Barrett to injury.
Despite the injury, the unbeaten visitors fought back with a try leading into the break.
Isis continued to compete strongly in the second stanza with star centre Paul Shillingsworth leading the charge with a double - but went down fighting four tries to five, with only two of those tries converted.
Despite Isis throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the game, all honours must go to the Seagulls for whom new player/coach Jai Ingram was also again amongst the try scorers.
Past Brothers maintained their perfect start to the season with a tough 30-10 victory over Waves Tigers at Salter Oval on Saturday night, leaving last year’s beaten grand finalists and the early season favourites languishing without a point at the bottom of the table.
Waves drew first blood against the Brethren in the fourth minute, but the blue and white staked their claim with four straight tries in 24 minutes, only for the Tigers to pull one back with a four-pointer on the stroke of halftime to trail 22-10.
The Brethren protected their line in the second half whilst adding two more, including a double to quiet achieving second rower Brendan Lachmund.
While they were far from polished in attack, Brothers’ defence was uncompromising and at times brutal as they hunted in numbers to repel many dangerous attacking raids.
Workaholic lightweight second rower Tyler Hodge topped the tackle count with 44 bone-crunchers despite being taken off after tackling himself into the ground by the 65th minute.
Hooker Brent Kuskey also topped the tackle count with 43 along with Kevin Sherriff (42), Jarrod Johnson (35) and Bo Zimmerle (34).
The undefeated Brethren will face by far their biggest test when they suit up against the ladder leaders, Hervey Bay in a mouth-watering clash this Saturday at Salter Oval.
Surprise packets Wests Panthers made it back-to-back wins in the first A Grade match played last Saturday night, finishing with a wet sail to pluck Easts Magpies 32-12.
The Easts-Wests showdown was a low scoring affair in the first 40 minutes and tempers flared with one player from each side sent off and two others sin binned after a first half melee in the east-west derby.
In the end, the Panthers purred away with 22 straight points with interchange dynamo Ilaiasi Pongi wreaking havoc with a hat-trick of tries.
Class hooker Caleb Gazzard scored both of the Magpies’ tries, but it wasn’t enough for the home side.
It’s been a shaky start for the Magpies, suffering two heavy defeats in as many weeks after giving promise with a season opening triumph over Wallaroos.
In the early game on Sunday, Wallaroos posted their maiden win, outgunning their city cousins Maryborough 34-26 in the Heritage City derby.
The Roos had been without a win this campaign up until the clash and were fired up for the occasion conquering the spirited Maryborough side who were hungry for respect.
ROUND 3 A GRADE RESULTS
WESTS 32 (Ilaiasi Pongi 3, Tyson Douglas, Tim Payne, Rob Telfer tries; James Prichard 4 goals) defeated EASTS 12 (Caleb Gazzard 2 tries; Tyrone Ward 2 goals)
PAST BROTHERS 30 (Brendan Lachmund 2, Rueben Olive, Quentin Olive, Will Nagas, Kane Chapman tries; Tyrell Howard 3 goals) defeated WAVES TIGERS 10 (Anthony Broome, Jacobb Olive tries; Arden Lankowski goal)
WALLAROOS 34 (Brandon Law 2, Joel Richards, Shaun Collins, Josiah Alberts tries; Jack Horder 5 goals) defeated MARYBOROUGH BROTHERS 26 (Sonny Appoo 2, Chris Alston, Travis Blake, Zach Reid tries; Tyrone Murray 3 goals)
HERVEY BAY 28 (Jai Ingram, Joedyn Blake, Joel McCrea, Billy Stefaniuk, Elijiah Alefaio tries; Logona Vetemotu 4 goals) defeated ISIS 20 (Paul Shillingsworth 2, Starr Masae, Alivereti Cagimailau tries; Jayden Alberts 2 goals)
LADDER AFTER ROUND 3: Hervey Bay 6, Pasts Brothers 6, Western Suburbs 4, Isis 3, Wallaroos 3, Eastern Suburbs 2, Across the Waves 0, Maryborough Brothers 0
For all the latest information on the 2017 4BU/93.9HitzFM BRL Competition, head to the Bundaberg Rugby League website.