Former Gold Coast Titan Jai Ingram led from the front with a three-try haul as the Hervey Bay Seagulls powered on in their 4BU/93.9HitzFM A Grade Premiership title defence.
In their 23rd straight victory, the visitors were too good for Past Brothers 46-20 in their fourth-round showdown at Salter Oval on Saturday night.
Past Brothers had won their first three matches this season, but they were without a number of stars including one of their best players and coach Brent Kuskey.
With Ingram starting himself on the bench, the Brethren got the jump, establishing a 10-0 lead after seven minutes with under 18 star centre, Rece Hansen making a dream A Grade debut, scoring on the right edge with his first touch of the ball in the second minute.
Hansen then delivered for a superb Sam Robinson try five minutes later.
It was a big week for the Hansen family with Rece celebrating his 17th birthday four days earlier and older brother Luke playing for Papua New Guinea in the Test match against the Cook Islands.
The Seagulls swooped on a Brothers mistake to open their account through centre Koli Oneone in the 13th minute, but the Blue and Whites hit back to lead 16-6 with a try to halfback Jarrod Johnson in the 25th minute.
However, the Seagulls player/coach, Ingram injected himself into the game and made an immediate impact, charging over on the second tackle after Brothers were penalised in possession in their red zone.
Wing sensation Billy Stefaniuk produced an 80 metre special six minutes later and with the try converted, it gave the visitors an 18-16 lead.
The Seagulls soared to land a massive blow on the stroke of halftime with Ingram again steam-rolling over on the second tackle from a booming 40/20 kick.
Ingram completed a personal hattrick 10 minutes into the second stanza, to trigger another rapid-fire three-try blitz, including a second Oneone try for a 40-16 lead.
Brothers finally scored again in the 72nd minute after the Bay seemed to drop their guard, but the Seagulls fittingly had the last say, with Stefaniuk again turning on the afterburners with another stunning try in the dying minute.
The Bay’s big win came after former dual Bundaberg Rugby League A Grade Player of the Year and Queensland Rangers star Shaun Collins wreaked havoc with four tries to spearhead the Wallaroos to a 56-16 blitz of an undermanned Wests Panthers.
Wests were missing players who had been suspended after the melee in their previous match and had no answer to the white-hot Roos who bounded to a 32-6 lead and never relented.
Apart from Collins’ theatrics, fellow centre Brandon Law was the other multiple try scorer with a double.
At Childers Showgrounds on Sunday, new kids on the block in the A Grade competition, Maryborough Brothers recorded their first competition point at top level, courtesy of a 16-16 draw with a disappointing Easts Magpies.
A draw was a fitting result in the duel as the two battling sides slugged it out, with one point each lifting the spirits of the Fraser Coast side who had suffered some crushing losses in their baptism of fire initiation into A Grade.
The Magpies will be ruing missed opportunities in another disappointing performance after having eyed maximum points to get their season back on track.
Last year’s beaten grand finalists Waves Tigers, who had lost their first three matches in the new year, also grabbed their first match points this campaign, batting out a hard-fought 22-10 win at the expense of hosts Isis Devils.
Needing the win to kick-start their season, the Tigers were bolstered by the arrival of several Tongan talents and while they got the points, it was not before having to overcome the fierce challenge of the Devils who were also hungry and fired up to deliver in front of a big and boisterous home crowd.
In other matches, Wests accounted for the Roos 36-24 in an entertaining Reserve Grade affair with five-eight Ashley Pollitt a match winner with a pair of tries and brace of conversions.
Past Brothers’ women also continued their winning way, shading first-season side Burnett Heads 26-24 with fullback Rebecca Kenny notching a hat-trick.
Her opposite for Burnett, Zara Johnson-Gamia also aimed up in a beaten side with a double.
ROUND 4 RESULTS
WALLAROOS 56 (Shaun Collins 4, Brandon Law 2, Josiah Alberts, Ben Waters, William Jung, Jack Horder, Corey Hellmuth tries; Jack Horder 5, Joel Richards goals) defeated WESTS 16 (Matthew Lawton 2, Ray Zysk tries; James Prichard 2 goals)
HERVEY BAY 46 (Jai Ingram 3, Billy Stefaniuk 2, Koli Oneone 2, Clinton Mooney tries; Logona Vetemotu 7 goals) defeated PAST BROTHERS 20 (Sam Robinson, Rueben Olive, Rece Hansen, Jarrod Johnson tries; Andrew Filo 2 goals)
EASTS 16 (Cody Stibbards, Romond Pompey, Jamie Lowien tries; Zak Bainbridge 2 goals) drew MARYBOROUGH BROTHERS 16 (Lincoln Wilmot, Kerrod McKenna, Heti Kafoa tries; Lyle Murgha 2 goals)
WAVES TIGERS 22 (Arden Lankowski, Chris Ford, Trent Seeds, T Mosese tries; Lankowski 3 goals) defeated ISIS 10 (Paul Shillingsworth, Jake Thompson tries; Taylar Barritt goal)
LADDER AFTER ROUND 4: Hervey Bay 8, Pasts Brothers 6, Wallaroos 5, Western Suburbs 4, Isis 3, Eastern Suburbs 3, Across the Waves 2, Maryborough Brothers 1
For all the latest information on the 2017 4BU/93.9HitzFM BRL Competition, head to the Bundaberg Rugby League website.