After a tough start to the season, a beefed-up Easts Magpies signalled they are now a genuine force with a stunning 52-12 drubbing of Isis Devils in their 4BU/93.9HitzFM A Grade Premiership sixth round encounter at Salter Oval on Sunday.
The Magpies had not won since the first round, but they went on the attack from the start and stunned the Devils by establishing a 34-6 halftime lead and went right on with the job, with former Past Brothers star Corey Chapman leading the charge with a double, while another ex-Brothers multiple premiership ace and coach of the past few years, Mat Templeman, who took the Easts’ reins this season, notched his first try for the Black and Whites in just his second game this year.
Easts joined Wallaroos in equal-fifth place on five points, just one point behind joint-third seeds, Waves and Wests, with Hervey Bay the pilots on 12 points, two points clear of Past Brothers, with Isis (3) and Maryborough Brothers (1) propping up the ladder.
The Magpies will need to rise a few more levels if they are to continue their winning spree against the high-flying Bay, as the competition reaches the halfway point in the season this weekend.
The Devils’ plight does not get any easier as they will come up against a ravenous Panthers this week.
The big win to Easts was after the reigning champions Hervey Bay Seagulls’ juggernaut rolled on to their 25th consecutive win, but again had to dig deep to stave off a valiant Wests Panthers 26-18.
The Panthers served it up to Hervey Bay, but it was a case of so near - but yet so far, as the highly professional Seagulls, who know how to win games that maybe others would have lost, got home on the back of a hat-trick of tries to wing sensation Billy Stefaniuk.
At Eskdale Park Maryborough on Saturday afternoon, Past Brothers shored up second position with a 32-20 triumph at the expense of an also fired up Wallaroos.
In the Heritage City, Past Brothers reconfirmed that they look the team most likely to be able to halt the Bay juggernaut outgunning Roos, with player/coach and hooker Brent Kuskey again setting the standard with a double in a signature heavyweight all-round performance.
Roos gun centre Shaun Collins, a former dual BRL A Grade Player of the Year and multiple premiership ace for Brothers, also crossed twice in a trademark display of speed and power.
Brothers have lost just one game this season so far, going down to the Bay four weeks ago, but even with a few trumps still missing, the sky could be the limit for them when they suit up against their Maryborough counterparts this Saturday.
In the final game of the round, after starting their campaign with three straight losses, the Waves Tigers chalked up their third win in a row, but not before having to overcome the challenge of hosts Maryborough Brothers 28-16.
The Brethren aimed up against Waves, but the Tigers simply had too many guns, with perennial match winner Sekope Tua chalking up a double. Blockbusting winger Arden Lankowski was also in the thick of things with one try and four goals.
The Magpies also soared high in Reserve grade, racking up the same number of points as their A Grade in a 52-6 demolition of the Devils, with fullback Claude Saunders bagging a hattrick of tries.
Brothers’ Reserve graders also continued their winning ways outgunning Roos 32-28, with newcomer Wireless Putere backing up from the Under 18s to be a match winner with a hattrick of tries.
The Brethren’s Under 18s had been beaten by the Roos 30-16, with centre Philip Alberts stamping his mark on the match with a three-try haul.
Past Brothers’ Women also surged on with a 26-4 blitz of Waves with two tries to Morgan Engstrom.
ROUND 6 A GRADE RESULTS
PAST BROTHERS 32 (Brent Kuskey 2, Quentin Olive, Tyrell Priestley, Kane Chapman, Hayden Priestley tries; Kane Chapman 2, Tyrell Howard 2 goals) defeated WALLAROOS 20 (Shaun Collins 2, Sam Hutchins, William Jung tries; Jack Horder 2 goals)
WAVES TIGERS 28 (Sekope Tua 2, Arden Lankowski, Jackson Paulsen, Trent Seeds tries; Arden Lankowski 4 goals) defeated MARYBOROUGH BROTHERS 16 (Gareth Willmot, Lincoln Willmot, Jack Brown tries; Lyle Murgha, Kurt Fleming goals)
HERVEY BAY 26 (Billy Stefaniuk 3, Chris Wicks, Ethan West tries; Logona Vetemotu 3 goals) defeated WESTS 18 (Matthew Gough, Ray Zysk, Corey Tanner tries; Bevan Page 3 goals)
EASTS 52 (Corey Chapman 2, Dylan Taylor, Zak Bainbridge, Reece Maughan, Caleb Gazzard, Jamie Lowien, Marshall Murphy, Mathew Templeman tries; Zak Bainbridge 8 goals) defeated ISIS 12 (Sonny Oloapu, Starr Masae tries; Taylar Barritt 2 goals).
LADDER AFTER ROUND 6: Hervey Bay 12, Pasts Brothers 10, Western Suburbs 6, Across the Waves 6, Wallaroos 5, Eastern Suburbs 5, Isis 3, Maryborough Brothers 1
For all the latest information on the 2017 4BU/93.9HitzFM BRL Competition, head to the Bundaberg Rugby League website.