Five-eighth Quentin Ellis was at his brilliant best at the weekend, steering his Past Brothers side to a 38-24 upset victory over the ladder-leading Hervey Bay Seagulls at Salter Oval on Sunday afternoon.
In Round 11 of the 4BU/93.9HitzFM Bundaberg A Grade Premiership, Ellis bagged four tries in a five-star all-round performance, allowing the Brethren to re-join the Bay at the top of the table.
The Wallaroos juggernaut rolled on, with former dual BRL A Grade Player of the Year Shaun Collins also running amok in a 74-6 demolition of a 15-man Wests Panthers at Eskdale Park on Saturday night.
The win now places them just three points behind the joint-leaders and bolsters their for and against differential to a best of league +176.
Easts Magpies consolidated fourth position with a 24-16 triumph over an again very competitive Maryborough Brothers in the other A Grade match in Maryborough, while Waves Tigers put it all together to claim outright fifth place, moving two points ahead of Wests with a 32-6 drubbing of the badly misfiring Isis Devils.
Past Brothers had been swamped by the Seagulls 46-20 in their only previous meeting this year on May 6, but the boot was well and truly on the other foot this time despite the Bundaberg club again being without their coach and best player in hooker Brent Kuskey, who was serving the second match of his two-game suspension.
Ellis stamped his class in an inspired display but assistant coach Steve Plath lauded a robust team performance in which interchange forward Mat Ohlbrecht and Central Crows representative bookend dynamo and captain Kevin Sherriff were also outstanding.
Seagulls player/coach Jai Ingram also stood tall for his side with a double, but after having had their 25-game winning streak ended by Easts four weeks earlier, their air of invincibility has dissipated.
With that gone, the battle for the minor premiership looks set to go right down to the wire, with there being probably five legitimate contenders for the title.
The sorry saga continued for the Panthers, who brought another former star, Odin Allison, out of retirement, but they could fill just two bench places and were lambs to the slaughter by the rampant Roos.
With brothers Luke and Ben Waters pulling the strings in the halves on the back of a heavyweight forwards thrust, their back-line feasted with winger Alex Mallam continuing his red-hot form with a hattrick, and classy hooker Jack Horder amassing 22-points with a try and nine conversions.
Easts were forced to dig deep to dispose of the Maryborough Brethren, with player/coach Mat Templeman forming a lethal halves pairing with Nathan Sullivan, but it was their former Australian junior representative front rower Ross Larsen who was in the end the difference between the two sides with a double.
Much was expected this year of last year’s beaten grand finalists Waves, but while they have not been the same force as last year so far, they showed glimpses of their best by outmuscling and outclassing the hapless Devils, finishing seven tries to one victors.
Prolific try scorer Trent Seeds reverted from the forwards to his specialist position in the centres to chalk up his second hattrick in three matches and his new centres partner, Tongan ace Sekope Tua notched a double.
Adding to Isis’ and Wests’ woes, they were both forced to forfeit their Reserve Grade matches, but Past Brothers rebounded brilliantly from their first loss of the season a week earlier to pluck the Seagulls 50-24 with Jamie Turnbull playing a leading hand with a double.
Isis’ only joy came in the Women’s division where they outgunned Waves 26-18 with Louise Rainbow a match winner with a two-try haul.
ROUND 11 A GRADE RESULTS
EASTS 24 (Ross Larsen 2, Dylan Taylor, Cody Stibbards, Reece Maughan tries; DylanTaylor, Tyrone Ward goals) defeated MARYBOROUGH BROTHERS 16 (Jarrabah Davidson, Anaru Nathan, Tyrone Murray tries; Dalton Harry 2 goals)
WALLAROOS 74 (Shaun Collins 5, Alex Mallam 3, Luke Waters 2, Josiah Alberts, Brandon Law, Jack Horder, Mason Atkinson tries; Jack Horder 9 goals) defeated WESTS 6 (Thomas Morgan try, James Prichard goal)
WAVES 32 (Trent Seeds 3, Sekope Tua 2, Tien Nguyen, Tukerekere Hikaka tries; Daniel McLennan 2 goals) defeated ISIS 6 (Tim Cole try, Taylar Barritt goal)
PAST BROTHERS 38 (Quentin Olive 4, Willie Nagas, Daula Ellison, Tyrell Priestley tries; Tyrell Howard 5 goals) defeated HERVEY BAY 24 (Jai Ingram 2, Damien Otto, Steve Brudzinski, Elijah Alefaio tries; Logona Vetemotu, Clinton Horne goals)
LADDER AFTER ROUND 11: Hervey Bay 18, Pasts Brothers 18, Wallaroos 15, Eastern Suburbs 11, Across the Waves 10, Western Suburbs 8, Isis 5, Maryborough Brothers 3
For all the latest information on the 2017 4BU/93.9HitzFM BRL Competition, head to the Bundaberg Rugby League website.