Past Brothers claimed the first silverware of the Bundaberg Rugby League A Grade season with a 64-6 victory over a second-string Hervey Bay Seagulls in the inaugural Bundaberg Toyota Cup final at Salter Oval on Sunday.
The final is contested between the two leading teams at the midway point in the season. Brothers were much below strength with a few players missing due to injury and others playing for Bundaberg in the Under 20 47th Battalion Carnival in Yeppoon, and the usually star-studded Seagulls fielded just 15 players including only one regular A-grader.
Their young side never stopped trying but Brothers produced a highly professional team performance. The Brethren line-up included three of their young guns in the backline who were backing up from a 26-22 loss to Wallaroos in the Under 18 Cup decider earlier in the day. Rece Hansen and A Grade debutants Jared Veit and small and lightweight flyer Josiah Purcell opened their account by finishing off a superb team try in the 4th minute and also getting the ball rolling for them in the second stanza, completing a similarly exquisite team try.
Past Brothers after their Toyota Cup win.
Two other players notched doubles, second-row machine and former multiple premiership winner Aaron Hall, who has returned to the club this season after a stint in the Gladstone League, and hooker, coach and fill-in captain Brent Kuskey, with the two also racking up a match-high 38 and 31 bone-crunching tackles respectively.
But there were many other heroes, including five-eighth Quentin Olive who produced another master class, including scoring one try and laying on at least three more, former multiple premiership ace Boe Zimmerlie, who filled in superbly at halfback and was simply sensational, including amassing 33 tackles, veteran reserve grade lock Brendon McKeown, who scored a try and racked up 19 tackles until succumbing to injury late in the first half, and lightweight fill-in front rower Tyla Hodge, who was also rewarded with a superb individual try, the conversion of which brought up the half-century.
The result could have been even more lop-sided had they had their kicking boots on as they landed just six of 13 conversion attempts.
At the Under 20 47th Battalion Carnival, Bundaberg Bears claimed an historic title, defeating Rockhampton 22-20 in the final, coming back from the dead after trailing 16-0 at halftime.
The Bears had easily won their two round games against Central Highlands 34-8 and Gladstone 56-0.
The Toyota Cup will be a distant memory when the Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership resumes this weekend with four rounds remaining. Past Brothers and Hervey Bay – the joint competition leaders - go into their showdowns with Wallaroos at Salter Oval on Sunday and Wests Panthers at home at Stafford Park on Saturday respectively.
Past Brothers also took out the women’s Toyota Cup after Waves Tigers forfeited the match, and they also contested the reserve grade cup game, but were also edged out by Wests 26-22, for whom stalwart Jamie Hansen was among the tries.
Past Brothers 64 (Josiah Purcell 2, Aaron Hall 2, Brent Kuskey 2, Hayden Priestley, Quentin Olive, Brendon McKeown, Willie Nagas, Tyla Hodge, Boe Zimmerlie, Logan Tanzer tries; Quentin Olive 6 goals) def Hervey Bay 6 (Travin Baumann try, Lachie Jackson goal).