For once, electrifying centre Rueben Olive upstaged his elder brother and regular attacking superstar Quentin, coming to the fore with three tries to spearhead Past Brothers to a 40-16 victory over Maryborough’s Wallaroos in the 4BU/93.9HitzFM A Grade qualifying final at Salter Oval on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, try machine centre Trent Seeds drove a dagger through the hearts of the club which he had played with passion for from his start 13 years ago through to last season, also bagging a hattrick to lead Waves Tigers to a 36-22 triumph over Wests Panthers in the elimination final.
Captain courageous front rower and newly crowned BRL A Grade Representative Player of the Year Kevin Sherriff was still well below full fitness in his return from injury, but he opened Past Brothers’ account with a try in just the fifth minute, which was converted by young halfback Tyrell Howard.
The two powerful teams traded tries in the first half until Bundaberg’s highest ranked team in the finals scored a crucial try 65 seconds before the break, with speedster Rueben Olive finishing off a stunning long-range team try for a 16-10 lead.
When Olive crossed for his second try in the left corner in the 13th minute of the second stanza and Howard landed a side-line conversion, they led by 12 points.
The Roos got back to within a converted try in the 61st minute when champion centre Shaun Collins, fresh from claiming his third BRL A Grade Player of the Year award, finished off another superb 80m team try.
However, some more Olive magic in the form of another scintillating run down a narrow corridor on the left flank, paved the way for powerhouse second rower Aaron Hall to crash over from a pass from high-class hooker player/coach Brent Kuskey with less than 16 minutes on the clock.
Howard’s conversion re-established a 12-point buffer for the Brethren.
Past Brothers finally sealed victory with two more converted tries in the last seven minutes, firstly with flashy winger Daula Ellison, then Olive brought up his hattrick and the other Olive Quentin joined in the scoring by converting.
Kuskey and Hall also got through a mountain of work in an impressive team defensive performance, racking up 45 and 43 bone-crunching tackles respectively.
Past Brothers will now play reigning champions and minor premiers Hervey Bay Seagulls in the major semi-final this Saturday, while Wallaroos will get a second chance when they suit up against the Waves Tigers in the minor semi-final.
Waves were always expected to have too many guns for Wests but just as they have done all season, the massive underdogs Panthers showed their real character to lead 12-6 until Seeds finished off a superb team try for the Tigers in the 37th minute.
Dynamic winger Arden Lankowski, who overcame what had been feared to be a season ending shoulder injury to make a welcome return to the side, converted then slotted over another kick from in front of the posts after receiving a penalty with 15 seconds remaining in the half.
Seeds also pounced on a perfectly placed short kick through traffic for their next try five minutes after the restart.
The Tigers capitalised on Panthers errors for their next two tries, with halfback Chris Ford, who was part of Hervey Bay’s premiership side last year, charging through the line in the 50th minute and Lankowski crossing on the right edge seven minutes later before kicking his fifth goal from the touch-line for an 18-point lead.
Still, Wests refused to surrender and got back to within eight points with 15 minutes to go with two tries in the space of just over four minutes.
Young gun Hayden Tanna crossed on the left wing then the vastly experienced second rower Marlon Johnson followed suit but goal kicker James Prichard’s miss of the first conversion attempt from the sideline meant they still had to score more than once.
A string of basic errors prevented them from getting any closer despite receiving more penalties in prime attacking positions, although Waves were just as guilty in a mistake-athon last 13 minutes.
With the match won, Seeds put the icing on the Waves cake and added salt to Wests’ wounds with his third try in the dying seconds, but last year’s beaten grand finalists will need to improve if they are to keep their hopes alive when they do battle with the Roos this Saturday.
For Wests, despite bowing out, the embattled club can be very proud of their achievements this season after losing more than half of their side which was beaten in double extra-time by Waves in last year’s preliminary final.
Meanwhile, Wests outgunned reigning premiers Maryborough Brothers 28-20 in the Reserve Grade qualifying final with centre Ben Cole leading the charge with a hattrick and fullback Jake Coros picking up a double, while Brothers hooker Jarrabah Davidson also crossed twice.
After trailing 24-4 at halftime, Wallaroos came back from the dead to defeat Easts 34-30 in the Reserve Grade elimination final with centre Billy Connell, front rower Aiden Churchill and lock Tim Sauer all finishing with doubles, while interchange player Bennett Ooms Otineru achieved the same feat for the Magpies.
First season side, Isis Devils, accounted for Hervey Bay 32-18 in the Women’s qualifying final with lock Amber Saltner amassing 16 points with two tries and four goals, and centre Sophia Fisher also doubling up.
Meanwhile, Burnett Heads eliminated Waves Tigers with a 24-14 victory with halfback Levinia Robinson a match winner with three tries and two conversions and centre Tori-Leigh Smith completing their scoring with a two-try haul.
A GRADE SEMI FINALS RESULTS
4v5: WAVES 36 (Trent Seeds 3, Arden Lankowski, Chris Ford, Daniel McLennan tries; Arden Lankowski 6 goals) defeated WESTS 22 (Jarrod Chinfat, Ilaiasi Pongi, Hayden Tanna, Marlon Johnson tries; James Prichard 3 goals)
2v3: PAST BROTHERS 40 (Rueben Olive 3, Kevin Sherriff, Sam Robinson, Aaron Hall, Daula Ellison tries; Tyrell Howard 4, Rueben Olive, Quentin Olive goals) defeated WALLAROOS 16 (Brandon Law, Josh Crowley, Shaun Collins tries; Jack Horder 2 goals)