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Waves and Wallaroos dominate after recess

Waves Tigers finally put it all together and flexed their powerful muscle with a 44-0 whitewash of hosts Maryborough Brothers at Eskdale Park last Saturday night when the 4BU/93.9HitzFM A Grade premiership fixtures resumed after a two-week break.

That was after fellow co-leaders Wallaroos had produced some brilliance in attack, but frequently went missing in defence, defeating reigning premiers Past Brothers 52-42 in the earlier game in Maryborough.

Meanwhile at BRL headquarters at Salter Oval, the season's biggest improvers, Wests Panthers continued to impress after a season from hell last year, disposing of cellar dwellers Hervey Bay Seagulls 48-10.

The Easts Magpies also stood up to be counted, toughing out a 16-12 victory over Isis, who are the only team to have beaten Waves this year so far and went into the weekend as joint-leaders with the Tigers and Roos.

Waves and Wallaroos are each now on 10 points, two clear of Isis and Wests, followed by Easts on six, Past Brothers on four and Maryborough Brothers on two, with high flyers of the past two seasons, Hervey Bay yet to register a competition point this year.

With their coach and former Test, Origin and NRL star Antonio Kaufusi playing just his second game of the season to complement an awesome pack, the Tigers were ruthless, dominating up front.

Their equally lethal backline were just as dominant, capitalising and scoring eight of their nine tries, with former Seagulls try-machine winger Billy Stefaniuk the star of the show bagging a hattrick and powerhouse centre Trent Seeds notching a double.

The outright lead on the ladder will now be up for grabs when Waves and Roos go head-to-head at Salter Oval this Saturday night to complete the first full round and reach the halfway point in the league after the Brethren do battle with their Maryborough cousins.

Last week's Roos v Brothers game was the return showdown of last year's grand finalists, and it was an even duel until the pride of Maryborough broke the game open with two converted tries late in the first half to lead 24-12 at oranges.

They then put their stamp on the match by chasing down their kick from the first set after the restart, stripping the ball then planting it over the line for the perfect start to the second stanza.

They then continued to run in tries almost at will down the left edge, but they forgot to defend, and Brothers scored some great tries too, although they were always playing catch-up.

For Wallaroos, their chief attacking weapons; highly decorated evergreen centre Shaun Collins, electrifying fullback Joey Alberts and polished halfback Luke Waters each posted doubles, along with workaholic front rower David Ball.

Brothers welcomed back their dynamic multiple premiership winning second rower Aaron Hall, who has come out of retirement, and ultra-talented 19-year-old winger Layton Chambers, who was returning after suffering a broken ankle in the rugby grand final in February.

Both made huge differences, including with the former chalking up a hattrick and getting through a mountain of work in defence, and the latter scoring a sensation of tries and kicking seven goals from as many attempts, most of them from wide out.

Five-eighth Joel Fagan also crossed twice, and if they can address their defensive deficiencies, they now have the team which could make a move up the table.

Flashy fullback Willie Nagas, who was an integral member of Past Brothers' premiership side last season during a one-year stint with that club before returning home to the Panthers, was at his brilliant best against Hervey Bay, cutting loose with four tries.

Easts, who started the season with two losses and low expectations, proved they are the real deal under their highly respected first-season coach Mick O'Sullivan follwing a monumental upset against the Devils.

Coming off a competitive loss to Waves last start, the club have made some big signings including winger Sam Kuhnel, who was a big part of Avondale's Northern Districts premiership in 2017, delivering a double to win the match against Isis.

Club junior product halfback and son of the late club legend John Booth, Kurtis, 28, has returned to the club after living and playing in Brisbane for nine of the past 10 years and was one of their many standouts in his return from a broken jaw suffered in the season opener.

The stakes will also be high when Isis attempt to rebound against Wests in the first A Grade game on the program at Stafford Park this Saturday, before the Seagulls will try to kickstart their season and salvage some pride against the inspired Magpies in the 'Battle of the Birds'.

Meanwhile, Past Brothers' women, who have dominated their respective competition since its inception, proved the club's only joy of the day, outgunning Waves 34-4 with six individual try scorers.

Despite so many troubling the scorers, multiple Queensland open representative lock Nicole Curtis topped the list, amassing 16 points with six conversions to add to her one four-pointer.

Hervey Bay's women also flew the flag for their club, downing Isis 26-6 with a double to second rower Ebony Webb.


WESTS 48 (Willie Nagas 4, Bevan Page, Marshall Murphy, James Prichard, Nick Tanner tries; Prichard 7, Bevan Page goals) defeated HERVEY BAY 10 (Ben Keelty, Sean Skudder tries; Scott Carter-Lowe goal)

EASTS 16 (Sam Kuhnel 2, Danny Moran tries; Tyrone Ward, Jamie Lowien goals) defeated ISIS 12 (Matthew Craven, Peter Sippel tries; Matthew Craven 2 goals)

WALLAROOS 52 (Josiah Alberts 2, Shaun Collins 2, Luke Waters 2, David Ball 2, Luke Beatty tries; Luke Beatty 8 goals) defeated PAST BROTHERS 42 (Aaron Hall 3, Joel Fagan 2, Chris Rose, Layton Chambers tries; Layton Chambers 7 goals)

WAVES 44 (Billy Stefaniuk 3, Trent Seeds 2, Sekope Tua, Jackson Paulson, Michael Wise, Robert Nona tries; Tyrell Howard 3, Clinton Horne goals) defeated MARYBOROUGH BROTHERS 0

LADDER AFTER ROUND 6: Waves 10, Wallaroos 10, Isis 8, Wests 8, Easts 6, Past Brothers 4, Maryborough Brothers 2, Hervey Bay 0

For all the latest information on the 2018 4BU/93.9HitzFM BRL Competition, head to the Bundaberg Rugby League website.

*Vince Habermann is the QRL correspondent covering the Bundaberg Rugby League