Childers' favourite sons, brothers Kurt and Jake Thompson, ran amok with four and two tries respectively as Isis Devils put a half-strength Waves Tigers to the sword 54-4 in their Round 13 showdown at Salter Oval last Saturday night.
Isis had upset Waves 30-18 in their first meeting for the year on April 21, but the Tigers had reversed the result, winning 26-6 when they last crossed swords in the Toyota Cup final on June 23.
This time, Waves coach Antonio Kaufusi said they were without eight members of their star-studded team and the Devils showed no mercy, piling on an unanswered 28 points in the first half and never relented.
In the match that followed, Easts Magpies struck a vital blow in their quest for fifth position, pipping Wests Panthers 23-22 with a last-minute Jarrod Johnson field goal.
While at Eskdale Park, Wallaroos established a three-point buffer at the top of the pack with a 42-12 victory over Hervey Bay Seagulls and reigning premiers, Past Brothers kept their teetering finals hopes alive, but were far from impressive in accounting for their hosts Maryborough Brothers 26-22.
Kurt Thompson, who was signed by Melbourne Storm as a teenager and spent three years in their system, made a return to his childhood club mid-season after playing the last few seasons in Mackay, and he showed that he is back to his imposing best, while little brother Jake was just as good.
Waves were first to score in the second stanza through electrifying winger and try machine Billy Stefaniuk after four minutes, but it was just an aberration as Kurt Thompson got the scoreboard ticking for Isis four minutes on and they scored the last 26 points of the game.
Apart from the Thompson duo, Central Crows representative fullback Matt Craven, a former premiership winner with Past Brothers, also had a field day, continuing his outstanding debut season for the Childers club, amassing 26 points from two tries and nine goals.
By the win, Isis shored up third place and clinched their first finals berth for three years, stamping themselves as genuine contenders for their maiden Bundaberg premiership, and are now just four points behind Wallaroos and one behind Waves with three rounds to go.
They have a tough run home, taking on Wests at Salter Oval this Saturday night, followed by Easts, then the Panthers again at home at Childers Showgrounds.
Kaufusi remains upbeat despite the heavy defeat, declaring he will play himself for the rest of the season and that they will have all their injured players back for this week's clash with Wallaroos. This is a must-win game for them if they are to remain in the hunt for the minor premiership.
He said if they win their last three games, also against Isis on July 28 and Wallaroos, again, in the last round at Salter Oval on August 4, they will finish on top of the table, and he is confident they would be able to do that.
Hervey Bay threw down the gauntlet to the Roos last Saturday, leading 12-6 after 15 minutes, but in the end, the pride of Maryborough simply had too many guns, with halfback Luke Waters and fullback Joey Alberts cutting loose with three tries each.
The Easts v West duel was an epic encounter all the way through with the Magpies taking a 12-10 lead to oranges and stretching it to a 12-point lead in the 56th minute, but the Panthers levelled the ledger with five minutes left on the clock. However, Jarrod Johnson clinched victory with a well taken field goal with 50 seconds remaining.
By their win, Easts remained one win in front of Past Brothers, and should maintain their advantage by beating the Seagulls this Saturday, before facing a tough task against the high-flying Devils in the penultimate round, then rounding off the fixture season in what is shaping as a finals qualifier against Past Brothers.
Past Brothers will need to improve after struggling to beat their Maryborough cousins, with only all the class and experience of veteran second rower Aaron Hall getting them home with a hat-trick of tries.
The premiers must beat Maryborough Brothers again this Saturday ahead of the Intrust Super Cup Country Week clash in Maryborough, before facing the might of last year's beaten grand finalists Wallaroos, prior to their shoot-out for a finals ticket with Easts.
In Reserve Grade, Isis powered on at the top of the table with five-eighth Jack Rowan amassing 22 points with three tries and five goals in a 34-26 despatch of Waves.
Demoted Wallaroos five-eighth Luke Beatty recorded exactly the same number of tries and goals as the third seeds disposed of the Bay-siders 46-10, and hooker Nick Lorenz picked up another double for the Magpies in a 46-6 thumping of the Panthers.
The Seagulls retained their three-point lead in Under 18s by defeating Waves 40-18, while second-placed Wests blitzed Past Brothers 46-6 with hooker Corey Gough the star with a hattrick of tries.
ROUND 13 A GRADE RESULTS
ISIS 58 (Kurt Thompson 4, Matt Craven 2, Jake Thompson 2, Damian Otto, Tim Cole tries; Craven 9 goals) defeated WAVES 4 (Billy Stefaniuk try)
EASTS 23 (Justyn Porter, Ross Larsen, Matt Ross, Danny Moran tries; Tyrone Ward 3 goals; Jarrod Johnson field goal) defeated WESTS 22 (James Prichard, Rick Nagas, Ray Zysk, Willie Nagas tries; James Prichard 3 goals)
WALLAROOS 42 (Luke Waters 3, Josiah Alberts 3, Daniel Craig, Brandon Law, Rigan Nielsen tries; Daniel Beatty 3 goals) defeated HERVEY BAY 12 (Travin Baumann, Slayde Jackson, Lachlan Jackson tries)
PAST BROTHERS 26 (Aaron Hall 3, Boe Zimmerlie, Brendan Stewart tries; Ben Kuskey 3 goals) defeated MARYBOROUGH BROTHERS 22 (Dalton Harry, Ryan Gauld, Hayden Edmunds, Jack Brown tries; Dalton Harry 3 goals)
LADDER AFTER ROUND 13: Wallaroos 22, Waves 19, Isis 18, Wests 15, Easts 14, Past Brothers 12, Maryborough Brothers 2, Hervey Bay 2
*Vince Habermann is the QRL Correspondent covering the Bundaberg Rugby League.