WHILE it was irrelevant to the result, Wests Panthers centre of excellence and co-captain Jensen Deamer said there was real purpose as fellow co-captain and star hooker Joel Baldwin kicked a field goal after the siren.
The kick put the icing on a 35-6 victory over hosts Waves Tigers in their Bundaberg Under-18 penultimate round clash on Sunday.
The high-flying Panthers had secured the minor premiership one week earlier, while the Tigers had been sentenced to the wooden spoon, and coach and Deamer’s stepfather Rick McMaster had called from the bench to take the penalty kick, but instead, they took the tap and Baldwin coolly slotted the one-pointer from close range.
Waves had kicked a field goal after the siren to defeat them 19-18 in their first clash of the season on August 9, which has been their only loss so far in nine rounds, and that was their motivation for the decision.
“It was good to get one on full-time on them after what they did to us early on in the year – and you never know when you might need one, and I don’t think Joel could have hit it any better though,” Deamer said.
Deamer described it as another “good win”.
“As a team, we haven’t peaked yet, I don’t think, and with two games left, if we can put it together in the grand final, that will be perfect timing but we are still improving each week though,” Deamer said.
“Joel is always consistent and controls the middle, but everyone does their job though and I feel like it is a team effort each and every week.”
While they have been dominant all campaign, Deamer said no frills front rower Aaron Cunnington had “really strengthened up the middle” in his fourth game since coming into the side after recovering from ankle and collar bone injuries.
“Aaron makes a lot of tough carriers and it has been great to have him back,” Deamer said.
Deamer was again among the tries and he said he believed he was “getting back to where (he) was” after also recovering from a knee injury.
The Panthers have conceded a total of just two tries from their past three matches, and all up, from eight games played (excluding the forfeit which they received), they have racked up a hefty 269 points, while conceding a mere 71.
“We know our attack will come – we are all good mates and on the field, the chemistry there, but defence is our main focus, and we know if that if we can stop them in defence, the points will come,” Deamer said.
Wests will travel to Stafford Park to take on third-placed Hervey Bay Seagulls Saturday and Deamer said they would show no mercy even though they would be without three of their stars in Brendan Grills, Kynan Hard and Damon Qualischefski.
The Seagulls drew 6-6 with Wallaroos at the weekend in what was a dress rehearsal for the semi-final after neither side was able to score in the first stanza.
Wallaroos coach Shaun Hobson lauded a “wonderful defensive display” by both teams.
“I’m extremely proud of our boys - Darcy Schofield was courageous the whole 60 minutes but I couldn't find a player that didn't put his hand up and have a red-hot go,” Hobson said.
Roos will try and break the shackles when they meet hosts Waves this Sunday, but Hobson expects the Tigers to be fired up to finish a disappointing season on a high note.
In the lower age groups last Saturday, Cooper Fitzgerald and Braidan Houliston each bagged hat-tricks of tries as the Seagulls plucked the Panthers 44-10 in under-13.
Two Brothers players also achieved three-try hauls; powerhouse centre Jack Schmidt, who starred in a 32-14 win over Wests in under-14, and Toby Collins, who was a match winner against the Tigers 22-12 in under-13.
Wallaroos 6 (Keian Grogan try, Tom Colvin goal) drew Hervey Bay 6 (Dylan Crockford try, goal).
Wests Panthers 35 (Marcus Tanner, Lochlan Modrow, Jensen Deamer, Brennan Gynn, Kynan Hard, Connor Black tries; Marcus Tanner 2, Lochlan Modrow goals; Joel Baldwin field goal) defeated Waves Tigers 6 (Joel Cox try & goal).
Wallaroos 14 (Bailey Mills, Lucas Kemble tries; 2 goals) defeated Hervey Bay Seagulls 8.
Bundaberg Grizzlies 22 (Zander Kerr 2, Jesse Young, Bryden Blair tries; Zander Kerr 2 goals) defeated Brothers 18 (Kayne Mitchell, Lane Crossley-Price, Bradley Shorter tries; Tumeli Naco 3 goals).
Brothers 30 (Matthew Smith 2, Ethan Brennan, Jack Picaro, Jordyn Farrell, Izak Cochrane tries; Ezekiel Monckton 3 goals) d Wests 18 (Ryan Bugeja 2, Lochlan Hillan tries; Ryan Bugeja 3 goals).
Hervey Bay Seagulls 40 (Dane Blanke, Kayleb Angeles 2, Jai Ward, Robert Borsboom, Eden Wheeler tries; Eden Wheeler 4 goals) defeated Easts Magpies 0.
Brothers 32 (Jack Schmidt 3, Dawson Hess 2, Joseph Doyle, Malachi Solomon tries; Dawson Hess 3, Blake Powter goals) defeated Wests 14 (Jordan Ray, Matthew Telfer, Hayden Baldry tries; Lucas Brough goal).
Waves Tigers 26 (Coen Phillips 2, Noah Law 2, Ethan Norman tries; Sebastyn Brennan 2, Noah Law goals) defeated Hervey Bay Seagulls 6 (Noah Douglas-Denduck try; Ethan Hore goal).
Easts Magpies 28 (Joshua Garland, Ryan Charteris tries; Ryan Charteris 2 goals) defeated Wallaroos 12 (Memphis Williams tries; Lachlan Nitschinck 2 goals).
Hervey Bay Seagulls 44 (Cooper Fitzgerald 3, Braidan Houliston 3, Tanner Worthington tries; 4 goals) defeated Wests Panthers 10 (Johnathon Coyne 2 tries; Darnell Saunders goal).
Brothers 22 (Toby Collins 3, Levi Monckton tries; Jomar Gustilo 3 goals) defeated Waves Tigers 12 (Brody Allan 2, Preston Walsh tries).
Hero photo: Wests under 18 playmaker and co-captain Joel Baldwin kicked a field goal to put the icing on a big win over Waves Tigers. Photo: Supplied.