Potent Hervey Bay halfback David Woodbridge steered the Seagulls to a stunning Round 2 victory over two-time defending champions Past Brothers in the Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership.
After kicking the post-siren conversion to clinch a come-from-behind draw with Waves Tigers in Round 1, Woodbridge had a night to remember on Saturday, April 2, scoring two tries and eight goals to claim the 54-32 victory in front of their delirious and bumper home crowd at Stafford Park.
Despite the mammoth effort, he was beaten for player of the match by powerhouse forward Max Shorter, who was playing against his younger brother, 17-year-old Brad, for the first time.
Captain and fellow second rower Travin Baumann also led from the front in a robust team effort.
Even Seagulls coach Jacob Blanke was surprised by the blow-out in the scoreline, but in awe of his team's domineering display in their first meeting with the Brethren since leading them 14-4 at halftime in last year’s preliminary final.
“We have concentrated on our defence more so than our attack, but this week we concentrated on our attack and structure, and it paid off," Blanke said.
"But for parts of the game we forgot how to defend and it would be good to get both rocking together."
Blanke said Shorter “just tackles everything and runs hard all day”.
“David Woodbridge was also brilliant, but both our halves were very good with five-eighth Nick Collins also back to his best,” Blanke said.
“Also, big props Steve (Dwyer) and Tony Gray were just rock solid up front.”
After also beating Brothers 32-20 in the corresponding match last season, Blanke believes they can go all the way to their first Bundaberg Rugby League A Grade title since 2016.
“We are a very young side – we have got a good squad this year and when we put it together, we can do anything," he said.
"We are going to shock a few this season.
“We’ve still got a few out, but with our depth, with their replacements, it is much of a muchness, and once everyone is available, it’s going to be super hard to pick a 17 – we’ve still got Ethan and Dion Bunyan out, and we’ve still got Scott Walthall to come back but he’s another 4-5 weeks away.
"But we’ve got a great young group, and everyone are mates, and that’s why we are playing so well.”
Easts Magpies are the only team with two wins after two rounds after outgunning Waves Tigers 38-24 in a pulsating end-to-end duel, with winger Delroy Tanner notching his second straight double.
He was edged out for the inaugural Railway Hotel player of the round by unheralded hooker Liam Price, who scored a try in a polished all-round performance.
The remaining match between Wests Panthers and Wallaroos was postponed to a later date due to the Wallaroos being unable to field teams due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the club.
The Magpies will clash with the Seagulls in a Battle of the Birds blockbuster at Salter Oval this Saturday.
Easts Magpies 38 (Delroy Tanner 2, Dennis Johnson, Lachlan Price, Bennett Ooms-Ostineru, Matthew Craven, Caleb Van Lawick tries; Andreas Nona 5 goals) d Waves Tigers 24 (Timoci Naco, Jensen Deamer, Brendan Grills, Dan McLennan Sam Tobin tries; Layton Chambers 2 goals).
Hervey Bay Seagullls 54 (Jake Kearnan 2, David Woodbridge 2, Jeremiah Pati, Fredrick Cobbo, Anthony Gray, Steven Dwyer, Travin Baumann, Malachi Lawton tries; David Woodbridge 7 goals) d Past Brothers 32 (Jake Thompson 2, Mitchell Clayton, Royce Blair, Logan Tanzer, Jesse Clowes-Goodwin tries; Zac Dann 4 goals).
Main image: Hervey Bay Seagulls second rower Max Shorter makes a signature run in their Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership showdown with Waves Tigers last week. Shorter was player of the match as the Seagulls flew at home with a 22-point drubbing of Past Brothers on Saturday. Photo: supplied