The Bundaberg Bears team selected to contest the 47th Battalion in Gladstone next week highlights just how even the Broadcasters A Grade Premiership is ahead of Round 4.
Three teams have five players each included in the 24-man squad - Easts Magpies, Past Brothers and Wests Panthers - with Hervey Bay Seagulls and Waves Tigers to be represented by four players each.
The Wallaroos, who have again struggled so far this season, have just one player named, mercurial veteran and former dual BRL A Grade Player of the Year, Shaun Collins.
In Round 4, which is kicking off tomorrow, April 23, leaders Seagulls will host the first of three straight home games, taking on the winless Wests at 5pm.
The Panthers are to be greatly bolstered by the season debuts of long-serving club champions and brothers, Josh Tanner and Dan Tanner, and hungry to open their accounts.
Josh, who was chosen in the 47th Battalion team last year, and Dan have both gained spots in the Bears' side for 2022 despite having not played a game for the Panthers this season.
At Salter Oval, Waves Tigers - who are fresh from a breakthrough victory over Wests - will take on Wallaroos at 4.30pm, with Roos coming off a 48-16 loss against two-time defending champions Brothers.
Unfortunately, there looks to be no respite in sight for last year’s wooden spooners, being only able to name a 15-man squad so far, and Waves naming a full-strength team.
At 6.30pm, Brothers will meet bitter arch-rivals Easts for the first time since their shock victory over them in an epic 2021 grand final, with the Magpies certain to be still smarting after blowing a 26-12 Round 3 lead over the Seagulls to lose 42-38.
They boast three quarters of the Bundaberg spine in fullback Trent Seeds, and electrifying halves Mitchell Taylor and Andreas Nona, as well as highest class second rower, captain / coach, and BRL A Grade Player of the Year of the past two seasons, Matt Craven, and lock Caleb Van Lawick.
Their hooker, former Maroochydore Swans rake Lachlan Price would also be in his element in the representative team.
Easts will be further strengthened by the debut of former Gin Gin Hawks hardman and 2021 Northern Districts joint player of the year, Brody Orpin.
Bundaberg team to contest 47th Battalion: Thomas Akers, Royce Blair, Layton Chambers, Shaun Collins, Matt Craven, Zac Dann, Shaun Ezzy, Bruce Ikamanu, Connor Jones, Andreas Nona, Cody Maughan, Delai Moto, Jeremiah Pati, Ilaiasi Pongi, Trent Seeds, Kevin Sherriff, Max Shorter, Dan Tanner, Josh Tanner, Mitchell Taylor, Jake Thompson, Caleb Van Lawick, Logona Vetemotu, William Walthall. Coach: Mathew Templeman
Main image: Past Brothers powerhouse Jake Thompson makes a signature run in his three-try five-star performances against Wallaroos in the last round. Photo: Vince Habermann