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Bundaberg Round 10 wrap: Title race narrows

The battle for the Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership minor title is narrowing to a two-horse race, after Hervey Bay Seagulls and Waves Tigers powered on with victories in Round 10.

Hervey Bay defeated Wallaroos 72-10 while Waves notched up a 36-22 victory over Past Brothers on the weekend.

After trouncing Roos 56-8 in their clash earlier this season on May 7, the Seagulls ran amok against their hosts at Eskdale Park on Saturday, showing no mercy to chalk up 13 tries, including five to electrifying winger Jeremiah Pati, and two each to young gun fullback Malachi Lawton and dynamic hooker William Walthall.

Hervey Bay moved to 14 points on the ladder, staying one in front of the Tigers, with the two sides set for a pulsating showdown at Salter Oval on Saturday, June 25, which will have a big bearing on the minor premiership even with four rounds to run after that.

The duo will also meet again in the rescheduled last game of the home and away fixtures on July 23.

The two sides drew 22-all in the season opener back on March 26 in their only clash so far in 2022, with their originally programmed May 14 rematch postponed due to heavy rain.

Waves had been beaten by Brothers 28-16 on May 7, but with a number of big guns missing this time, the Tigers roared at Salter Oval on Sunday with their former Brothers junior star, uncompromising front rower Tom Akers, taking out the Railway Hotel Player of the Round for the second time in three matches.

Their coach Antonio Kaufusi said Akers was outstanding and led "from the front with his tough carries”.

“Tommy was also relentless in defence and made sure the opposition looked for him," Kaufusi said.

"Also, (halfback) Brendan Grills was enormous, taking control of the game, and (second rower) Lachy Patterson and (centre) Jensen Deamer have been consistently tough and the best I’ve seen them play in a Tigers jersey."

On the other hand, the Panthers had shocked the Magpies 14-12 in their previous meeting, and they repeated the dose, snapping a two-match losing streak with powerhouse lock Shaun Ezzy leading the charge with a double.

The Magpies slumped to their fourth straight loss despite the debut of high-profile new signing, 33-year-old Chris Sandow, who played 159 NRL games for South Sydney Rabbitohs and Parramatta Eels.

With their victory, Wests moved back into third place on nine points, with Brothers on eight, and Easts on seven, with Wallaroos stuck on three points and staring down a second straight wooden spoon.

Wests coach Corey Tanner praised the character of his players.

“Matt Collier, who played a full game the game before, and under 18s player Connor Yeats at fullback were great," Tanner said.

"The three other reserve grade players - Phill Lindsay, Rick Nagas, Dallas Bamberry - also really helped us out with their impact off the bench. We lost halfback Tyson Douglas (hamstring) and second rower Steve Bernstrom (concussion) early and we had six players unavailable, so it was a massive effort from the reserve graders to play two games."

HERVEY BAY SEAGULLS 72 (Jeremiah Pati 5, Malachi Lawton 2, William Walthall 2, Anthony Gray, Steven Dwyer, Dylan Bennett tries; Ben Hudson 10 goals) def WALLAROOS 10 (Jackson Gouge, Bailey Eckert tries; Jackson Gouge goal).

WESTS PANTHERS 32 (Shaun Ezzy 2, Connor Yeats, Joshua Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, Robert Telfer tries; Zander Kerr 4 goals) def EASTS MAGPIES 24 (Andrea Nona 2, Delroy Tanner 2 tries; Andreas Nona 3, Matthew Craven goals).


Main image: Wests Panthers lock Shaun Ezzy scored two tries in their 32-24 triumph over Easts Magpies in the Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership on Sunday.

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