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Bundaberg A grade preview: Family ties create Panthers history

The Tanner family has been entrenched in the Western Suburbs Panthers club for four generations.

But more club history will be created when veteran captain and front rower Dan Tanner gets to play with his son Tariq in their Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership showdown with cellar dwellers Wallaroos at Salter Oval at 4.30pm tomorrow.

Seventeen-year-old winger Tariq is a Year 12 student at St Joseph’s College Nudgee and is currently signed with the Brisbane Broncos.

Not only will the young talent make his Panthers’ A Grade debut, he will also play for the first time alongside his uncle Josh Tanner and under coach, another uncle Corey Tanner.

Wallaroos forfeited to Wests due to a Covid outbreak in the club back on April 2, while their Round 7 clash was abandoned due to heavy rain, so the pair have not met yet this season.

But the Panthers are in third place with a 4-4 win-loss record, fresh from breaking a two-match losing streak with a 32-24 victory over Easts Magpies.

Roos have won just one of their seven games played, and are coming off a 72-10 home humiliation by competition leaders Hervey Bay Seagulls.

In the game that follows at 6.30pm, the Magpies will be desperate to halt a four-game losing streak, but their task will not be easy against Waves Tigers, who are a clear second - just one point behind Hervey Bay - and keep going from strength to strength with four wins in a row, starting with a 22-4 dispatch of Easts on May 22, before also disposing of Wests 28-16, Roos 34-22, and Past Brothers 36-22.

Despite one of their stars Caleb Van Lawick suffering a broken leg last month, Easts still boast a very strong side, but their confidence is obviously low at the moment.

Although with game-breakers such as captain/coach and BRL A Grade Player of the Year for the past two seasons, Matt Craven, representative halves Andreas Nona and Mitchell Taylor, and highly potent fullback Trent Seeds, they need only to return to form to be capable of beating any team in the competition.

At Stafford Park, Hervey Bay, at 7pm, two-time defending champions Past Brothers will be out to salvage some pride against the high-flying Seagulls, who have racked up a half-century of points against them in both their meetings in 2022 - 54-32 and 54-16.

The Brethren are in fourth place with a 4-5 record with by far the worst defensive record of the top five teams - having conceded 316 - with Seagulls boasting the best offence and defence with 356 and 180 respectively. Waves, Wests and Easts have conceded 182, 188 and 232 points respectively.

Brothers will be bolstered by the returns of multiple premiership-winning centre Tien Nguyen, Papua New Guinean wing flyer Benaiah Kambanei, exciting teenage half Bryden Blair, and experienced hooker Tim Cole, but they may need something special to halt the Seagulls juggernaut.

Main image: Wests Panthers captain Dan Tanner (left) combines with Shane Ezzy to tackle Easts’ Leigh Eade in a recent clash. Dan will have the honour of playing with his son Tariq against Wallaroos tomorrow.

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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