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Bundaberg A grade preview: Top contenders meet

Outright top spot and the inside running to the minor premiership will be up for grabs when joint-leaders Waves Tigers and Hervey Bay Seagulls meet in a Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership Round 12 blockbuster.

With five rounds to go, much is also at stake in the other two matches of the day, with fourth-placed two-time defending champions Past Brothers needing to win against Wests at 6.30pm to keep their top three hopes alive.

The Panthers meanwhile are able to put an iron grip on third place if they are successful.

At Eskdale Park Maryborough at 5pm, it is do or die for cellar dwellers Wallaroos against Easts to keep their finals hopes alive.

But the Magpies will be desperate to halt a five-game losing streak and secure their berth in the play-offs.

The Bay and Waves have met only once so far this year in the season opener back on March 26, when the Seagulls came back from the dead to clinch a 22-all draw with a post-siren conversion.

Their scheduled Round 6 showdown was postponed from May 14 to July 23 due to heavy rain.

The Seagulls have lost just once so far, going down to the Panthers on April 23, while the Tigers lost two of their first five games, but since they were defeated by the Brethren on May 7, they have strung together five straight victories.

Hervey Bay were held to a 16-all draw at home by Brothers last Saturday, while Waves are coming off a 16-4 triumph over a fired-up Magpies.

The Seagulls have by far the best attacking record, having racked up 372 points so far, compared to the Tigers’ 270, but Waves boast the best defensive record, having conceded just 186 points - 10 fewer than the Baysiders, who are second in points conceded.

Hervey Bay will be without goal-kicking star halfback David Woodbridge after he was injured early on against Brothers last Saturday, with his place taken by the very capable Ben Hudson, while Waves will be without powerhouse front rower Tom Akers.

But both clubs boast great depth and will each still field very good sides.

Meanwhile, Brothers started the season in style with a good win over Wests, but they have been unable to field the same team from week to week, and this has contributed to their form being very patchy.

They will sorely miss inspirational captain and forward lynchpin Kevin Sherriff, and they have named another new five-eighth with veteran Andrew Filo called up from reserve grade, with goal-kicking ace and perennial game breaker Zak Bainbridge also making a welcome return in the centres.

However, the highly potent Panthers will take a power of beating despite the absence of their captain and veteran front row dynamo Dan Tanner.

Wallaroos were competitive in going down to Wests 36-14 in Bundaberg last Saturday, and while they traditionally are always strong at their Maryborough fortress, they will be hungry to redeem themselves in front of their loyal supporters after a 72-10 thrashing by Hervey Bay at home a fortnight ago.

Easts triumphed 56-18 against them back in Round 1, but while their wheels have fallen off over the last two months and they are still without injured trump Caleb Van Lawick, the Magpies are still loaded with class, and they will not get a better chance to storm back on track.

Acknowledgement of Country

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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