The Maughan brothers starred as Waves Tigers tightened their iron grip on the Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership minor title over the weekend.
Former North Queensland Cowboys NYC star Cody Maughan bagged a double but was edged out for the Railway Hotel Player of the Match Award by his elder brother Reece, as the Tigers claimed a 30-22 victory over Wests Panthers in their Round 13 showdown at Salter Oval on Saturday night.
They moved to 19 points on the ladder, now four clear of Hervey Bay Seagulls, who slumped to their second straight loss, going down to Easts 20-18 in the Bundaberg Toyota Challenge match earlier in the afternoon, with the Magpies clawing their first win in seven matches.
At Eskdale Park Maryborough, two-times defending champion Past Brothers moved into third place on 13 points, turning the tables on Wallaroos 44-14 after the cellar dwellers had scored their only win of the season so far with a shock 36-30 result when the two sides previously met.
Wests slipped to fourth place on 11 points - now just one point in advance of Easts - with Roos anchored to the bottom on four points and now consigned to their second straight wooden spoon.
Waves were again without their coach Antonio Kaufusi, who had travelled to Brisbane to try replace his expired passport, in the hope of being able to travel to Los Angeles to be with his seriously ill father, Dan.
Tukerekere Hikaka has taken the reins in his absence, and he was delighted as they continued to go from strength-to-strength, notching their seventh consecutive win.
They will play Wallaroos, Brothers and Hervey Bay in their remaining three matches, and while top spot is not yet mathematically secure, they are riding high on a tidal wave at the moment, while the Seagulls have stalled with a draw and two losses from their past three starts.
Hervey Bay are at home to Wests this Saturday, then away to Roos, and they would need to win their last three games while relying on Waves to lose at least two of theirs to be a chance of reclaiming No. 1 position.
On Saturday, Easts were without their captain/coach and BRL A Grade Player of the Year for the past two seasons, Matt Craven, but in his absence, the Magpies breathed life back into their season with centre Delroy Tanner notching a double.
Crafty halfback Andreas Nona however was the match winner with three conversions and a penalty goal.
Craven said veteran front rower Corey Chapman was also “massive in the middle" while five-eighth Mitch Taylor "had a great game too”.
Meanwhile, winger Mitchell Clayton, who notched stunning doubles in both their preliminary and grand final triumphs last year, achieved the same feat for the Brethren on Saturday, while interchange ace Tom Kronk also crossed twice.
But maybe the biggest star of the show was new signing, Gympie born 29-year-old five-eighth Pat Templeman, who formerly starred for Canterbury Bulldogs in the NYC and who also took out the 2015 Courier-Mail Medal for the Best and Fairest Cup player in a distinguished career for Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
Templeman, who was recruited by his cousin and Brothers President Mat Templeman in a major coup for the club, oozed class and chalked up 16 points with one try and six conversions in a superb all-round performance.
EASTS MAGPIES 20 (Delroy Tanner 2, Corey Chapman tries; Andrea Nona 4 goals) d HERVEY BAY SEAGULLS 18 (Nicholas Collins, David Woodbridge tries; David Woodbridge 3 goals).
PAST BROTHERS 44 (Mitchell Clayton 2, Tom Kronk 2, Zac Dann, Patrick Templeman, Jake Thompson, Kevin Sherriff tries; Patrick Templeman 6 goals) d WALLAROOS 14.
WAVES TIGERS 30 (Cody Maughan 2, Layton Chambers, Brad Clarke, Lachlan Patterson tries; Layton Chambers 5 goals) d WESTS PANTHERS 22 (Zander Kerr, Tariq Tanner, Connor Yeats, Ryan Sharpe tries; Chris Robinson 3 goals).
Main image: Waves Tigers co-captain and Railway Hotel Player of the Round Reece Maughan makes another tackle against Wests Panthers.