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XXXX 47th Battalion: Bears take high hopes to Emerald

Inspirational captain and front rower Reece Maughan will lead a Bundaberg Bears team with just four players with previous XXXX 47th Battalion carnival experience at the showpiece event in Emerald this weekend.

The Bears will field a youthful new look team due to mass player unavailability for personal reasons, injuries, and suspensions.

Maughan, winger Delroy Tanner, five-eighth and reigning BRL A Grade Player of the Year Andreas Nona, and powerhouse second rower Lachlan Patterson, are the only previous Battalion combatants.

But after being runners-up last year, new coach Corey Tanner remains confident that they will be a real force despite having just two training sessions together, with youthful brilliance and club combinations to hold them in good stead, with the side dominated by players from his club Wests Panthers and Waves Tigers.

Bundaberg in action at the 2022 carnival
Bundaberg in action at the 2022 carnival

Nona, Maughan, Patterson and the electrifying interchange player Bruce Ikamanu are the only survivors from the team from 12 months ago, when Maughan was the interchange front rower.

“It was time to start rebuilding an old rep side, and Reece will lead from the front," Tanner said.

"We’ve got small halves in Andreas and Laish Salam but there’s a lot of strike power there and out wide, and we are a really attacking side, and the young fellas are hungry to play footy. We are not big, but we will move the football around and play fast.

“The boys will definitely work for each other and if we can get points early on, we will be hard to stop. It will be a matter of not getting too overawed, but Laish played for Central Queensland Capras under 21s last year, and hooker Sam Tobin is in superb form for Waves.”

Maughan is in vintage form for the Tigers, who are roaring after a hat-trick of wins, following a narrow loss to start the season, and he was unstoppable in their 76-8 mauling of fallen reigning premiers Hervey Bay Seagulls last Saturday.

The loss due to work commitments of his younger brother and fullback Cody, who bagged four tries in that blitz, is a major setback for Bundaberg.

Still, 18-year-old Connor Yeats, who has been consistently outstanding for the Panthers since making his A grade debut late in season 2021, will fill that void at the back, and Tanner has full confidence in him taking his game to an even higher level.

The Bears’ first match will be against Central Highlands tomorrow - imposing South African International front rower Josh Hill will miss that game due to suspension - but he will be ready to cut loose in their second game later in the afternoon against either reigning champions Rockhampton, or Gladstone.

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Bundaberg Bears team: 1. Connor Yeats 2. Delroy Tanner, 3. Chris Robinson, 4 Israel Power, 5. Benaiah Kambanei, 6. Andreas Nona, 7. Laish Salam, 8. Joshua Hill, 9. Sam Tobin, 10. Reece Maughan. 11 Lachlan Patterson, 12. Viliami Molisi, 13. Bailey Robertson, 14. Josiah Alberts, 15. Tyson Miller, 16. Bruce Ikamanu 17. Livimai Liuanga, 18. Isaac Mielczarek, 19.  Brendan Grills, 20. Ethan Ballard. Coach: Corey Tanner.

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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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