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Bundaberg Rugby League preview: No second chances in finals week two

Wests Panthers will take a head of steam into a Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership major semi-final date with minor premiers Past Brothers this weekend.

Long-serving club champion second rower Josh Tanner bagged a double while his brother and team captain Dan also scored in a come-from-behind 24-14 victory over Waves Tigers last week to secure a place in the crunch match.


Brothers coach Andrew Hamilton named the Tanner brothers as “keys to their side”, but he is confident again after beating the Panthers for the first time in at the third attempt in the last round 24-10 on July 22 - the match ending with 18 minutes remaining thanks to a Panthers walk-off.

He is not concerned about having not played for three weeks and said that their only absentee would be high quality utility Quentin Ellis with work commitments.

“A three-week break is not ideal, but we have trained every Saturday as well, we’ve trained well, and I’m pretty happy, and I hope it’s not a disadvantage,” Hamilton said.

“It is always a hard battle against Wests, but we know how they play and we’re ready to play a good game – we know how they play – down the middle and create space for their speed men out wide.

"We have to shut Josh and Dan down, defend what they do and try and minimise their impact on the game. We also have to try and minimise (fullback) Chris Robinson’s impact.

“We are lucky that that we have got good players across the park. Matt Craven, Mitchell Taylor, and Hodgey (Tyla Hodge) are keys for us, along with Max Shorter and Tyrell Priestley, but we do not rely on one or two players."

The Tanner boys’ eldest brother and long running Wests coach Corey, who will return from a one-match suspension imposed as a result of their walk-off against Brothers, is also confident.

“The team should line up the same as last week with the exception of Shaun Ezzy, who will be out due to work commitments,” Corey said.

“I am challenging my outside backs this week. I would like to see them really take control of the game and add some score board pressure.

"Chris Robinson has a had a massive year for us and is very dangerous when he is thinking run first. And Laish Salam is the key in unlocking our strike out wide - if he plays well, we will have no excuses.

“We noticed Brothers were all over the ruck, slowing it down last time we met so we have worked on that and will be looking to play fast and try to earn some penalties. If we get a fair share of the ball, we will go well.”

The Waves-East duel should also be a pulsating clash as the pair battle for survival after the Magpies overpowered Roos in the eliminator, with captain and winger Delroy Tanner and second rower Scott Walthall both grabbing doubles.

Scott’s twin William was also among the tries after taking out the BRL A Grade player of the year at their presentation dinner the previous night.

Kaufusi said they will be greatly bolstered by the return of star fullback Cody Maughan after he missed last week due to work commitments, and his class and experience would be vital.

“We basically had a recovery session on Tuesday but Thursday night training was good and everyone is hungry and focused.

It does not matter now what has happened during the season. Easts are a good team too but there are no second chances for us now, and if we play to our ability, we should be right,” Kaufusi said.

It was also a good day all around for the Panthers on Saturday, with their reserve grade outfit knocking out Wallaroos 54-12 in the elimination match, and their under 18s edging out the Tigers 28-26 in the eliminator.

The Tigers downed the Magpies 32-26 in the reserve grade qualifier, while under 18 player of the year Adam Khan was a match winner with two tries and two goals as the Seagulls plucked South Burnett.

Brothers will also contest the reserve grade and under 18 major semi-finals as minor premiers in each.

Main image: Tough East Magpies front rower Corey Chapman charges into the fray against Wallaroos in the elimination final last week

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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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