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Club champion Waves Tigers captain Reece Maughan (pictured) says his side must maintain the rage after coming through the toughest start to the Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership going strong.

Now after defeating Wests in the season opener and coming from behind to edge out the reigning champions Brothers 18-12 in heavy rain on a mud-bath last week, Maughan said they must continue their momentum against the Magpies at Salter Oval at 6pm Saturday to capitalise and put themselves in the best possible position to target their second minor premiership in three years.

The earlier game on the program at 4.15pm should also be a cracker as the Brethren look to bounce back against Wallaroos, who are also unbeaten with wins over Easts and the Seagulls at the Bay last week when they got home 26-12 against their fired up and much improved hosts.

Hervey Bay have a second straight home game at Stafford Park at 5pm against Wests - last year’s beaten grand finalists - who outgunned Easts 34-16 last Saturday with a double to teenage winger Kade Forrester, their under 18 player of the year last season.

Long-serving Wests coach Corey Tanner is proud of how they keep responding as a team and a club despite the ongoing exodus of so many of their young guns to the Tigers over the past three seasons.

Rookie winger Kade Forrester bagged a double in Wests Panthers’ victory over Easts Magpies last week
Rookie winger Kade Forrester bagged a double in Wests Panthers’ victory over Easts Magpies last week

He hailed Forrester, who joined the club in under 15s and continues the Panthers endless junior production line, as someone who will only get better and better as the season goes on.

All but one of their tries last week were scored by club junior products, their inspirational co-captain and five-eighth Tyson Douglas, fullback Connor Yeats, and electrifying centre Chris Robinson, who also kicked five goals.

The other was scored by high-class rugby convert second rower Bruce Ikamanu in his third season with the code and club.

They also uncovered an exciting new rugby convert, winger Aca Tikomairewa.

But their best was Tanner’s son, halfback Marcus, who is back in Pantherland after starting last season with Wests Tigers in the Jersey Flegg and finishing it with Central Queensland Capras in the Hostplus Cup.

The Panthers get the perfect chance to make it back-to-back wins tomorrow, but Tanner said they cannot take the Seagulls lightly, especially as they will be without rock-solid second rower Steve Bernstrom, and Robinson.

“Hervey Bay are always solid at home, so recent form won’t be something we will worry about. We will play our brand of footy and hopefully come away with the two points,” Tanner said.

Powerhouse lock Maughan, now 31, used all of his experience to get the Tigers home against Brothers, scoring a signature try from short range through the middle of the ruck to break a 6-all deadlock in the 67th minute.

But polished former Brothers centre Layton Chambers also played a leading hand, scoring their first try on the stroke of half-time, converting it from close to touch, and adding a penalty and another conversion in the second stanza, while ultra-talented 18-year-old second rower Noah Law, whom they recruited from Wests, also grabbed a four-pointer.

Maughan said while they are missing the class of his younger brother Cody, a  former North Queensland Cowboys Under 20s star, who is not playing this season due to work commitments, they have had two players who have filled his big shoes at fullback with aplomb - Martin Powell and Ryan Bugeja.

Powell missed the Brothers game due to injury, while Bugeja is another 18-year-old special talent who joined them from the Panthers, and shone on his A Grade debut for his new club.

“We have recruited very well – there a lot of people who want to be at our club, and we have easily six or seven lads playing reserve grade who could be playing A grade,” Maughan said.

Maughan expects the Magpies to be hungry and a real force in the showdown.

“We’ve had the toughest start to the season and even though we are unbeaten, we need to be better in a lot of areas, but we want three from three, and we will have to be on our game from the start,” he said.

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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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