Fraser Coast Mariners will be hot favourites to win their second Elders Insurance Spring Cup in their two years back in the competition when they meet local hopes Turtles Brothers in the grand final at the Waves Sports Complex at 6.30pm tomorrow.
They have overpowered Turtles in their meetings this season, including 64-0 when they last clashed on November 21, but they will be short on match fitness as they have not played since due to forfeits, then as minor premiers, progressing straight to the decider.
Turtles, on the other hand, shocked everyone by thrashing West Barbarians 40-5 in the last round to advance to the semi-final, where they also proved too strong for Barbarians 24-7, and their captain/coach Brendon McKeown is quietly confident, “if we play like we have been in the last two weeks”.
Turtles Brothers: Brendon McKeown, 1 Perry Gorlick, 2 Adam Griffiths, 3 Cory Hibble, 4 Brian Wheeler, 5 Justin Lewis, 6 James Turnbull, 8 Brendan Stewart, 10 Kedron Pointon, 9 Nicholas Hoyer, 11 Blake Jones, 12 Alexander McClymont, 13 Caleb Tairiwhiti, 15 Layton Chamber, 16 Steven Diplock, 24 Ethan Pippia, 18 Josh Saua, 19 Noa Fletcher, 23 Steven Parchert.
The high-flying Waves will be favourites to take out the Division 1 Tallon/Giles Cup when they meet arch-rivals Brothers in the final of the new competition at Salter Oval this Sunday.
The Cup in contested between the top two sides in the Rum City Foods Intra Cup after the first full round of that competition and replaces the former NewsMail Cup which ran for 24 years, and Waves are unbeaten in Intra Cup, including easily beating Brothers in both of their encounters.
Waves must first play Norths in round eight of the Intra Cup at Salter Oval tomorrow, when East Bundy Magpies will also do battle with Hervey Bay at the Bay, while Brothers will be fresh for Sunday as they have the bye tomorrow.
Waves will also contest the Divisions 2 and 3 Tallon/Giles Cup deciders, both against East Bundy Magpies.
Bundaberg Cup winner Flying Jet made a triumphant return to Thabeban Park, scoring a big win in a Christmas Cup Heat at this week’s Bundaberg meeting.
It was also the second leg of a winning double for his Yamanto trainer Peter O’Reilly, who took out the quinella in the Mixed 4th/5th Grade earlier in the afternoon with hot favourite Hello Mavis and Miss Ivy Blue.
Two other trainers also notched doubles on the program, Bundaberg’s Paul Burgess, with Wildash Avatar on track debut in the Maiden Heat, and Fly Mariposa, which was a narrow victor in the first Christmas Cup Heat, and Ken Boody, of Dalma, who picked up the third Christmas Cup qualifier with Dyna Smokey, and Everest, which made it back-to-back wins in the Mixed 4th/5th Grade.
Three other District trainers were also among the winners, Sarah Irwin with debutant Burrum Bobtail in the first Maiden Heat, John White with Burn Out in the Novice Non Penalty, and John Kuhn with Mr Apollo in the Masters 5th Grade.