The stakes will be high and the rivalry fierce when third place in the Rugby League Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership will be on the line as Hervey Bay Seagulls host reigning champions Past Brothers in Round 12 action at Stafford Park tomorrow at 5pm.
The Seagulls are currently in third place on 11 points, just one in front of the Brethren, and with just three rounds remaining after tomorrow, victory would go a long way to securing a top-three finish and accompanying double-chance in the finals.
At Salter Oval, the struggling Wallaroos, who are languishing in sixth and last place, will need a dramatic turn-around if they are to topple second placed Wests Panthers at 3pm and resurrect their season.
At 5pm, the Easts Magpies juggernaut is expected to roll on against an improving Waves Tigers.
The Seagulls upset Brothers 32-20 in round 2 back on April 10, but the Brethren scraped home 22-18 in a game in which both teams scored four tries when they last met on May 23.
With a big home crowd behind them, the Bay will take a power of beating after going down to the Tigers 22-12 in the wet in Bundaberg last Saturday when Brothers went down fighting to Panthers 20-12.
After travelling with a bare 15 players last week, as always, the Seagulls have named a full-strength side at home.
While Brothers are again missing a few key men, they will be greatly bolstered by the return of captain and powerhouse forward Kevin Sherriff, who has not played since fracturing a cheek bone playing for Bundaberg in the 47th Battalion Carnival two months ago.
Wallaroos were mauled by the Wests 60-30 in their first encounter in 2021, but while they gained revenge with a 32-8 home triumph over a depleted Panthers last time, they have subsequently slumped to four straight losses, including the last three on their home ground.
Wests lost two in a row before returning to the winners list last week, and they were not overly convincing despite accounting for Brothers, but they must win to stay in the race for the minor premiership.
The Magpies can however move one step closer to clinching No. 1 position, and they will be favoured to notch their seventh straight victory after accounting for Waves 24-12 and 28-10 in their two earlier clashes in this campaign.
The Tigers have won two of their past three starts, including a strong 22-12 win over a hungry Seagulls last Saturday.
Coach Antonio Kaufusi has them primed to not only claim a finals berth, but they have their sights set on third place, and while they are currently three points away from that position, they would have to get the two points to be any chance of achieving that.
Magpies coach Brent Kuskey, who has been at his vintage best since coming out of playing retirement in May, has rested himself for the game, with regular winger Arden Lankowski slotted into his place at hooker, but they have still named an imposing side.
In the Northern Districts League, two-times defending premiers Avondale Tigers will be up against the might of the all-conquering minor premiers South Kolan Sharks in a penultimate round showdown at Tegege this Sunday at 2.45pm.
Earlier at 1pm, Gin Gin Hawks will be keen to bounce back from another mauling by the Sharks when they take on the win-less Miriam Vale Magpies, who never stop trying but again look to have a massive task in front of them.
In the Women’s League Tag, the two Avondale teams will go head-to-head for the second week in a row at 12 noon with the Tigers looking to again claw the Hornets after last week’s 50-8 romp.
The sky could be the limit for high flying Wide Bay Premier league Men’s joint-leaders Across The Waves when they host last placed SC Corinthians tomorrow at 6pm.
The other joint-leaders Fraser Flames’ clash with KSS Jets has been rescheduled to 11th August.
Meanwhile, the jockeying will continue between three Bundaberg teams in the mix for third and fourth positions, United Park Eagles (UPE), Bingera, and Brothers-Aston Villa (BAV), who are currently on 22, 21 and 20 points respectively, as they take on Granville at Martens Oval, Doon Villa in Maryborough, and Diggers at Martens Oval, respectively.
There are no matches in the Women’s Premier League this weekend.
After making a clean sweep against All Blacks last Saturday, winning in all six divisions, Arrows/Athletics are certain to find it tougher when they meet Waves Cities in Men’s and Women’s Division 1 at Hinkler Park tomorrow.
Their Division 1 Men will take centre stage at 4.30pm, followed by their women at 5.50pm.
All Blacks will be keen to bounce back when they suit up against Rovers/Raiders, with their Division 1 Men’s shoot-out at 3.10pm, and their Women the last game on the program at 7.10pm.
There are no junior fixtures tomorrow.
AFL & NETBALL
There are no Wide Bay Marquis Macadamias Premiership fixtures this weekend, with fixtures to resume next Saturday.
Bundaberg Netball Warren Family Homes Premiership is also on hold due to the school holidays.
Bouldercombe trainer Darren Taylor continued his recent run of local success, claiming victory with Barcia Bullet in the rich Bundaberg Grand Prix Final at this week’s meeting at Thabeban Park.
Having his 50th race start and paying $5.50, the black dog posted his 16th victory and completed a hat-trick of wins at successive Rum City meetings, beating equal-favourite I’m The Bill into second placing after doing the same in the Heats, and picking up the lucrative $5,250 prize, with Darren’s other runner Off Break coming in third.
Two trainers picked up doubles at the meeting, Louise Cameron, of Goodwood, with Midnight Cambla (Maiden) and Ragin’ Comet (Masters 5th Grade), and Takura’s David Plummer with litter brothers Little Ripper (Novice Non-Penalty) and Fogelberg (5th Grade).
Four District trainers were also among the winners on the day, Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club president Ricky Hassall with Be So Good (5th Grade), Allen Kelly with the consistent Savuro (Best 8), John Kuhn with On The Buses (5th Grade), and Nathan
Sarnadsky with Casual Beach, which snapped a 17-race losing streak, also in a 5th Grade.