For the first time all season, Miriam Vale Magpies were able to field a full bench and it showed as they competed strongly throughout their Northern Districts penultimate round clash with Gin Gin at Tegege on Sunday.
But alas, they were unable to record their first win of 2021 despite both teams notching five tries, with the Hawks prevailing 30-28 through kicking 5 conversions to 4.
In the Match of the Day, hosts and two-times defending premiers Avondale Tigers also played their hearts out, but it was not enough as the high flying unbeaten South Kolan Sharks powered on with a 30-18 victory.
After being battered and bruised all season, it looked like being another tough day at the office for Miriam Vale when Gin Gin put their stamp on the match with the first two tries, but with 17 men, the Magpies refused to surrender and fought tooth and nail to the end, with former Bundaberg representative centre Robert Hughes and second rower Clayton Goldsworthy both notching doubles.
Flashy powerhouse centre Tali Sitani also forced his way over twice for the Hawks, but the boot of hooker Cameron Ross was the difference, kicking 5 goals to also virtually wrap up the season Top Points scorer award, taking his season tally to 90.
Gin Gin will host the last round of the competition this Sunday and will finish second regardless of the result of their clash with Avondale, while Miriam Vale will meet the might of the Sharks, before taking on the Tigers in the minor semi-final a fortnight later.
Meanwhile, it was business as usual for South Kolan with fullback Jackson Brown adding two four-pointers to his collection, taking his season tally to 15 and extending his lead in the Top Try Scorer list to 3 over team-mate Jake Evans, who added one.
It was an all-Avondale affair in the Women’s League Tag with the Tigers outgunning the young Hornets 38-18 with Georgia Haupt notching a hat-trick of tries and Natalie Curtis picking up a double, while young speed machine Maddysen Lauman also broke away for two tries for the Hornets.
In the Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership, Easts Magpies and Wests Panthers continued to look on a collision course for the grand final with contrasting Round 12 victories at a Salter Oval quagmire on Saturday.
Playing for survival, last-placed Wallaroos served it up to second placed Wests but after scores were locked together midway through the second half, the Panthers won the battle and grabbed four more tries to run out 32-16 victors.
Fifth placed Waves also threw down the gauntlet to top of the table Easts in by far their best performance of the season so far, but the Magpies weathered the storm and prevailed 12-6 in a real arm wrestle to extend their winning streak to seven.
Hervey Bay Seagulls were also scheduled to host reigning premiers Past Brothers but after advising on Friday that their grounds were unplayable following heavy rain, but declining the Bundaberg Rugby League’s request for the game to be transferred to Salter Oval, the BRL ruled it as a forfeit, meaning that the Brethren moved past them on the ladder into third place.
Easts’ captain and reigning BRL A Grade Player of the Year Matt Craven, who has played in multiple positions but this week started in the second row, notched his 15th four-pointer of the season to increase his lead in the Leading Try Scorer stakes.
He is now 5 over Waves’ Layton Chambers and team-mate and former BRL multiple Leading Try Scorer winner Trent Seeds, who continued his high strike rate since returning to the centres after starting the season in the forwards, picking up their other try on the day.
The Magpies retain a three-point lead over the Panthers with three rounds to go, while the Tigers remain in fifth position, just two points in front of Wallaroos with a significantly better points differential to them of -41 to -120.
On Saturday, unheralded winger Robert Telfer laid the platform for Wests, scoring their first two tries, but in the end, it was the class and experience of their Centra Capras In Trust Super Cup dual registered five-eighth Caleb Tull who broke the deadlock, before 47th Battalion Merit Team member and long serving club champion Josh Tanner also crossed, then interchange dynamos Joseph Doyle and Patrick Tanna put the icing on the cake.
WASH OUTS: Football Wide Bay North and Bundaberg Hockey senior fixtures scheduled for the weekend were also cancelled due to the heavy rain and water-logged fields.
No AFL Wide Bay and Bundaberg Netball fixtures were scheduled.
Here are all the scores:
RUGBY LEAGUE BUNDABERG
BUNDABERG BROADCASTERS A GRADE PREMIERSHIP
WESTS PANTHERS 32 (Robert Telfer 2, Jensen Deamer, Caleb Tull, Josh Tanner, Joseph Doyle, Patrick Tanna tries; Chris Robinson, Caleb Tull goals) d WALLAROOS 16 (Jackson Gouge, Ethan Ballard, Ben Waters tries; Rigan Nielsen 2 goals).
EASTS MAGPIES 12 (Trent Seeds, Matthew Craven tries; Clinton Horne 2 goals) d WAVES TIGERS 6 (Nicholas Samra try; Layton Chambers goal).
PAST BROTHERS d HERVEY BAY SEAGULLS ON FORFEIT
WESTS PANTHERS 14 (Dennis Johnson, Larry Amiku, Kynan Hard tries; Kynan Hard goal) d WALLAROOS 6 (Brad Gela try; Kynan Watson goal).
EASTS MAGPIES 34 (Kalisito Gadenkiniusiladi 2, Dylan Zelinski, Chris Larsen, Blake Aplitt, Jackson Paulson, Isaiah Gala tries; Jackson Paulson 2, Dylan Taylor goals) d WAVES TIGERS 12 (Hayden Currie, Caleb Tairawhiti, James Tairawhiti tries).
PAST BROTHERS d HERVEY BAY SEAGULLS ON FORFEIT
GIN GIN 30 (Mathew Collier, Tali Sitani 2, Shane Blair, Viliami Molisi tries; Cameron Ross 5 goals) d MIRIAM VALE 28 (Robert Hughes 2, Cole Crawford, Clayton Goldsworthy 2 tries; Brandon Hornby 4 goals).
SOUTH KOLAN 30 (Jake Evans, Jackson Brown 2, Corey Gough, Jamie Morey, Monty Chapman Dynevor tries; Andy Filo 3 goals) d AVONDALE 18 (Billy Dau, Brendan Prossliner, Samson Dau tries; Brendan Prossliner 3 goals).
WOMEN’S LEAGUE TAG
AVONDALE TIGERS 38 (Britani Jones, Leanne Korn, Georgia Haupt 3, Natalie Curtis 2, Myah Macaulay tries; Sara Atkinson 3 goals) d AVONDALE HORNETS 18 (Maddysen Lauman 2, Bethany Gapes tries; Bethany Gapes 3 goals).
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