In an exciting weekend of sport, electrifying back Jayden Alberts will play his first match since May 30.
It is a welcome boost for Past Brothers as their Rugby League Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership title defence goes on the line when they take on form side Hervey Bay Seagulls in the Preliminary Final at Salter Oval at 3.30pm tomorrow.
The Brethren will still be without regular quiet achieving halfback Taylar Barritt and potent centre Klinton Beer, who were both injured in their Qualifying Final victory over Wests Panthers two weeks ago, while club President and stalwart Mat Templeman, who filled Beer’s shoes in their 38-16 Major Semi-final buffeting by Easts Magpies, is also unavailable after sustaining an injury in that match.
Despite not having played for so long, Jayden Alberts will add much to their attack, although he is unlikely to be able to play 80 minutes of tough finals football.
Brothers have played the Seagulls just twice this season, being shocked by them 32-20 back in round 2 on April 24, and only scraping home 22-18 when they last met on May 23, when both sides scored four tries.
Brothers’ form has been patchy all season, including ambushing Easts 38-22 in the penultimate round, before succumbing to Waves Tigers 26-8, and disposing of Wests 30-16, before their loss to the Magpies last Saturday.
On the other hand, after a blazing start to the season, the Seagulls went through a lean couple of months, but they scraped into the finals in fourth position with a 22-10 last-round dispatch of Wallaroos, before coming back from the dead to knock out Waves 34-26 in extra-time in the Elimination Final, then really standing up to be counted by surprisingly outgunning the Panthers 34-22 in the Minor Semi-final.
Both teams have powerful packs and plenty of attacking weapons in their back-line, and another titanic duel is expected for the right to meet Easts in the Grand Final next Sunday.
Hervey Bay have not reached the grand final since their historic victory over Waves in 2016, while Brothers have contested two of the subsequent three deciders, in 2017 and 2019, winning it both years.
The Seagulls will also contest the Reserve Grade and Under-18 Preliminary Finals, both against the Panthers at 1.30pm and 12 noon respectively.
Bundaberg Junior Semi-finals will follow on Sunday.
Irishman Gary O’Donnell hammered in four goals to give Bingera a 4-0 victory over SC Corinthians in their Wide Bay Premier League Men’s split-Round 16 clash on Wednesday night and also move to the top of the Golden Boot standings, taking his tally to 41, two more than Across The Waves ace Nykodah Smith.
The top four finishing positions are set in stone prior to tomorrow’s last round, with Waves the League champions, currently on 54 points, ahead of Fraser Flames 46, Bingera 42 and United Park Eagles (UPE) 37.
But the battle between Gary and Nykodah for goal-scoring honours will go right down to the wire as they go on all-out attack for their sides against the hot and cold Brothers-Aston Villa (BAV) at Martens Oval and wooden spooners Diggers at Waves Sports Complex, respectively, both at 6pm.
The Flames will be desperate to bounce back when they host UPE after being burnt by BIngera 7-2 last week.
Meanwhile, Sunbury Blues have the Wide Bay Premier League Women’s Championship secure on 45 points, ahead of their top of the table showdown with KSS Jets (34 points) tonight, while if they lose or draw, third seeds UPE, who are on 33 points, can clinch
No. 2 if they can defeat fourth placed ATW at Martens Oval at 6pm tonight.
Major and minor semi-finals in all junior divisions will also be contested tomorrow.
Hervey Bay Bombers will be aiming to complete an unbeaten Wide Bay Marquis Macadamias Seniors Premiership Minor Title when they host second placed reigning champions Across The Waves Eagles in the last round of the competition at Norm McLean Oval tomorrow afternoon.
The Eagles will take on Bay Power in the semi-final next Saturday and will be expected to progress to a grand final showdown with the Bombers, so a win tomorrow would be a great confidence booster for them, but their task is massive, especially at the Hervey Bay fortress.
Meanwhile, Brothers Bulldogs, who have been very competitive over the second half of the season without breaking through for a win, will be playing for pride when they host Power also at 2.30pm.
On Sunday morning, AFLQ Wide Bay will hold their Junior Cluster Carnival for Under-8’s and Under-10’s to wrap up their Footy4Fun season at Brothers Bulldogs AFL Club grounds.
Fresh from their drought breaking victory last week, four-times Division 1 Men’s defending champions All Blacks will take on Minor Premiers and perennial Grand Finalists Waves Cities in the last round of Bundaberg fixtures at Hinkler Park at 4.30pm tomorrow.
Earlier, their Women, who claimed the title last year and have lost just one game in taking out the Minor Premiership in 2021, will cross sticks with All Blacks at 3.10pm.
Arrows/Athletics will duel with Rovers/Raiders in all grades, including in Division 1 Women at 5.50pm and Men at 7.10pm.
Waves Netball Club will hold a Pink Sports Day Fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Network Australia as part of the Bundaberg Association’s Warren Family Homes Premierships last round of matches at the Superpark tomorrow.
Their vision is for every one of their players to purchase and wear a pair of BCNA Pink socks.
On the courts, their Gold side, who are the reigning Division 1 champions, will be favoured to complete an unbeaten minor premiership when they take on Brothers Hurricanes at 5pm in a top of the table clash, which is also a dress rehearsal for their major semi-final rematch next Saturday, with the two sides on track to also meet in the grand final.
At 6.30pm, Alloway Blue will take on Natives Magpies, and Waves Blue will suit up against Fusion Solomon.
Bundaberg Haifa Lightning Handicap victor Mountain Courage continued on his winning ways with another powered packed performance in Gladstone’s feature sprint, the Newmarket Handicap, on Saturday.
Humping 60kg, 5kg more than each of the other five runners, the six-year-old Bundaberg champion saluted the judge 4 lengths clear of runner-up Lucky Machu, completing 4 wins in a row.
His trainer Darryl Gardiner however had to settle for third in the Gladstone Cup with Bundaberg Cup winner Wrecking Ball, with that event taken out by Bundy Cup third placegetter Mahratta for top Gympie trainer Barry Gill.
Bouldercombe trainer Darren Taylor took out a double at this week’s Bundaberg meeting, getting the money with Cosmic Colin, which made it 7 wins and a second from his past 8 starts in the Mixed 3rd/4th Grade, and Jack of Hearts in the 5th Grade Pathway Non-Penalty.
Cosmic Colin’s owner John Kuhn also triumphed in the Masters 5th Grade with the consistent Elle Koda, which he trains for Darren Taylor at Bargara.
Lorraine Isles was the only other District trainer to be among the winners on the program, with Unencumbered, which repeated his Heat triumph in the 5th Grade Final.
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