Easts Magpies will be attempting to break a 16-year drought in the Rugby League Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership when they take on arch-rivals Past Brothers in what promises to be an epic grand final at Salter Oval this Sunday at 3.30pm.
Last time the Magpies swooped on the grand old trophy, beating Isis Devils 20-16 on September 4, 2005, under their then coach, the late club great John Booth, their current captain, and BRL A Grade Player of the Year for the past two seasons, Matt Craven, was playing alongside current Melbourne Storm, State of Origin and Test star Felise Kaufusi in the Brothers team which won the under-13 grand final.
Matt Craven played all his junior career for the Brethren, and he also won an A Grade title with them, before joining Valleys in the Gladstone Rugby League, and he also played in Brisbane, but returned home in 2018, playing one season for Isis, before they dropped out of the BRL.
He joined Easts in 2019 and has been outstanding week-in-week-out, and he has a fierce but friendly rivalry with his former longtime coach and uncle Andrew Hamilton, who returned to the Brothers’ coaching position this season, while first-season Magpies coach Brent Kuskey, has played a starring role as a player in Brothers’ past seven premierships, in 2008, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17 and 19.
The Magpies claimed the minor premiership, while Brothers scraped into third position with a 50% winning record.
Honours have been split in clashes between the two sides in 2021, with Brothers getting home 32-16 on April 24, Easts romping home 46-16 on June 6, the Brethren ending the Magpies’ eight-match winning streak with a 38-22 penultimate round upset on July 17, but Easts returning to their brilliant best in a 38-16 victory in the Major Semi-final a fortnight ago.
The match will also feature a fierce sibling rivalry with Easts rugged front rower Hayden Priestley up against his younger brother, Brothers fullback Tyrell, who grabbed a late double in their come-from-behind 34-14 victory over Hervey Bay Seagulls in the preliminary final last Saturday.
Both teams have many potential match winners, but the Magpies’ back-line is especially imposing with a string of prolific try scorers.
Brothers have a vastly different team to the one which defeated Waves 32-28 in an epic grand final two years ago, with just seven survivors from that side, while Easts boast plenty of BRL A Grade grand final winning experience with Clinton Horne a star in the Seagulls’ triumph of 2016, Matt Craven, Tyrell Howard, Hayden Priestley and Tien Nguyen all having won titles with Brothers, and Tyrell Howard and Trent Seeds both major parts of the Tigers’ success of 2018.
Wallaroos will meet Wests Panthers in the Under-18 and Reserve Grade deciders at 12.30pm and 1.45pm respectively.
The bumper grand final program will get under way with Roos also facing Waves Tigers in U-13 at 8am, with the Tigers to also combat Brothers in U14 and U15 at 9am and 10am respectively, and the Seagulls and Panthers to battle it out in U16 at 11.15am.
A Grade Teams – Easts Magpies: 1 Clinton Horne, 2 Andreas Nona, 3 Matthew Ross, 4 Trent Seeds, 5 Dylan Taylor, 6 Matthew Craven, 7 Tyrell Howard, 8 Leigh Eade, 9 Arden Lankowski, 10 Hayden Priestley, 11 Tien Nguyen, 12 Craig Bek, 13 Caleb Van Lawick, 14 Joel Keune, 15 Justyn Porter, 16 John Akers, 17 Tyrone Ward.
Past Brothers: 1 Tyrell Priestley, 2 Thomas Kronk, 3 Ban Schrader, 4 Jayden Alberts, 5 Benaiah Kambanei, 6 Zak Bainbridge, 7 Lachlan Tanzer, 8 Kevin Sherriff, 9 Tim Cole, 10 Brendan Stewart, 11 Royce Blair, 12 Aaron Hall, 13 Tom Murray, 14 Tyla Hodge, 15 Daniel Finter, 16 Jake Thompson, 20 Logan Tanzer.
FOOTBALL: Fourteen Bundaberg players are part of the 20-man Wide Bay Select Squad which will meet A League side Brisbane Roar at the Fraser Coast Sports Precinct at 5pm tomorrow.
All six Bundaberg clubs which compete in the Wide Bay Premier League Men’s are represented, with the team to be captained by Bingera’s Joel Haack.
Wide Bay: Chris Merrison (KSSJ), Jason McEwen (Bin); Jordan Butcher (Gra), Dylan Leggett (ATW), Jeremy Bates (Gra), Lachlan Scarborough (BAV), Dylan Heycox (UPE), Dwayne McInnes (FF), Keanu Arsenault (Dig); Joel Haack © (Bin), Luke Coates (UPE), Sam Meyer (ATW), Simon Quik (ATW), Josh Lunnon (SC Cor), Tyson Bedford (Sun B); Bryce Hibberd (ATW), Gary O’Donnell (Bin), Michael Stayte (BAV), Mason McKenna (DV), Josh Adcock (UPE).
Due to the Wide Bay v Roar game, there will be no Wide Bay League matches this weekend, with semi-finals to be played next weekend.
Wide Bay North Junior Preliminary Finals will however be played in all age divisions at Martens Oval tomorrow, all finishing by early afternoon to allow fans to travel to Hervey Bay to watch the Roar game.
AFL: Across The Waves Eagles’ Wide Bay Marquis Macadamias Seniors Premiership title defence will go on the line when they come up against 2019 champions and 2020 beaten grand finalists Bay Power in the semi-final at Norm McLean Oval tomorrow at 2.30pm.
Honours have been shared in clashes between the pair this campaign, but the Eagles flew high 14.12 (96) to 2.5 (17) in the penultimate round a fortnight ago, before they forfeited to unbeaten minor premiers Hervey Bay Bombers in the last round.
The two clubs will also go head-to-head in the Reserves at 12.30pm and Under-14 at 11am.
In U12, Bombers Black will take on Power in the Eliminator at 8am, before minor premiers Brothers Bulldogs aim up against Bombers Red at 9.30am.
Meanwhile, AFLWB held their annual junior Carnival at Brothers Bulldogs AFL Club on Sunday, with under-8’s and under-10 teams from all five clubs coming together for a day of fun footy and friends.
These carnivals have become a highlight of their Footy4Fun calendar and provide the perfect bridging opportunity for players before they head into competitive age groups in years to come.
All up, there were 7 teams from the 2 Bundaberg clubs who took the field on Sunday, with each participant receiving a free show bag, along with all players born in 2012 receiving a Brisbane Lions Guernsey.
HOCKEY: After struggling for most of the season, there will no second chances four-times defending champions All Blacks when they meet Arrows/Athletics in the Bundaberg Division 1 Men’s Minor Semi-final at 4.30pm tomorrow at Hinkler Park.
In the Division 1 Women’s Minor Semi-final, they will clash with Raiders/Rovers at 3.10pm.
Waves Cities claimed the Division 1 Men’s and Women’s minor premiership double, and they will contest the Major Semi-finals against Raiders/Rovers at 7.10pm and Arrows/Athletics at 5.50pm respectively.
NETBALL: Unbeaten minor premiers and defending champions Waves Gold are expected to go on their winning ways when they bib up against Brothers Hurricanes in the Bundaberg Warren Family Homes Division 1 Premiership Major Semi-final at the Superpark tomorrow.
But the Minor Semi-final is set to be another even contest between Alloway Blue and Fusion Solomons with both teams coming off good wins last week against Natives Magpies and Waves Blue respectively.
HORSE RACING: Bundaberg champion King Klaus returned from a four-month break in style, leading from the start and fighting back after being headed at the 100m mark to win a 1000m Benchmark Handicap at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
Trained by Gary Clem, the six-year-old outsider, paying $10, was ridden a treat by jockey Ron Stewart, edging out favourite Le Palmier in a photo finish.
King Klaus now boasts 9 wins, 3 seconds and 1 third from 15 starts, and Gary said victory was sweet after he had been defeated by Le Palmier at his first Metropolitan start almost one year earlier on 29th August last year.
Gary still has now special plans for him, and he will just keep taking him back to Brisbane whenever there are suitable races for him.
Top Bundaberg trainer Darryl Gardiner was also among the winners with his bonny mare Dolci returning to form in a Benchmark 65 Handicap at Gympie.
GREYHOUNDS: Bouldercombe trainer Darren Taylor had a big day out at this week’s Bundaberg meeting, winning four races.
He took out races two, four, six and eight, with Bailing Out in the Bundaberg Maiden 1000 Heat, Jack of Hearts making it back-to-back wins in the 460m Mixed 4th/5th Grade, In and Out in the 550m Mixed 4th/5th Grade, and Cosmic Colin making it 8 wins and a second from his past 9 outings in the Bundaberg Sprint Heats.
On a program of symmetries, Takura trainer David Plummer claimed a treble, in races five, seven and nine, with Easy Eddie which snapped a 9-race losing streak in a 5th Grade, Fogelberg, which recorded his sixth win in a row at Thabeban Park in the other Bundaberg Sprint Heat, and Little Ripper in a 5th Grade.
Former Gin Gin trainer Ron Brook, now of Takura, claimed the first Bundaberg Maiden Heat with Sofie’s Dream.