Powerhouse second rower Royce Blair claimed the Les Somerville Medal for Player of the Grand Final as Past Brothers held off a late Easts Magpies’ attack to triumph 26-22 and clinch back-to-back Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership titles at Salter Oval on Sunday.
The Brethren, who were rank underdogs, played a near perfect first 60 minutes to lead 24-4, but in the end, held on by the skin of their teeth on the boot of Zak Bainbridge after the minor premiers racked up four tries in a frenzied last 14 minutes, the last with 27 left seconds on the clock to set up one last 12-second shot at snatching a remarkable victory from the bowels of defeat, only to lose the ball and Brothers securing it for the last few seconds.
Easts, who had thrashed Brothers 38-16 in the Major Semi-final a fortnight earlier, finished with five tries to four but were able to convert only one of them, while Zak Bainbridge added the extras for three of the Blue and Whites’ tries and also kicked penalties from in front of the sticks in the 46th minutes to extend their 16-4 half-time lead, and in the 69th minute, which in the end proved crucial.
Brothers built their domination on a rock-solid pack, in which captain and lock Kevin Sherriff, fellow starting forwards Brendan Stewart, Tom Murray, Tyla Hodge, and 34-year-old stalwart Aaron Hall, and Interchange forwards Tim Cole, Daniel Finter and Logan Tanzer, the 2019 club president, were all absolutely outstanding.
All of their backs were also brilliant, with centre Jake Thompson leading the charge, but just as he had done in their Preliminary Final victory over Hervey Bay a week earlier, 22-year-old first-year player and winger Mitchell Clayton scored successive tries in the 25th and 36th minutes, the first a 95m stunner, almost identical to his second game-defining four-pointer against the Seagulls.
Mitchell Clayton fielded the ball from a grubber by Magpies captain and dual BRL A Grade Player of the Year Matt Craven close to their line and raced away down the right wing, turning on the afterburners and stepping out of the last ditch attempted diving tackle by Easts veteran dual premiership winning fullback Clinton Horne to put them in front for the first time, before finishing well for his second.
Easts had scored first in the sixth minute through flashy winger Andreas Nona on the back of a penalty after team-mate Trent Seeds and Brothers fullback Tyrell Priestley were each sin-binned after tempers flared and a scuffle broke out.
His opposite, Papua New Guinea Native Benaiah Kambanei opened Brothers’ account seven minutes later, levelling the scores.
The titanic duel continued until Brothers got the upper hand with Mitchell Clayton’s twin strikes, and they were in control after Zak Bainbridge’s first penalty six minutes into the second stanza, and a superb try to barnstorming prop Brendan Stewart on the hour.
But the Magpies picked themselves up off the canvas, and once they broke through with Trent Seeds’ first of his two late tries, they were unstoppable, and they were ultimately beaten by the final siren.
They had been hot favourites to end a 16-year club drought, but it was more heartache for Easts.
For Brothers, Zak Bainbridge had also been a match winner in their 32-28 grand final victory over Waves two years ago, kicking six goals to the Tigers’ four, before last season was cancelled due to Covid-19.
Brothers have now reigned supreme eight times since Easts last got their name on the Shield, also in 2008, three years in a row from 2010-12, 2015, 2017 and 2019, and for Kevin Sherriff, it was his fourth premiership, the last three as captain.
Twenty-eight-year-old Royce Blair, in his first season with the club, played all his previous club football for Isis Devils up until 2018 after which they dropped out of the competition.
He had an ACL reconstruction at the end of that season, before making a comeback in 2021, together with former Devils stars Jake Thompson and Tim Cole, and re-linking with halfback Taylar Barritt, who also played two seasons for Isis, before joining the Brethren in 2019 and playing every game again this season until unfortunately suffering a season-ending knee injury in their upset Qualifying Final win over Wests Panthers.
The Brothers team included just eight members of their 2019 Premiership outfit, Kevin Sherriff, Tyla Hodge, Brendan Stewart, Zak Bainbridge, Tyrell Priestley, starting halfback Jayden Alberts and Benaiah Kambanei, but Mat Templeman, who was a key man as a player two years ago, was again integrally involved as the first-year club president and fill-in player this season up until being injured in the major semi-final, while Ben Schrader, who was FAO in 2019, featured as a player this time, as their Interchange Back in the decider.
For workaholic veteran second rower Aaron Hall, who hung up his boots after their 2017 grand final victory, it was his fourth premiership for the club after starting this season as a Team Trainer but coming out of retirement to help out in their hour of need in round five, when they suffered their third loss in their first five games of the year.
Dynamic hooker Tom Murray was in his first season in Bundaberg, while team veteran Dan Finter, 40, who was Captain/Coach of their Reserve Grade Team in 2019, made a massive impact as an Interchange Forward.
Victory was also a triumph for one of Brothers’ favourite sons, Andrew Hamilton, in his first season back as coach after first captain/coaching the club as a rookie in the early 90’s and last coaching them in 2010.
Brothers’ team of 2019 included Easts’ first year coach Brent Kuskey and Tien Nguyen, a star of a string of Brothers’ titles, before following Brent to the Magpies’ nest this year.
Maryborough club Wallaroos claimed the Under-18 and Reserve Grade double with grand final victories over Wests Panthers 44-26 and 22-0 respectively.
Hooker Joel Cox bagged a double in a U18 Player of the Final performance for Roos, while club stalwart front rower David Ball took out the award in Reserve Grade.
Brothers also won the Under-15 Grand Final earlier in the day, outgunning Waves Tigers 36-22 with doubles to blockbusting five-eighth Jack Schmidt and lock Jett Maher, but the Tigers roared in U13 and U14, defeating Wallaroos 24-20 in the former and Brothers 18-8 in the latter.
Hervey Bay completed a dominant season in U16 with a 28-10 blitz of the Panthers.
FOOTBALL: Wide Bay Select Team captain Joel Haack, of Bundaberg, scored a goal, but they were blown away by A League team Brisbane Roar 13-1 in an Exhibition Match in Hervey Bay on Saturday.
Alex Parsons, Jez Lofthouse and Cyrus Dehmie all bagged doubles for the Roar, who turned it on in front of a massive crowd, in a good warm up for their season under coach Warren Moon, who formerly played a season for Bundaberg Waves in the Queensland State League.
The final scoreline will ultimately matter little in the broader context of a successful five-day camp filled with fun community engagements, meet and greets and quality training time.
The Wide Bay team was dominated by Bundaberg players who will return to their clubs for the Wide Bay Premier League Men’s semi-finals this Saturday.
While no Wide Bay League semis were played last weekend, semi-finals were played in the Division 1 Men’s and Women’s North categories on Friday night, and in the Men’s Cup, League champions Across The Waves (ATW) were edged out by Brothers-Aston Villa (BAV) 2-1, while Women’s League champions Diggers outgunned SC Corinthians 8-3 with Chenae Watson leading the way with a hat-trick of goals.
AFL: Across The Waves Eagles’ Wide Bay Seniors Premiership title defence is over after they were beaten by Bay Power 9.9 (63) to 3.6 (24) in the Semi-final at Norm McLean Oval on Saturday.
The Eagles trailed by nine points at the long break but failed to kick a major in the second half while the Bay powered home with a further five goals to book a place in the decider for the third year in a row.
No Bundaberg team will contest any of the four grand finals after the Eagles were also defused by the Power 6.3 (39) to 2.5 (17) in Reserves and 13.12 (90) to 3.3 (21) in Under-14, and Under-12 Minor Premiers Brothers Bulldogs were shot down by fourth placed Hervey Bay Bombers Red 3.11 (29) to 0.1 (1).
HOCKEY: Matt Quaite bagged a hat-trick of goals as Minor Premiers Waves Cities charged on with a 7-0 whitewash of Raiders/Rovers in their Bundaberg Division 1 Men’s Major Semi-final at Hinkler Park on Saturday.
Raiders/Rovers will get a second chance in the Preliminary Final against four-times defending champions All Blacks, who kept their hopes alive with a 2-1 dispatch of Arrows/Athletics.
In the Division 1 Women, reigning premiers and Minor Premiers Waves Cities were too strong for Arrows in the Major Semi-final, winning 4-2 with a double to Pippa McKinstry, while Raiders/Rovers accounted for All Blacks 2-0 in the Minor Semi.
NETBALL: Unbeaten Minor Premiers Waves Gold surged on relentlessly in their quest for back-to-back Bundaberg Warren Family Homes Division 1 Premiership titles with a 57-28 Major Semi-final thumping of Brothers Hurricanes at the Superpark on Saturday.
Fourth placed Fusion Solomons upstaged third seeds Alloway Blue 44-40 to set up a Preliminary Final showdown with the Hurricanes.
Here are all the scores:
AFL WIDE BAY
MARQUIS MACADAMIAS SENIORS PREMIERSHIP
Semi-final: Bay Power 1.4, 4.5, 6.5, 9.9 (63) d Across The Waves 1.0, 3.2, 3.5, 3.6 (24).
BAY POWER – Goal Kickers: Jarrod Stothard 3, Glenn Krohn 2, Joshua Wheeler 2, Kasey Cook, Michael Walsh.
ACROSS THE WAVES – Goal Kickers: Michael Blair 2, Travis Esmer.
Semi-final: Bay Power 2.1, 5.2, 5.2, 6.3 (39) d Across The Waves 0.1, 0.1, 2.4, 2.5 (17).
ACROSS THE WAVES – Goal Kickers: Daniel Foggo, Jimmy Power.
Semi-final: Bay Power 13.12 (90) d Across The Waves 3.3 (21).
Semi-finals: Hervey Bay Bombers Black 6.4 (40) d Bay Power 5.2 (32).
Hervey Bay Bombers Red 3.11 (29) d Brothers Bulldogs 0.1 (1).
FOOTBALL WIDE BAY
NORTH DIVISION 1 MEN’S CUP
Elimination final: UPE GREEN 3 (Chris Napper 2, Matt Lindeman) d DIGGERS 2 (Cameron Mackay 2).
Qualifying final: BAV 2 (Luke Dickinson, Casey Smith) d ATW 1 (Zane Groves).
WOMEN’S NORTH DIVISION 1
Elimination final: BARGARA 3 (Zaire Killen, Iommi Killen, Shakira Damico) d ATW DEVELOPMENT 0.
Qualifying final: DIGGERS 8 (Chenae Watson 3, Heidi Walk 2, Leah Herbert, Celeste Arsenault, Jasmin Harradine-Hall) d SC CORINTHIANS 3 (Kalani Irwin 3).
Preliminary final: UPE 1 (Tyler Ash) d ATW HOTSPURS 0.
Preliminary final: BINGERA 3 (Cameron Manski 2, Ethan McKeown) d UPE 0.
Preliminary final: BAV VILLIANS 1 (Swarith Chand) d ATW UNITED 0.
BARGARA STINGRAYS 2 (Emily Turner, Slater Avenell) d ATW 1 (Tariq Munkayilar Moore).
Raiders Rovers 3 (Silvana Silvestro 1, Courtney Kendall 2) defeated Arrows Athletics 0
Waves Cities 6 (Sophie Aitkenhead 1, Ruby Potter 5) defeated All Blacks 0
Raiders Rovers 2 (Emma Kendall 1, Silvana Silvestro 1) defeated All Blacks 1 (Chloe McDonald 1)
Waves Cities 4 (Gabi Aitkenhead 1, Connor Castelli 1, Eason Marshall 2) defeated Arrows Athletics 0
All Blacks 2 (Isaac Wales 2) defeated Raiders Rovers 0
Waves Cities 3 (Sam Aitkenhead 3) defeated Arrows Athletics 2 (Jake McCaig 2)
Div 2 Women
Waves Cities 1 (Anna Smith 1) defeated Raiders Rovers 0
Arrows Athletics 2 (Malanie Stehbens 1, Eboney Braysher 1) defeated All Blacks 0
Div 2 Men
Waves Cities 3 (Michael Callaghan 1, Malcolm Lindsay 1, Jamie Rach 1) defeated Arrows Athletics 0
Div 1 Women
Raiders Rovers 2 (Amanda Wightman 1, Susan Kendall 1) defeated All Blacks 0
Waves Cities 4 (Jessica Asnicar 1, Tanya Palmer 1, Pippa McKinstry 2) defeated Arrows Athletics 2 (Shauna Mark 1, Quaya Simonsen 1)
Div 1 Men
Waves Cities 7 (Jonty McMahon 1, Lewis Dexter 1, Joel Latham 1, Lachlan McLennan 1, Matthew Quaite 3) d Raiders Rovers 0.
All Blacks 2 (Dale Veivers 1, Cody Sherlock 1) defeated Arrows Athletics 1 (Martin Green)
WARREN FAMILY HOMES DIVISION 1 PREMIERSHIP
Major semi-final: WAVES GOLD 57 d BROTHERS HURRICANES 28.
Minor semi-final: FUSION SOLOMONS 44 d ALLOWAY BLUE 40.
Major semi-final: WAVES PURPLE 38 d WAVES RED 34.
Minor semi-final: BROTHERS CYCLONES 41 d ALLOWAY GREEN 26.
Major semi-final: WAVES ROYALS 34 d BROTHERS THUNDER 31.
Minor semi-final: NATIVES ROSELLAS 40 d BROTHERS LIGHTNING 27.
Major semi-final: BROTHERS TWISTERS 51 d NATIVES PARROTS 33.
Minor semi-final: ALLOWAY YELLOW 30 d BROTHERS MONSOONS 29.
Major semi-final: NATIVES FIREBIRDS 33 d NATIVES KOOKABURRAS 31.
Minor semi-final: WAVES PINK 35 d ALLOWAY MAROONS 20.
Major semi-final: WAVES SAPPHIRES 33 d BROTHERS STORM 32.
Minor semi-final: WAVES SILVER 55 d NATIVES PEACOCKS 36.
Major semi-final: ALLOWAY AQUA 48 d BROTHERS WILDFIRES 27.
Minor semi-final: BROTHERS WHIRLWINDS 17 d NATIVES LORIKEETS 14.
Major semi-final: ALLOWAY EMERALDS 35 d BROTHERS TYPHOONS 27.
Minor semi-final: FUSION DANS AUTO ELITE 24 d WAVES DIAMONDS 15.
Major semi-final: FUSION SANDHILLS 28 d NATIVES KINGFISHERS 26.
Minor semi-final: BROTHERS VOLCANOES 28 d ALLOWAY PURPLE 10.
Major semi-final: FUSION FORCE 35 d WAVES TEAL 9.
Minor semi-final: BROTHERS TORNADOES 25 d ALLOWAY GOLD 16.
Major semi-final: BROTHERS AVALANCHES 26 d ALLOWAY LAVENDER 14.
RUGBY LEAGUE BUNDABERG
BUNDABERG BROADCASTERS A GRADE PREMIERSHIP
Grand final: PAST BROTHERS 26 (Mitchell Clayton 2, Benaiah Kambanei, Brendan Stewart tries; Zak Bainbridge 5 goals) d EASTS MAGPIES 22 (Trent Seeds 2, Andreas Nona, Matthew Ross, Clinton Horne tries; Tyrell Howard goal). Les Somerville Medal Player of Grand Final: Royce Blair.
Grand final: WALLAROOS 22 (Lawrence Muckan 2, Kurt Spicer, Kynan Watson tries; Kynan Watson 3 goals) d WESTS PANTHERS 0. Player of Final: David Ball.
Grand final: WALLAROOS 44 (Joel Cox 2, Codey Kearns, Jonah MacDonald, Kayne Cooke, Liam Doolan, Bailey Mills, Kyle MacDonald tries; Noah Dawson 6 goals) d WESTS PANTHERS 26 (Lochlan Modrow, Bryden Blair, Kynan Hard, Zander Kerr, Brad Clarke tries; Chris Robinson 3 goals). Player of Final: Joel Cox.
Grand final: HERVEY BAY 28 (Harry Armstrong 2, William Mitchell, Kyal Pitchford, Eden Wheeler tries; Eden Wheeler 4 goals) d WESTS PANTHERS 10 (Lochlan Hillan, Ryan Bugeja tries; Ryan Bugeja goal).
Grand final: BROTHERS 36 (Jack Schmidt 2, Jett Maher 2, Blake Powter, Benny Medley, Kai Bayley tries; Dawson Hess 4 goals) d WAVES TIGERS 22 (Emmanuel Iboro 3, Tom Morcom tries; Sebastyn Brennan 2 goals & field goal).
Grand final: WAVES TIGERS 18 (Owen Hess, Preston Walsh, Jimmy Gear tries; Jimmy Gear 2, Preston Walsh) d BROTHERS 8 (Levi Monckton, Daniel Cairns tries).
Grand final: WAVES TIGERS 24 (Nicholas De Lacy, Jarred McClymont, Noah McGuire, Parkka Perrotta-Dowling, Taj Plath tries; Parkka Perrotta-Dowling, Tahj Coates goals) d WALLAROOS 20 (Zakk Thompson 3, Kev Weribone tries; Hunter Murdoch, Thomas Titmarsh goals). Player of Match: Parkka Perrotta-Dowling.