Waves Tigers were the most successful club in the Bundaberg Junior Rugby League Grand Finals at Salter Oval, defeating Brothers 18-8 in Under-14 and Wallaroos 24-20 in an Under-13 thriller, and also contesting the Under-15 decider, going down to Brothers 36-22.
Wests Panthers were bridesmaid in Under-16, with Hervey Bay Seagulls soaring to a 28-10 victory over them.
In U15, just as they did in last year’s U14 decider when Brothers in the end won an arm wrestle with Waves, the two arch-rivals engaged in a titanic duel, with the Brethren leading just 14-12 at the break but running away with it in the end after having lost just one game all season.
Powerhouse five-eighth Jack Schmidt took out the Player of the Grand Final after notching a double in a robust all-round performance, while workaholic lock Jett Maher also crossed twice, and fullback Blake Powter, the competition’s leading points scorer with 128 who signed a two-year Development Deal with Canterbury Bulldogs earlier in the week, was also among their tries.
Flashy winger Emmanuel Iboro ran in three tries for the Tigers, but Brothers simply had too many guns.
Waves had been minor premiers in U14, and they were again too good for Brothers, putting their stamp on the match with a 12-4 first half, and never relenting, with the multi-talented halfback and co-captain Jimmy Gear picking up the Player of the Grand Final with one try and two goals in another slick all-round display.
Fellow co-captain and his halves partner Preston Walsh, who topped the U14 Points Scoring with 122, also chipped in with one try and one conversion.
Wallaroos had finished first in U13 with Waves in third position, but the Tigers prevailed in a game which went right down to the wire after the duo had been locked together at 10-all at oranges.
Roos halfback Hunter Murdoch had the leading try scorer in the age group with a massive 24, but he was well defended and was unable to add to his account, and while his team-mate fullback Zakk Thompson grabbed three tries, Waves triumphed with five individual try scorers to their opponents’ total of four.
Exciting Waves five-eighth and co-captain Parkka Perrotta-Dowling, who had been runner-up in the Tries tally with 23 but topped the points scoring with 134, was a popular winner of the Player of the Grand Final after snaring one four-pointer and a conversion in a signature brilliant display.
The Seagulls were always in control in U16, establishing a 16-0 half-time lead and going right on with the job with lock Harry Armstrong finishing with a double but hooker Eden Wheeler, who notched 12 points with one try and four conversions, the Player of the Grand Final.
Two Life Membership presentations were made on the day, to former long serving BJRL President Paul Barritt, and recently retired QRL Central Division Manager David Pearce for his service and dedication to Junior League over many years.
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). Player of Grand Final: Eden Wheeler.
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). Player of Grand Final: Jack Schmidt.
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). Player of Grand Final: Jimmy Gear.
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 Grand Final: Parkka Perrotta-Dowling.