Past Brothers have lost four players from their team which shocked Easts Magpies 26-22 in last year’s Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership grand final.
Stalwart warhorse forward Aaron Hall and hooker Tom Murray, who have both retired, electrifying back Jayden Alberts is having a break, and powerhouse front rower Brendan Stewart, who could miss the season after suffering a serious knee injury while playing in the Rugby Bundaberg Spring Cup.
They will also be without two of their young guns when they take on Wests Panthers in the third game of the first round triple-header at Salter Oval tomorrow at 6.30pm, Eden Hess and Bryden Blair.
But coach Andrew Hamilton remains “confident” they can start their quest for a hat-trick of titles with a win.
Andrew said two of their biggest signings had “fit in well”, former Isis Devils grand final player Zac Dann, who has returned home after five good years with Gayndah in the Central Burnett League and was chosen in the 2021 47th Battalion Carnival Merit Team after an outstanding display for Wide Bay Rangers at the Showpiece event at Salter Oval on the May-Day weekend, and Connor Jones, who has also returned to the Rum City after excelling in a couple of seasons with Bulimba Bulldogs and Easts Tigers in the Brisbane Second Grade.
Meanwhile, Waves Tigers, who have also rebuilt nicely under their coach Antonio Kaufusi, will take on Hervey Bay Seagulls to raise the curtain on the A Grade season at 2.30pm, before 2021 minor premiers and grand final bridesmaid Easts Magpies do battle with wooden spooners Wallaroos at 4.30pm.
The Seagulls, who were beaten by Brothers 34-14 in the Preliminary Final after leading 14-4 at half-time, completed back-to-back Wests Nines titles on February 26, but Waves coach Antonio Kaufusi believes it could be the “Year of the Tiger”, with a new-look team, including Jensen Deamer, Brendan Grills and Lachlan Patterson from the Panthers, Delai Moto another great signing, and Lachlan Dullaway and Jacob O’Shea returning to the club after stints in Gold Coast band Brisbane respectively, and brothers Daniel and Jake McLennan each making comebacks.
Twenty bouts will be on the cards when the 2022 Attila Boxing Academy Tournament is contested at the Bundaberg Civic Centre tomorrow night.
The host club will field a team of five, including Zac Blanch, who will take on Abdullah Bassal, of the Against the Ropes club, in the 63.5kg division.
Rosa-Lee Hickey (42kg), Johannas Smith (81kg), Bailey Rach (78kg) and Ricky Rowles-Brown (67kg) will also fly the flag for the Attila Academy.
Action starts at 5pm, with tickets sales at the door. Food and drinks will be available.
The unbeaten Across The Waves Eagles will take an iron grip on a second straight AFL Wide Bay Women’s Takalvans Seniors Women’s Premiership minor title if they can again topple four-times defending champions Hervey Bay Bombers at 2pm tomorrow in front of their adoring home crowd at Frank Coulthard Oval.
The Eagles started the season by taking down the Bombers by 19 points at the Bay on 19th February, and they have continued to go from strength to strength since.
Meanwhile, the improved Brothers Bulldogs will play host to Gympie Cats at 2pm at Brothers Sports Complex, aiming to reverse a 29-point first-round mauling by the Cats.
The AFLWB Reserves Men’s competition will kick off tomorrow, and the Eagles will lock horns with the Bombers at Coulthard at 12.30pm, before their Women’s sides take centre stage.
After a 5-0 victory over KSS Jets in the Football Wide Bay Football Queensland Premier League Wide Bay Men’s Division at Martens Oval last week to start their Centenary season, Bingera will host their North Bundaberg neighbours United Park Eagles (UPE) in what promises to be a battle royale at 6pm tomorrow.
Meanwhile, SC Corinthians will be hoping to bounce back from a 14-1 drubbing by powerhouses Across The Waves (ATW) when they try to take down the Jets at Martens Oval, also at 6pm, while Waves will travel to Villa Park Maryborough for a showdown with Doon Villa.
In the Wide Bay Women’s League tonight, Diggers will suit up against KSS Jets at 8.30pm at Martens Oval, and Waves travel to the Heritage City for combat with Tinana, while Bingera will host UPE at 2pm tomorrow.
Waves Cities will start their Bundaberg Hockey Division 1 Men’s title defence with a first-round blockbuster against arch-rivals and beaten grand finalists All Blacks at 7.20pm tomorrow at Hinkler Park.
Earlier at 6pm, their Division 1 Women will embark on their quest for a hat-trick of titles when they also clash sticks with the old enemy at 6pm.
Raiders/Rovers’ Division 1 Men have the bye, but their Women will aim up against Arrows/Athletics at 4.40pm.
Good luck to the Bundaberg teams competing in the Carnival in Rockhampton this weekend.
Due to this carnival, there will be no Warren Family Homes Premiership fixtures at the Super Park tomorrow, with competition to resume next Saturday.
A massive $40,000 will be on offer for the winner of the TAB Bundaberg Cup at Thabeban Park this Monday with a star-studded field headed by the Heat winners from this week’s meeting, Lucky Lance, Sunshine Delight, Impact, and Little Byrnes.
Lucky Lance, from the Glasshouse Mountains kennels of Robert Ayres, boasts 17 victories from 46 starts, while Sunshine Delight for Beachmere owner/trainer Paul McIlveen has taken out 13 of his 39 appearances, Impact has recorded 22 wins from 39 races for $125,780 prizemoney for Burpengary’s Kevin Ellis, and Little Byrnes, trained by John Catton at Greenbank, is a winner of 21 of his 56 starts.
All four were favourites in their heats and all were impressive, and there was little between their times of 31.05sec, 31.11, 31.19 and 31.32 respectively.
The field for the Cup will fly at 2.52pm.
At this week’s meeting, Buccan owner/trainer Jeff Crawford also had a good day, grabbing a double with Black Shimmer (Masters 5th Grade) and Kiss and Cut (Mixed 3rd & 4th Grade).
Just two District trainers were also among the victors on the day, Ricky Hassall with Papagayo Star in the Novice Non-Penalty, and Garry Cluse with Tiffany Twisted in the Sky Racing 5th Grade.
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