Easts Magpies will be without their Railway Hotel Player of the Round Lachlan Price when they take on the only other unbeaten team Hervey Bay Seagulls Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership Battle of the Birds blockbuster at Salter Oval at 4.30pm tomorrow.
He has been replaced by the versatile Arden Lankowski, who will play in his third position in three weeks after starting the season in the centres in their 56-18 demolition of Wallaroos and lining up in the second row in their 36-24 dispatch of Waves Tigers last week.
The Seagulls are fresh from a 54-32 drubbing of two-times defending champions Past Brothers at home last week, when halfback David Woodbridge racked up 22 points with two tries and seven conversions, but the Brethren had a player sent off, which may have contributed to the blow-out.
Hervey Bay will be further bolstered by the return of powerhouse second rower Dion Bunyan, and another epic duel is anticipated after the two sides drew 32-all in the corresponding match last year.
The stakes are high, with the Magpies able to establish an early break on the ladder and take an early step towards a second straight minor premiership prior to the Easter recess if they are able to continue on their winning ways.
Both teams in the 6.30pm will be chasing their first win of the season with Wests Panthers, who were beaten by Brothers in the first round, and had their scheduled game against Wallaroos last week postponed, welcoming star signing mercurial veteran journeyman Clinton Horne, who adds class and vast experience at five-eighth.
Clinton, who has won two BRL A Grade Player of the Year awards and also won premierships with the Seagulls and Tigers in a distinguished career, was signed after spending the past two seasons with the Magpies.
He will complement a lethal backline, alongside captain and halfback Tyson Douglas, Chris Robinson and Gage Laird, who were consistently among the Panthers best last year, former South Kolan Sharks sensation Bruce Ikamanu, who bagged a hat-trick of tries at his BRL debut a fortnight ago, and former Gin Gin Hawks excitement machines Viliami Molisi and Mathew Collier.
Waves Tigers, who drew with the Seagulls before last week’s defeat, will be beefed up by the return of rugged forward Aaron Flanagan for the first time since 2017 after a stint with the Central Capras, and the debut of Justin Bell off the bench.
The round will conclude on Sunday with Past Brothers having home games in the three grades against Wallaroos, culminating in the A Grade showpiece at 3pm.
Brothers will be keen to bounce back after last week’s buffeting, and while they will be missing the suspended Connor Jones, they will relish the return of Zak Bainbridge, who missed the Seagulls’ game, and he will slot into the No. 6 with Tom Kronk to partner him in the halves in his first game of 2022.
Roos have named a full-strength side include their veteran multiple BRL A Grade Player of the Year five-eighth and perennial match winner Shaun Collins, and they too will be aiming to kick-start their campaign after their horror season in 2021, which ended with the wooden spoon.
Meanwhile, the Northern Districts Premierships will blast off this Sunday at Shark Park South Kolan, starting with Women’s League Tag clash between title holders Gin Gin Hawkettes and beaten grand finalists Avondale Tigerettes at 12.15pm, with the returning Agnes Water Marlins having the bye.
Men’s Premiership action will follow with 2021 runners-up Gin Gin Hawks to take flight against Avondale Tigers at 1.30pm, before premiers South Kolan Sharks, who have lost many members of their grand final team, suit up against Miriam Vale Magpies, who are on a mission in their Centenary season, at 3.15pm.
After starting their Golden Jubilee season with a 61-point victory over Bay Power in last week’s season opener, their first win since defeating Across The Waves Eagles by 11 points on 27th July 2019, Brothers Bulldogs will be primed for a resurgent Waves in the AFL Wide Bay Marquis Macadamias Senior Men’s Premiership third round at Brothers Sports Complex tomorrow at 3pm after the Eagles were shot down by reigning champions Hervey Bay Bombers by 95 points.
But the sky is the limited for the all-conquering Eagles in their Takalvans Seniors Women’s Premiership Round 8 duel with the Bulldogs, who have only one win to their credit, at 1.30pm.
Meanwhile, in the Hervey Bay Senior Men’s Derby, the Bombers will meet Power for the first time since last year’s grand final.
The unbeaten All Blacks get the chance to complete a perfect first full round of Bundaberg Hockey Division 1 Women’s fixtures when they do battle with the also unbeaten Raiders/Rovers at Hinkler Park at 7.20pm tomorrow.
Earlier at 4.40pm, All Blacks will also be favoured in the Division 1 Men’s showdown between the two clubs after shutting out Waves Cities 2-0 in the season opener, before having the bye last Saturday when Cities white-washed Raiders/Rovers 5-0.
Two times defending Division 1 Women’s champions Waves Cities will be chasing their first win of 2022 when they cross sticks with Arrows/Athletics at 6pm.
There will be no junior fixtures tomorrow due to the school holidays.
There are no matches in the Football Queensland Premier League Wide Bay Men’s and Women’s divisions tomorrow, but some Wide Bay North rain-postponed catch-up matches will be played.
Bundaberg Netball Warren Family Homes Premiership fixtures are also taking a break for the School holidays.
Takura part-owner/trainer David Plummer took out the quinella in the Best 8 at this week’s meeting at Thabeban Park, with Fogelberg ($1.20), which was having his first start for a month, notching his 10th straight win on the track, and his litter brother Little Ripper a gallant second.
Fogelberg’s imposing record now stands at 26 wins, 6 seconds and 5 thirds from 48 starts.
Churchable trainer Warren Nicholls claimed the last two events on the program with Future’s Changed in the Sky Racing 5th Grade and Ready to Rumble in the Masters 5th Grade.
Three District trainers were also among the winners on the program, Paul Burgess with My Mate’s Barney at his third start in the Maiden, Garry Cluse with former New South Wales chaser Mister Key on track debut in the Novice Non-Penalty, and Keven Read with Next Stop, which snapped a 22-race losing streak in the 5th Grade Pathway Penalty.
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