With just two points separating first and fifth on the Rugby League Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership table, all teams will be hungry for victory in round seven this weekend.
It has been a stop-start season so far due to beaks for Easter and the 47th Battalion Carnival and last week’s wash-out.
Hervey Bay Seagulls lead on 7 points, from a trio of teams each on 6, Easts Magpies, Wests Panthers, and two-times defending champions Past Brothers, with Waves Tigers on 5, and Wallaroos on zero.
In the first clash between Wallaroos and Wests in 2022 after Roos forfeited their earlier showdown due to a Covid outbreak, the Panthers will be favoured in their 5 pm shoot-out at Eskdale Park tomorrow after beating league leaders at the time at their past two matches, Seagulls 38-24, and Magpies 14-12 respectively.
But it could be a danger game for them with Roos desperate to kick-start their season in front of what is always a big and boisterous home crowd.
Then on Sunday at Salter Oval, Brothers and Hervey Bay take to the field at 1.30 pm, before Easts and Waves square off at 3 pm.
The Brethren will be keen for revenge after being plucked by the Seagulls 54-32 at the Bay when they last met on 2 April, while a smarting Easts will be hot favourites against Waves after outclassing them 38-24 when they last crossed swords.
In the Northern Districts Rugby League, Miriam Vale Magpies will take a power of beating at home against Avondale Tigers at Gary Larson Oval at 3.15 pm tomorrow, while in the earlier game at 1.30 pm, Gin Gin Hawks face a tall order in quest of their first victory of the season, taking on reigning champions, the unbeaten South Kolan Sharks.
In the Women’s League Tag, Agnes Water Marlins will be up against the might of reigning premiers Gin Gin Hawkettes at 12.15 pm.
There is only one game in AFL Wide Bay Marquis Macadamias Senior Men’s Premiership tomorrow, but even in the expected very wet conditions, it will be a top of the table blockbuster between reigning champions and unbeaten leaders Hervey Bay Bombers and Brothers Bulldogs at NE McLean Oval at 3.30 pm.
The Bulldogs’ only loss in five matches so far was at home to the Bombers 7.7 (49) to 5.8 (38) on 23rd April, but their coach Brad Grogan is quietly confident of causing an upset, even at their Bay fortress.
Across The Waves Eagles and Bay Power have byes.
After suffering their first loss of the season at their most recent hit-out, being shocked by Doon Villa 2-1 four weeks ago on 23rd April, United Park Eagles (UPE) will be on a mission to return to winning form, but their task will not be easy against Fraser Flames in the Football Queensland Premier League Wide Bay Men’s division at Martens Oval at 6pm tomorrow.
But the Flames will be hot after crashing to their first loss, doused 4-0 by Bingera two weeks ago.
The sky could be the limit for Across The Waves when they host Sunbury Blues at 7pm, while cellar dwellers SC Corinthians head to Villa Park to meet Doon Villa.
In the Wide Bay Women’s League, ATW clash with Sunbury at 6.30 pm tonight at Martens Oval, while there are two games at 2 pm tomorrow at the same venue, with UPE opposing unbeaten joint-leaders Fraser Flames, and Diggers eying a hat-trick of wins against last placed Tinana.
After a 4-0 white-wash by Arrows/Athletics in the last round two weeks ago, Waves Cities will be hoping to get their quest for a hat-trick of Bundaberg Division 1 Women’s titles back on track when they do battle with form side Raiders/Rovers at Hinkler Park tomorrow at 7.20 pm.
Earlier at 4.40 pm, Arrows get the chance to bounce back when they cross sticks with All Blacks.
In the Men’s division, premiers Cities I will aim up against Arrows at 6 pm, All Blacks I duel with Raiders/Rovers at 3.20 pm, and All Blacks II and Cities II square off at 2 pm.
Waves Blue will be seeking their first win of the season when they bib up against Natives Aim Hearing Magpies in the Bundaberg Warren Family Homes Division 1 Premiership at 5 pm tomorrow at the Superpark.
Meanwhile, after going down to the Waves Gold juggernaut 47-32 in their last match, there will be no respite for Alloway Blue as tomorrow, they duel with second placed Brothers Hurricanes at 6.30 pm.
Bundaberg trainer Lyn Petersen and part-owner, her husband Merv, took out the 1200m Benchmark 55 Handicap in Rockhampton yesterday with promising three-year-old filly Toy Blaze.
But they had to settle for close seconds with their other two runners on the day, Toy Blaze’s older half-brother Toy Whitty in the Class 1, and Tontein in the 1500m Benchmark 55 Handicap.
All three horses were having their first starts since February.
The siblings are a great-great-grand daughter and son of Toy Show, which won eight races in a glittering career for the late training icon Tommy “TJ” Smith, including the 1975 Golden Slipper and One Thousand Guineas, and 1976 Newmarket Handicap.
Toy Blaze, which is by Daunting Lad, now boasts 2 wins, 4 seconds and 1 third from 9 starts, including an imposing 2 wins, 2 seconds and 1 third from 5 races at Callaghan Park.
Rifle Man, which had been beaten by a massive 17.25 lengths into third place in the Bundaberg Maiden 1000 Heats on debut on 11 April, improved at his second start to be a run-away winner for Bundaberg trainer Lorraine Isles in Maiden at Thabeban Park on Monday.
But the feature Queensland Bred Final was dominated by out-of-towners with hot favourite Garfunkel ($1.80) notching his sixth victory in nine starts for Takura owner/trainer David Plummer, with Off Break and Not Allowed filling the minor placings for their respective trainers Darren Taylor (Bouldercombe) and Ron Brook, also of Takura.
Darren and Ron were also among the winners on the program, with Double Espresso (Novice Non-Penalty) and Not Alone (Uncle Rusty’s Photos 5th Grade) respectively.
Four other District trainers were also victorious on the day, Garry Cluse with Tiffany Twisted in the TAB 5th Grade, Narelle Mulcahy with Winlock Bluey, which snapped a 14-race losing streak in the Endeavour Foundation 5th Grade, John White with Burn Out at just her second outing since a seven-month spell in the Mixed 3rd/4th Grade, and Louise Cameron with 96-race veteran Ragin’ Comet in the Masters 5th Grade.
Ragin’ Comet, which won a Ballarat Maiden on debut back in June 2019, recorded just her fifth victory, ending a 32-race losing streak dating back to 28 June last year.
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