More than 20 years after bowing out of the Northern Districts Premiership with a 14-4 Grand Final loss to Avondale Tigers, before joining the Bundaberg Rugby League in 2002, Isis Devils will be favourites to complete a perfect comeback season when they take on South Kolan Sharks in the decider at Gary Larson Oval Miriam Vale this Sunday at 2:45 pm.
The Devils won 10 of their 12 preliminary games, losing only to the Tigers twice, 25-24 on 20 May, and 24-18 on 22 July.
They defeated the Sharks in their three meetings so far in 2023, 22-20 in the season-opener back on 26 March, 26-20 on 27 May, and 44-24 on 2 July, when their club junior product rampaging front rower Royce Blair, who took out the Les Somerville Medal for the BRL A Grade Player of the Grand Final for Past Brothers two years ago, led from the front with a double in a signature heavyweight all-round performance, while inspirational captain Zac Dann was also among the four-pointers.
Isis chalked up a massive 436 points in the minor rounds while conceding just 181, and they also whitewashed Avondale 54-0 in the Major Semi-final on the Tigers’ turf at Tegege a fortnight ago.
They also boast the competition’s leading try scorer in centre Chris Wicks, who has racked up 18, double that of the two joint-second-leading try getters, Avondale’s NDRL Player of the Year Jackson Brown, and Sharks’ wrecking ball Phillip Lindsay, and goal-kicking hooker Brent Hass, who is second on the Top Points scorers with 88, just two behind the Tigers’ Brendon McKeown.
The Devils also contain two other 2021 BRL premiership stars for Brothers in Jake Thompson and Tim Cole, and several former Central Burnett Premiership winners.
The Sharks however are also circling in their fifth straight grand final after coming from third position, turning it on at home on Sunday to book their place in the Big Dance, overpowering the Tigers 34-18 in the Preliminary Final, with doubles to front rower Ben Rayner and veteran halfback Darren Broome, who had chalked up four tries in their Minor Semi-final blitz of Gin Gin Hawks a week earlier.
Isis had some great grand final showdowns with South Kolan over the years, defeating them in 1988, and getting home 18-12 30 years ago in 1993, but the Sharks struck against the Devils 22-18 on their home ground at Childers Showgrounds in 1996, before the Devils completed three titles in four years against the Tigers 32-16 in 1997, 30-22 in 1999, and 20-6 in 2000.
Avondale will be out to gain some consolation when they meet Gin Gin in the Slean Cup this Sunday at 12 noon.
Isis will be represented in both Grand Finals this Sunday after their Women’s League Tag outfit booked a place in the Finale at 1.30 pm against two-times defending champions Gin Gin Hawkettes with an upset 18-12 Preliminary Final dispatch of Agnes Water Marlins.
But the Hawkettes, who have lost one game in almost three seasons, going down to Marlins 14-10 on 24 June, are expected to have too many guns after winning all four clashes with the Devils so far, 34-4 on 1 April, 20-4 on 14 May, 28-0 on 10 June, and 20-4 on 16 July, with Gin Gin headed by points machines NDRL WLT Player of the Year Ruby Tobin and Leading Try Scorer Jessica Galea, who has 29 to her credit so far.
Sunday’s program will start at 11am with the Women’s Consolation Final between the Marlins and the win-less Avondale Tigeresses.
Preliminary Final: SOUTH KOLAN SHARKS 34 (Ben RAYNER 2, Darren BROOME 2, Ramiah BOWDEN, Reilly COLE, Joeli ROKOUA tries; Cem ROHDMANN 3 goals) d AVONDALE TIGERS 18 (Jackson BROWN, Brendon McKEOWN, Iosefo TUVERE, Moape TUINUKU tries; Brendon McKEOWN goal).
WOMEN’S LEAGUE TAG
Preliminary Final: ISIS DEVILS 18 (Ana KEHL, Lily BAUER tries; Ana KEHL goal) d AGNES WATER MARLINS 12 (Sophie MORAN, Georgia ABBOTT tries; Sophie MORAN 2 goals).
Waves Tigers coach Antonio Kaufusi admits they are a “bit banged up and bruised” after their 30-6 victory over East Magpies in the Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership Minor Semi-final last week and that they will miss high-class fullback Cody Maughan due to work commitments in their Preliminary Final showdown with Past Brothers at Salter Oval at 3.30pm tomorrow.
Minor Premiers Brothers will be still smarting from their 22-14 loss to West Panthers in the Major Semi-final, when they were on the receiving end of 12-1 penalty count against them.
But Antonio is still confident after defeating the Brethren in two of their three clashes this year, 26-12 on 10th June, and 24-16 on 8th July, and being much below strength in their 34-12 loss to them on 6th May.
Antonio was delighted with how they bounced back from their 24-14 defeat at the hands of the Panthers in the Qualifying Fina to pluck the Magpies when some of their youngest players really stepped up to the plate, notably interchange winger Tom Morcom, and 17-year-old starting back rower Daniel Cavanagh.
Brothers coach Andrew Hamilton said teenage halfback Bryden Blair was their best last week, and he is also confident despite being without flying winger Benaiah Kambanei with a rib injury, although they will be bolstered by the return of Quentin Ellis.
Wests coach Corey Tanner also lauded his side after they outgunned Brothers to also take out the annually contested Mark Halter Memorial Trophy.
He said lethal lock Shaun Ezzy was their Man of the Match in a robust team performance, and that interchange dynamo Steve Bernstrom and uncompromising front rower Isky Pongi “were also solid in the middle”, while two of their young guns were also among the tries, Under-18 winger Noah Law, and fullback and 2023 BRL Rookie of the Year Connor Yeats, who relished his return to A Grade.
Wests have not contested the A Grade grand final since 2014, when they made it back-to-back titles with a 42-28 victory over Isis.
Brothers were also beaten in both the Reserve Grade and Under-18 Major Semi-finals as minor premiers, to Waves 28-26 and Hervey Bay Seagulls 22-18 respectively.
But they will get their second chances in the Preliminary Finals against West and South Burnett, who accounted for East 34-26 and West 38-18 respectively.
Major Sem-final: WEST PANTHERS 22 (Connor YEATS, Noah LAW, Bruce IKAMANU, Tyson DOUGLAS tries; Clinton HORNE 3 goals) d PAST BROTHERS 14 (Bryden BLAIR, Kevin SHERRIFF tries; Matthew CRAVEN 3 goals).
Minor Semi-final: WAVES TIGERS 30 (Cody MAUGHAN, Jensen DEAMER, Brendan GRILLS, Reece MAUGHAN, Thomas MORCOM, Thomas AKERS tries; Lachlan DULLAWAY 3 goals) d EAST MAGPIES 6 (William WALTHALL try; Jayden SMITH goal).
Major Sem-final: WAVES TIGERS 28 (Kale JOHNSON, Jake COROS, Zak SMALE, Alfred NORMAN, Thomas AKERS, Malachi LAW tries; Ethan EVANS 2 goals) d PAST BROTHERS 26 (Matthew COLLIER, Dennis JOHNSON, Jack ROWAN, Daniel FINTER tries; Jack MUNRO 2, Jack ROWAN goals).
Minor Semi-final: WEST PANTHERS 34 (Dylan HARRADINE-HALL 2, Jake EVANS, Kade FORRESTER, Lochlan MODROW, Robert TELFER tries; Dylan HARRADINE-HALL 4, Ryan BUGEJA goals) d EAST MAGPIES 26 (Blake APLITT 3, Christopher GLASSON tries; Jackson PAULSON 3 goals).
Major Sem-final: HERVEY BAY SEAGULLS 22 (Adam KHAN 2, Luke ADAMSON, Boedie DWIGHT tries; Adam KHAN 3 goals) d PAST BROTHERS 18 (Ezekiel MONCKTON 2, Mitchell SLY 2 tries; Ezekiel MONCKTON goals).
Minor Semi-final: SOUTH BURNETT 38 (Lachlan PONDER 2, Jack WEBBER, Jayden TEWES-SMALLWOOD, Bayden ALEXANDER tries; Jayden TEWES-SMALLWOOD 2, Nathan RODERICK goals)
d WEST PANTHERS 18 (Izak COCHRANE, Ryan BUGEJA, Lewis PALELLA tries; Ryan BUGEJA 3 goals).
Major semi-final: BUNDABERG BROTHERS 26 d WAVES TIGERS 14
Minor semi-final: WALLAROOS 28 d HERVEY BAY SEAGULLS 18
Major semi-final: WAVES TIGERS 28 d WEST 16
Minor semi-final: WALLAROOS 22 d HERVEY BAY 12
Major semi-final: HERVEY BAY SEAGULLS 48 d EAST MAGPIES 8
Minor semi-final: MARYBOROUGH BROTHERS 36 d WALLAROOS 22
Major semi-final: BUNDABERG BROTHERS BLUE 22 d BUNDABERG BROTHERS WHITE 14
Minor semi-final: WEST 20 d WAVES TIGERS 10
Brothers Bulldogs warmed up for tomorrow’s AFL Wide Bay Senior Men’s semi-final with Rhys Coombe and Jake Goldsmith kicking five and three goals respectively as they turned on the after-burners with a 7.0 third quarter and a 4.2 last term to turn a 37-31 half-time deficit into a 15.9 (99) to 8.7 (55) last-round drubbing of their hosts Bay Power on Saturday.
But Hervey Bay Bombers remained on track for a second straight unbeaten season with a 12.7 (89) to 4.0 (24) demolition of their hosts Waves Eagles.
The Eagles however flexed their muscle in their Takalvans Senior Women’s title defence with a 7.8 (50) to 2.2 (14) blitz of the Bombers, while cellar dwellers Bulldogs bowed out with a 7.4 (46) to 1.1 (7) beating by Power.
The Eagles will host Semi-final day tomorrow at Frank Coulthard Oval, taking on the Senior Men’s Dogs at 5pm, with honours split between the arch-rivals this campaign, after beating them 51-44 on Anzac Day, and 71-26 on 8th July, but losing to them 100-30 on 27th May. And 55-48 in the penultimate round two weeks ago.
The bumper Semi-finals program starts at 8am with the Under-12 Semi 1 between minor premiers Bulldogs White and Bulldogs Red, followed by the U12 SF2 between Bombers and Eagles at 9.30am, U14 between Bombers and Power at 11am, U17 between Eagles and Bulldogs at 12.30pm, Reserve Grade between Power and Bulldogs at 2pm, and the Takalvans Senior Women’s shoot-out between Power and Bombers at 3.30pm.
Eagles are the Women’s Minor Premiers, with Bombers also finishing on top in Reserve Grade, U17, and U14 in which their Black team was No. 1, with their Red side second.
Across The Waves (ATW) young gun Preston Cox was joined on 26 at the top of the McDonald’s Football Queensland Premier League Wide Bay Men’s Golden Boot standings by United Park Eagles (UPE) inspirational captain Josh Adcock after he bagged another double in their penultimate round 5-0 shut-out of KSS Jets at Martens Oval on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Preston picked up one but the confirmed league Champions suffered a shock 5-3 away loss to fifth placed Sunbury Blues, who in the process, kept their finals hopes alive, while third placed Bingera notched a 4-1 away victory over Doon Villa with a hat-trick to Joel Haack, but SC Corinthians were confirmed as wooden spooners after being blown away by Fraser Flames 6-0 at Martens Oval.
In tonight’s last round, with all matches starting at 8.30 pm, Bingera hosts UPE, and Corinthians take on Waves at ATW FC, in a match which doubles for the Jimmy Harkness Cup, and on the Fraser Coast, Blues suit up against Doon Villa, and Jets will feel the heat against Flames.
All teams except Waves and Doon Villa have catch-up games to play next Saturday.
Last week in the McDonald’s FQPL WB Women’s League, UPE shot down Jets 2-0, and Waves crashed Tinana 3-0, but Bingera succumbed to Doon Villa 5-2.
Tonight, all at 8.30pm, Bingera aim up against UPE at Martens Oval, and down south, Tinana take on Doon Villa, and Jets and Flames turn up the heat.
Lachlan McLennan and Matthew Quaite each chalked up doubles as Waves Cities clinched the Bundaberg Division 1 Men’s Minor Premiership with a penultimate round 5-3 victory over last-placed Arrows/Athletics at Hinkler Park on Saturday, while a 1-all draw with Raiders/Rovers was enough for All Blacks to shore up second position.
Arrows however maintained a seven-point lead over Raiders/Rovers at the head of the Division 1 Women’s table with a 4-1 dispatch of Cities, while Raiders/Rovers took down the Women in Black 3-1.
Tomorrow, it is Cities up against Raiders/Rovers, with their Men at 3.20pm, and Women at 4.40pm, with Arrows to take aim against All Blacks, with their Men at 6.30pm tonight, and Women at 6pm tomorrow.
Arrows Athletics 3 (Bennett Smith 1, Nate Pegg 2) defeated Waves Cities 0
Raiders Rovers 6 (Eli Crow 1, Elijah Grant 1, Flynn Bock 1, Harvey Darr 1, Levi Kendall 2) defeated All Blacks 3 (Eamon D’Albret 1, Brayden Sinnamon 2)
Arrows Athletics 3 (Charlie Hammond 1, Brock Green 2) drew with Waves Cities 3 (Ruby Potter 1, Emily Williamson 2)
Raiders Rovers 12 (Beau Kendall 1, Stella Dwyer 1, Courtney Kendall 1, Silvana Powell 2, Molly Crow 3, Ameilia Law 4) defeated All Blacks 0
Arrows Athletics 3 (Tully Dorgan 3) defeated Waves Cities 0
All Blacks 3 (Tim Wales 1, Kalen Wilkie 2) drew with Raider Rovers 3 (Emma Kendall 1, Madeleine Elliott 1, Silvana Powell 1)
Division 2 Women
Waves Cities 2 (Karen McGuire 2) defeated Arrows Athletics 1 (Michelle Wilson 1)
Raiders Rovers 5 (Kassie Pyke 1, Alana Durrant 2, Reegan Wightman 2) defeated All Blacks 0
Division 2 Men
Raiders Rovers 3 (Bryce Cislowski 1, Riley Howard 2) defeated Waves Cities 1 (Malcolm Lindsay 1)
Division 1 Women
Arrows Athletics 4 (Eboney Braysher 1, Anna Vicenzotti 1, Bridie Stehbens 1, Bridget Stehbens 1) defeated Waves Cities 1 (Milee Flanders 1)
Raiders Rovers 3 (Abby Heffernan 1, Susan Kendall 2) defeated All Blacks 1 (Stacey Ruthenberg 1)
Division 1 Men
Waves Cities 5 (Cooper Bengston 1, Lachlan McLennan 2, Matthew Quaite 2) defeated Arrows Athletics 3 (Jake McCaig 1, Liam Dorgan 1, Harrison Gardiner 1)
All Blacks 3 (Bayley Fagg 1, Isaac Wales 2) drew with Raiders Rovers 3 (Bryce Cislowski 1, Damon Pegg 2).
NETBALL: Saturday was another good day for Waves Gold in the Warren Family Homes Division 1 Premiership at the Superpark, with their three-times defending champions glistening on with a 52-33 win over Brothers Cyclones in their Round 14 stoush, but their Blue side again played second fiddle to Natives Magpies 49-33.
Second placed Brothers Hurricanes also had a good win over Alloway Blue 54-25.
The last competition round tomorrow is also the Waves Pink Day to support breast cancer with a range of fundraising measures.
In Division 1 at 5pm, Magpies and Cyclones will cross swords, and Hurricanes will unleash against Waves Blue, before Gold take to the court against Alloway Blue at 6.30pm.
- Last week's sports report: Tanner brothers help lead West to BRL semi-final