Past Brothers will contest their fourth straight Bundaberg Rugby League Bundaberg Broadcasters A Grade Premiership Grand Final tomorrow at 6 pm.
They hit the front for the first time with a Matt Craven conversion with 2 min 30 sec to go in the second five-minute half of extra-time, then held on to beat a gutted Waves Tigers 16-14 in the Preliminary Final at Salter Oval on Saturday night.
All players played their hearts out for 90 minutes, but the best player on the field was undoubtedly Waves 17-year-old rising superstar Brisbane Broncos contracted winger Tom Morcom, who scored two spectacular long-range tries in a superb all-round performance.
Brothers will now meet West Panthers in the decider.
Brothers also defeated South Burnett 20-14 in the U18 Preliminary Final with two tries to centre Mitchell Sly, who doubled up to have a fine game on the wing in A Grade, but after also being Minor Premiers in Reserve Grade, Brothers bowed out with a 32-12 loss to West with winger Kade Forrester bagging two tries for the Panthers.
In Junior Preliminary Finals, Waves outgunned Wallaroos 52-4 in U16 with five-eighth Preston Walsh racking up a massive 28 points with three tries and eight conversions, and hooker Riley Maule crossing twice, setting up a grand finale against Bundaberg Brothers.
West edged out Wallaroos 30-26 in U15 with a pair of tries each to centre Darius Freeman and front rower Lael Lampton, and they will now clash with Waves.
In U14, East Magpies booked a final berth against Seagulls with a 24-18 triumph over Maryborough Brothers, while in U13, it will be an all-Bundaberg Brothers affair between their Blue and White sides after Blue progressed at the expense of West 30-16, with two tries and three conversions to lock Kaleb Mauloni, and two four-pointers to captain and front rower Harry Elphinstone.
In A Grade, West Panthers have been in the Grand Final wilderness since completing back-to-back titles with a 42-28 victory over Isis Devils nine long years ago, and two of their try scorers on that glorious day, brothers Josh and Corey Tanner, will again be key men in a blockbuster for the title at Salter Oval tomorrow at 6 pm, with Josh still at his vintage best on the field and Corey as coach, while another of their brothers, Dan, is their co-captain and leader of the pack.
The trio were also integral parts of their 30-12 ambush of Brothers 12 months earlier.
Brothers were minor premiers this year, but it came down to a 24-10 last-round victory over the Panthers to decide that title, and it was Brothers’ only win over the Red and Black juggernaut this year after drawing with them and losing in their first two round games, and also going down to them 22-14 in the major semi-final a fortnight ago.
Brothers have claimed the crown four times during Wests’ drought – in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021.
Apart from a three-year stint with East, Corey has been a pumping heart of West Seniors for 24 years, as a player, coach, and club president, and he has been there through their highs and lows, and he is confident they can go all the way.
“Chris Robinson has returned from injury and will replace Connor Yeats at fullback, and our preparation was good,” Corey said.
“The key to us winning is discipline and controlling what we can control – we won’t change much and will play the same way we have played all year – physical controlled football and do the job.”
Brothers coach Andrew Hamilton said they would be bolstered by the return of multiple premiership winning winger Benaiah Kambanei, who missed the Preliminary Final due to injury, and powerhouse second rower Max Shorter, who took out the Les Somerville Medal for Player of the Grand Final in Hervey Bay’s stunning 34-14 victory last year but was missing last week due to work commitments, and he declared that they are “Ready!”.
While there are seven changes from their grand final side 12 months ago, Andrew also said that loss had been a “talking point”.
“Also, Matt Craven and Hayden Priestley were in the Easts side that lost to us the previous year, so they know the feeling too,” he said.
Andrew admitted they “didn’t play our best and didn’t play enough footy to get into right places on the field” against the Panthers two weeks ago when they had a 12-1 penalty count against them.
“We were on top the whole first half but we have got to be better disciplined – it is hard to win games if you’ve get 30-40% possession, but I’m sure if we can get 50%, we will be right – it’s always a fierce rivalry against Wests and we have to be ready to go from minute one – if you miss the jump, it’s hard to come back in a grand final.”
Wests will also contest the grand finals in Reserve Grade and Under-15, while Brothers will also be represented in U18, U16, and U13 which will be an all-Brothers affair between their Blue and White teams.
A Grade teams – Wests: 1 Chris Robinson, 2 Noah Law, 3 Israel Power, 4 Bruce Ikamanu, 5 Gage Laird, 6 Clinton Horne, 7 Laish Salam, 8 Dan Tanner ©, 9 Tyson Douglas ©, 10 Ilaiasi Pongi, 11 Zander Kerr, 12 Josh Tanner, 13 Shaun Ezzy, 14 Nick Tanner, 15 Steve Bernstrom, 16 Livimae Liuanga, 17 Viliami Molisi.
Brothers: 1 Matt Craven, 2 Benaiah Kambanei, 3 Tyrell Priestley, 4 Quentin Olive, 5 Tom Kronk, 6 Mitchell Taylor, 7 Bryden Blair, 8 Tyla Hodge, 9 Eden Hess, 10 Wil Simmons, 11 Max Shorter, 12 Luke Stilinovich, 13 Kevin Sherriff, 14 Taylar Barritt, 15 Hayden Priestley, 16 Brad Shorter, 17 Trae Morrice, 18 Mitchell Sly.
Program – 10am: U13 Brothers Blue v Brothers White; 11.15am: U14 Hervey Bay v East Magpies; 12.30pm: U15 Waves Tigers v West Panthers; 1.45pm: Brothers v Waves Tigers; 3pm: U18 Hervey Bay v Brothers; 4.15pm: Reserve Grade Waves Tigers v West Panthers; 6pm: A Grade West Panthers v Brothers.
Preliminary Final results:
PAST BROTHERS 16 (Tom Kronk, Mitchell Taylor, Quentin Ellis tries; Matt Craven 2 goals) d WAVES TIGERS 14 (Tom Morcom 2, Reece Maughan tries; Lachlan Dullaway goal).
WEST PANTHERS 32 (Kade Forrester 2, Connor Yeats, Robert Telfer, Ryan Sharpe tries; Ryan Bugeja 4, Dylan Harradine-Hall 2 goals) d PAST BROTHERS 12 (Nickolas Lorenz, Justin Lewis tries; Jack Munro 2 goals).
PAST BROTHERS 20 (Mitchell Sly 2, Joseph Doyle, Toby Kelly tries; Caio Kerr 2 goals) d SOUTH BURNETT 14 (Jack Webber, Jayden Tewes-Smallwood, Mathaniel Cuthbertson tries; Jayden Tewes-Smallwood goal).
WAVES TIGERS 52 (Preston WALSH 3, Riley MAULE 2, Owen HESS, Boston MARLOW, Locklyn MORGAN, Lachlan CAMPBELL tries; Preston WALSH 8 goals) d WALLAROOS 4
WEST 30 (Darius FREEMAN2, Lael LAMPTON 2, Kyjuan TANNA, Beau MOLO tries; Levi BROUGH 3 goals) d WALLAROOS 26.
EAST MAGPIES 24 (Harrison Candy, Xavier BLAIR, Jayce DE SILVA, Cayde LISTER tries; Billy FROHLOFF 4 goals) d MARYBOROUGH BROTHERS 18
BUNDABERG BROTHERS WHITE 30 (Kaleb MAULONI 2, Harry ELPHINSTONE 2, Cale ANDERSON, Cooper VENZ tries; Kaleb MAULONI 3 goals) d WESTS 16 (Tyreece ROWE 2, Preston JOHNSON, Kobey WALSH tries).
Brothers Bulldogs will meet the unbeaten reigning champions Hervey Bay Bombers in the AFL Wide Bay Senior Men's Premiership Grand Final for the second year in a row tomorrow.
It comes after they upstaged cross-town arch-rivals and hosts Waves Eagles 7.5 (47) to 4.9 (33) in the Semi-Final at Frank Coulthard Oval on Saturday with Rhys Coombe kicking three goals and Jake Goldsmith two.
It was a good day for the Bulldogs after their White side defeated their Red team 4.15 (39) to 2.2 (14) in Under-12, and their Reserve Graders also upset Bay Power 4.6 (30) to 2.5 (17) with two goals each to Zak Mercieca and Peter Henvey, but their Under-17's were well beaten by Waves 8.8 (56) to 1.4 (10).
The Senior Men’s Bombers have not lost a match in over two years, and they outclassed the Bulldogs 14.6 (90) to 7.7 (49) in last year’s decider at Brothers Sports Club, and they will again be white-hot favourites when they take aim at 4.30 pm tomorrow after muzzling the Dogs in their five clashes so far this campaign, 89-19 in the season-opener on 15 April, 84-13 on 6May, 75-31 on 20 May, 104-9 on 10 June, and 95-19 on 15 July.
Hervey Bay will contest five of the six grand finals at their home-ground at NE McLean Oval, also in U14, which will be an all-Bombers affair between their Black and Red sides after Red pipped Power 3.17 (35) to 5.3 (33) in their Semi, and U12 after they whitewash the Eagles 10.2 (62) to 0 in their Semi.
But Power shot down Bombers 4.7 (31) to 3.3 (21) in the Takalvans Senior Women's Premiership to clinch a finale against Minor Premiers and Defending Champions Eagles.
The Eagles’ Women claimed their maiden title with a 38-13 Grand Final beating of the Power in May last year, and while they have lost two games in this first season, which has run parallel to the Men’s competition for the first time, they have had the edge over them again in 2023, thrashing them 84-16 on 15 April, 72-16 on 6 May, 35-9 on 20 May, and 51-7 on 10 June, but Power unplugged Waves’ two-year winning streak 28-18 on 15 July.
Despite only beating Gladstone heavyweights Clinton 1-0 in their Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) Champions League home tie on 1 July, Across The Waves will be favoured when they meet again in their away tie at 6 pm tomorrow.
Locally, Waves put the icing on their McDonald’s FQPL Wide Bay Men’s Championship at home with an 11-1 demolition of cellar dwellers SC Corinthians in their Round 21 clash last Fright night, which also doubled for the annually contested Jimmy Harkness Memorial Trophy, with young gun Preston Cox staking his claim for the Golden Boot with a six-goal haul to move six goals clear of United Park Eagles (UPE) inspirational captain Josh Adcock.
Meanwhile, Bingera and UPE battled out a 1-1 draw, Sunbury Blues defeated Doon Villa 6-1, and Fraser Flames torched KSS Jets 4-0.
Waves have finished on 53 points, with UPE on 45, Bingera 43 and Fraser Flames 37 the other confirmed top four sides.
But there are three games to be played out to complete the home and away season, and UPE must beat the Flames at Fraser Coast tomorrow to clinch second position, because if they draw or lose, Bingera can overtake them with an expected victory over Corinthians at Martens Oval at 5 pm.
In the McDonald’s FQPL WB Women’s League, the out of contention Bingera take on the invincible all conquering Flames at Martens Oval at 8.30 pm tonight, while UPE could also slip one position to fourth as Waves will join them on points and overtake them on goal difference if they are able to beat sixth placed Doon Villa at Martens Oval tomorrow at 5 pm.
Congratulations to Raiders/Rovers on taking out four Bundaberg Hockey minor premierships after last week’s last round of matches, in Division 2 Men and Women, U13, and U11.
In Division 1, the reigning champions added the minor titles to their collection, Waves Cities (Men) and Arrows/Athletics (Women), while All Blacks finished on top in Under-16.
Last week in Division 1, Cities’ Men surged on with a Lachlan McLennan bagging a hat-trick in a 6-0 whitewash of Raiders/Rovers, but their Women were beaten 3-0 with Minka Elliott hammering in two goals for Raiders/Rovers.
All Blacks’ Men accounted for Arrows 2-1, but their Women were shot down 6-0, with Shauna Mark and Bridget Stehbens each striking twice.
Tomorrow, in the Division 1 Women’s, Cities meet All Blacks in the Minor Semi-Final at 2.35 pm, while the two clubs will also do battle in the Men’s Major Semi at 6.35pm.
Raiders/Rovers and Arrows/Athletics will also square off in both genders, a Men’s knock-out match at 3.55 pm, followed by the Women’s qualifier at 5.15 pm.
Raiders Rovers 6 (Eli Crow 1, Levi Kendall 1, Flynn Bock 1, Isabella Wyllie 1, Will Baldry 2) defeated Waves Cities 1 (Lillian Pashley 1)
Arrows Athletics 3 (Amity Hannay 1, Bennett Smith 2) defeated All Blacks (Eamon D’Albret 1)
Raiders Rovers 14 (Ava Baldry 1, Pippa Elliott 1, Adisyn Pyke, 1, Stella Dwyer 1, Ameilia Law 1, Kasey Hopton 1, Ambalea Davies 2, Silvana Powell 2, Molly Crow 2, Courtney Kendall 2) defeated Waves Cities 2 (Lillian Pashley 1, Jeanica Cilliers 1)
Arrows Athletics 5 (Brock Green 1, Edward Rayner 1, Charlie Hammond 1, Hamish Cook 2) defeated All Blacks 0
Raiders Rovers 3 (Beau Kendall 1, Emma Kendall 2) defeated Waves Cities 0
All Blacks 1 (Kalen Wilke 1) drew with Arrows Athletics 1 (Tully Dorgan 1)
Division 2 Men
All Blacks 3 (Aaron Chanoff 1, James Raines 2) defeated Waves Cities 1 (Jonty McMahon 1)
Division 2 Women
Raiders Rovers 4 (Lani Drinnen 4) defeated Waves Cities 2 (Karen McGuire 2)
All Blacks 1 (Zara McDonald 1) defeated Arrows Athletics 0
Division 1 Women
Raiders Rovers 3 (Olivia Wightman 1, Minka Elliott 2) defeated Waves Cities 0
Arrows Athletics 6 (Eboney Braysher 1, Anna Vicenzotti 1, Shauna Mark 2, Bridget Stehbens 2) defeated All Blacks 0
Division 1 Men
Waves Cities 6 (Matthew Quaite 1, Oliver Baldwin 1, David Wenban 1, Lachlan McLennan 3) defeated Raiders Rovers 0
All Blacks 2 (Bayley Fagg 1, Isaac Wales 1) defeated Arrows Athletics 1 (Tony Cox 1)
Waves Gold signed off on a perfect Warren Family Homes Division 1 Premiership Minor Title with a last-round 69-44 victory over Alloway Blue on the Waves Pink Day for Breast Cancer at the Superpark on Saturday, finishing with the maximum 45 points.
Brothers Hurricanes finished second on 36 points, with Natives Magpies (34) and Alloway Blue (27) rounding out the top four after Hurricanes struck down Waves Blue 59-27, and Magpies weathered Brothers Cyclones 46-18.
Tomorrow at 5 pm, Magpies will be out to swoop on Alloway Blue in the Minor Semi-Final, before Gold and Hurricanes duel for direct passage to the Grand Final at 6.30 pm.