Wests, Brothers and Waves secure first-round BRL wins
A MATCH of the year contender, a typically strong Wests Panthers performance and the start of new era at Waves highlight the first round of Bundaberg Rugby League.
The region's footballers waited six long months to return to the paddock, and they left nothing in the tank in their first hit-out of the season.
Wallaroos V Wests Panthers at Stafford Park, Hervey Bay
The first game of the season pitted the locally-grown Wallaroos against the strong Wests Panthers.
Wests finished third last season, and with many familiar names in the lineup started favourites.
Wallaroos brought a new-look side into the contest, with returning five-eighth Shaun Collins the man to watch.
Roos halfback Luke Waters scored the first try of the season when he regathered a kick, and by half-time the scores were locked at 10-all.
The Panthers' class shone through in the second stanza, and they walked away with the six tries-to-three victory.
WESTS PANTHERS 32 (W Nagas 2, Olive 2, Page, Little tries; J Tanner 4 goals) def WALLAROOS 14 (L Waters, Alberts, Collins tries; Horder goal).
Hervey Bay Seagulls v Past Brothers at Stafford Park, Hervey Bay.
This early match of the year contender certainly lived up to the hype.
Strong performances across the park were punctuated by flashes of brilliance from both sides.
Seagulls flyer Billy Stefaniuk showed his speed to score a try, Brothers centre Bradley Stephen showed his strength to fight off several defenders and break downfield at least twice, and monster Brothers prop Metui Kalekale was unleashed on the competition.
It would be Jake Carl's flash of brilliance that decided the game however, as a sweetly-struck field goal gave his side a one-point win.
A late penalty attempt by Seagulls halfback Clinton Horne added to the drama.
On the downside, several major injuries came out of the clash, with coaches Tye Ingerbrigtsen (Seagulls, shoulder) and Mat Templeman (Brothers, ankle) unable to finish the game.
PAST BROTHERS 13 (Filo, Savage tries; Carl 2 goals; Carl field goal) def HERVEY BAY SEAGULLS 12 (Stefaniuk, Roderick tries; C Horne 2 goals).
Waves Tigers v Easts Magpies at Across The Waves Sports Complex.
The Tigers are back!
After several lean seasons Waves Tigers have returned - in a big way.
The Bundaberg club added plenty of firepower to their side during the off-season, with coach Antonio Kaufusi signing the likes of Sunshine Coast Falcon Reuben Baillie and premiership-winning centre Tien Nguyen.
Baillie made an instant impression on the scoresheet, as he and young speedster Connor Jones scored two tries each.
WAVES TIGERS 30 (Baillie 2, Jones 2, Brosnan, Bainbridge tries; Bainbridge 3 goals) def EASTS MAGPIES 16 (Duffy, Gazzard, Maughan tries; Taylor 2 goals).