Past Brothers edge Hervey Bay in one-point thriller
JAKE Carl's sweet 73rd minute strike was all that separated Past Brothers and Hervey Bay Seagulls in their clash at Stafford Park.
The Brothers fullback's expertly-timed field goal caught everyone on field by surprise, though a late Seagulls penalty threatened to add one more twist to the season-opening game.
Injuries rocked both sides, with as many as six players forced from the field.
The 48th-minute dismissal of Metui Kalekale gave Hervey Bay a 13-on-12 advantage for the last half hour, but the defending premiers found a way to hold on.
Hervey Bay's Brad Jung described the game as one of the toughest in which he has competed.
Jung suffered a severe knee injury in the corresponding fixture last season, and the 107kg lock said he was happy he got through relatively unscathed.
Jung battled a back injury during the off-season, but said it was of no concern.
"My back's excellent," he said. "I was scared before the game, nervous as hell, but it was good to get through the game.
"They played with 12 men in the second half, and we were down a few men.
"It was good to get through the game though. This time last year I played 56 minutes and sat out for months so I'm rapt to get through it."
Brothers finished the game without halves Andrew Filo and Nathan Sullivan, both of whom left the field with knee injuries.
Captain Kevin Sherriff said it left his side without any direction in the closing stages, but praised Carl's decision to take the extra point.
"I had no idea it was going to happen," he said. "We're lucky we've got him at the back there."
Sherriff said his side would work on defence ahead of next week's clash with Easts Magpies., while Seagulls coach Tye Ingebrigtsen said his focus would be execution in attack.
"We play a lot of structured footy and it wasn't on show tonight which is disappointing," Ingebrigtsen said.
"It doesn't help when blokes are out of position, you can't help that."
Who do you think will win the Bundaberg Rugby League premiership?
This poll ended on 25 March 2016.
Hervey Bay Seagulls
Past Brothers (defending premiers)
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
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).
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 30 (Baillie 2, Jones 2, Brosnan, Bainbridge tries; Bainbridge 3 goals) def EASTS MAGPIES 16 (Duffy, Gazzard, Maughan tries; Taylor 2 goals).