Missed opportunities plague Fraser Coast league teams
IT WAS a year of missed opportunities for Fraser Coast's rugby league teams but one from which they can build for future success.
Hervey Bay Seagulls and Wallaroos enjoyed varied levels of success, though between the clubs secured three of the four Bundaberg Rugby League minor premierships on offer.
The Seagulls secured their first A-grade BRL minor premiership since 2001, while Wallaroos completed the reserve grade and under-18 double.
In a sign of Fraser Coast's strength all teams made their respective finals, and contributed a team to each of the three male grades' grand finals.
Wallaroos' women's team were knocked out in the first week.
The Seagulls engaged in a spirited rivalry with Past Brothers throughout 2015.
Their games were the most physical of the season, and the top-quality teams - who clearly did not like each other on the field - clashed five times by season's end.
Hervey Bay's 44-10 win in round 19 delivered the minor premiership to Stafford Park, but Brothers avenged the loss to win the grand final 36-24.
Brothers capitalised on the Seagulls' slow start, punishing the minor premiers at every opportunity.
Injured fullback Alex Braun struggled to watch the game unfold from the stands, but he said the loss would serve as motivation to go one better next season.
Braun, the Bundaberg Rugby League Player of the Year, suffered an AC joint injury in the final minutes of Hervey Bay's preliminary final win.
"I just felt so useless up there," he said.
"I couldn't do anything. Every time they made a break or were trying to get points I wanted to be out there with them.
"We'll be much more motivated come next year."
Seagulls winger Billy Stefaniuk topped the try-scoring tally with 27 four-pointers, while Brothers sharpshooter Jake Carl was the BRL's top point-scorer with 238 points.
Wallaroos dominated reserve grade but simply did not show up.
Whatever could go wrong, did go wrong against Wests Panthers, who gladly ran away with a 28-12 win.
"We made far too many mistakes," captain Ivan Collins said. "Maybe the boys were too pumped up."
Hervey Bay came from fifth to qualify for the U18s decider but were no match for the powerful Waves Tigers outfit, who boasted several players with A-grade experience.
The Seagulls needed extra time to beat Wallaroos in the preliminary final, but fell 28-16 in the decider.