Hervey Bay Seagulls secure semi spot in BRL A grade comp
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Hervey Bay Seagulls are the redemption story of the Bundaberg Rugby League season.
After starting the season with concerns about the continued sustainability of the club, all senior teams are through to the Bundaberg Rugby League semi-finals.
On Saturday afternoon the A-grade men's side secured the fifth and final semi-final spot with their 30-28 win over Wests Panthers.
After finishing the 2018 season with the wooden spoon, it is the feel-good story of the competition.
Club president Gry Togo could not hide his pride when discussing the turnaround of the club.
"I am so proud of where we are now as a club to where we were at the start of the season,” Togo said.
"I have nothing but love for the players, and to have all four grades into the finals is fantastic.”
Coach Fai Sami shared the sentiments of his president after the A-grade win.
"It was a tough match and there was nothing in it,” he said.
"We just wanted it more and it showed in the last 10 minutes of the match.”
In other A-grade results, Wallaroos upset minor premiers Past Brothers at Eskdale Park with a 38-16 scoreline.
Both teams were missing players but the result has blown the upcoming final series wide open.
Wallaroos coach Peter Waters believes any of the semi-final sides are capable of winning the competition.
"It is wide open and it proves any team is beatable,” he said.
Waters was pleased with the defensive effort of his whole team.
"To keep Brothers to 16 points was an outstanding effort,” Waters said.
He was also quick to praise his right side edge in attack.
"Luke Waters and Brandon Law dominated on our right side and it goes well for the semifinals,” he said.
In the final A-grade match of the round, Across the Waves won in a close match over the Eastern Suburbs Magpies 22-20.
The teams will meet again in the first week of the finals to determine who plays Past Brothers in the major semi-final.
The competition breaks for a week before the semi-finals commence on Saturday, August 24.
BRL chairman Mike Ireland believes the race for the premiership in all grades is wide open.
"Any team can win across all grades, it makes for an exciting final series,” he said.
A shortened game between Past Brothers and Hervey Bay Seagulls, due to a player being injured, was enough for the Hervey Bay side to go through to the qualifying semi-final against Tannum Sands.
Past Brothers were awarded the win over Hervey Bay due to their 16-8 lead at the time the match was called off.
The Hervey Bay side finished on 14 points on the table alongwith Wallabys women, but their better points differential moved them into third position.
In the other A-grade women's matches, Waves proved too strong for Valley/Roosters at 34-4, and Tannum easily accounted for Wallabys 26-0.
The final series will commence with a knock-out semifinal between Wallabys and Waves while Tannum and Hervey Bay will play the qualifying final for the right to face Brothers in the major semifinal.