FEND OFF: Easts' Matthew Ross powers through Past Brothers players as he tries to score at Salter Oval.
FEND OFF: Easts' Matthew Ross powers through Past Brothers players as he tries to score at Salter Oval. Brian Cassidy

Magpies claw through to the finals

LEAGUE: "I'm not going to settle for anything less than a top-four appearance.”

When Mick O'Sullivan signed up to be coach of Eastern Suburbs last year he promised the club would be in the finals in his first season as coach.

Fast forward less than 10 months, his dream is a reality.

Easts' long finals wait was finally over on Saturday after the side defeated Past Brothers 30-24 at Salter Oval.

The side qualified for the Bundaberg Rugby League A-grade for the first time since 2014 and finished fourth at the end of the regular season.

"It feels really amazing, full credit to the boys, we've trained hard for the past two months,” a jubilant Easts captain Justyn Porter said.

"I really love my club.

"We're lucky enough to bring some talented players to the club (this season).”

But Porter and Easts almost didn't get to celebrate.

The side dominated the first 60 minutes, scoring 30 of 34 points after Brothers opened the scoring to lead 30-10.

Easts' Matt Ross scored a double as he was joined by four other Magpie players with tries.

They looked home but Past Brothers had other ideas.

The Brethren scored three tries in 10 minutes to close the gap to six with four minutes to go.

But time beat the defending premiers as Easts held on.

"The execution in the first 60 was great,” Porter said.

"At the end of the game, full credit to Brothers, they came out and they ended up putting it on top of us but we held on.”

Porter admitted the side got nervous as well but was able to calm everyone down to settle in the end.

The side now plays Wests in the first week of the finals and head into the clash as the in-form team in the competition with six straight wins.

"I think we've beaten all teams this year,” he said.

"We'll just continue to do what we are doing.

"But definitely we're coming for the trophy, so you can hopefully see us in the final.”

Dejected Past Brothers captain Kevin Sherriff said Easts were too good for them on the day.

"Credit to Easts, they put it on us nice and early,” he said.

"Performance wise, we didn't complete. We just know we were better than what we turned up with tonight.

"We tried to come back there but fell short.”

Sherriff said the season was a success despite no finals for the club for the first time in over a decade.

But he said the club should start planning for next year now.

"Our job over the off season is to get everyone of the boys on the part tonight back next season,” Sherriff said.

"If we can keep those boys on the paddock we'll go a long way to being successful.”

TABLE AFTER ROUND 16 - Wallaroos 24, The Waves 23, Isis 20, Easts 20, Wests 19, Past Brothers 16, Maryborough Brothers 3, Hervey Bay 3.