Gazzard gives Easts edge as the Magpies prepare to swoop

EASTS v WALLAROOS: Easts' Caleb Gazzard playing against Wallaroo's at Salter Oval on 16 August, 2014. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
EASTS v WALLAROOS: Easts' Caleb Gazzard playing against Wallaroo's at Salter Oval on 16 August, 2014. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet

EXPERT rugby league commentators say a team's hopes rest on four players - fullback, halfback, five-eighth and hooker - and for its A-grade semi-final against Brothers tomorrow night, Easts have the luxury of not only the best hooker in the competition, but the best player.

Wearing number nine will be the 2014 Bundaberg Rugby League A-grade player of the year, Caleb Gazzard, who is ready to keep Easts' eight-game winning run going.

This season has been Gazzard's first in Bundaberg but the 20-year-old rake has played at Salter Oval before.

After learning the game with the Coffs Harbour Comets, Gazzard made the trip north with the Under-16 New South Wales Country team and beat Queensland 26-18 in 2010 in a team that featured South Sydney's Sam Burgess.

Gazzard was drawn to rugby league because of its toughness and he shows plenty of that quality in the middle of the field. He said there was no expectation he would win an award after playing a few games he thought could have been better.

"I was pretty shocked, I didn't think I'd get it," Gazzard said.

"I left the field sometimes (this season) and didn't think I did much."

Winning eight games in a row set Easts up for a final against Brothers and Gazzard was understandably confident of the Magpies' chances and he said the defence was going to be the key to winning and every player at the club was focused on achieving that goal.

After a less-than-impressive month, the Mat Templeman-led Brothers team is looking forward to a couple of handy inclusions.

Coming back are Joel McCrea and Jack Rangeley. Templeman said McCrea especially would add some starch to the defence and potency to the attack.

Templeman said his team was going to have to be at its best tomorrow night. "Easts are a well-drilled team and they have a lot of guys that play U18s together," he said.

"We need to bring the right attitude and lift our intensity."

Isis plays Wallaroos in the elimination final. The chances of Wallaroos driving through Childers on the way to Salter Oval is slim.

Memories of the past two games haunt the Maryborough-based club and any sign that reads Childers, Isis or the Devils is sure to provoke terrible memories.

In the past two meetings of the clubs, Isis won 46-16 and 34-14.

Isis have powerful forwards guided by Simon Ricciardi, crafty halves Tim Cole and Nathan Sullivan and a back line capable of piling on plenty of points.

Topics:  bundaberg rugby league sport

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