Premier rivalry resumes

Isis Devils’ Tim Cole about to snap a pass to a team-mate against Easts.
Isis Devils’ Tim Cole about to snap a pass to a team-mate against Easts. Scottie Simmonds BUNNRL

THE rivalry will be intense when the Hitz FM A-grade Premiership resumes tomorrow after last week's unscheduled lay-day because of the wash-out.

In the first game at Salter Oval, Wests Panthers, who were impressive in beating Waves Tigers in their first outing of the season a fortnight ago, take on Hervey Bay Seagulls, who are coming off a significant win over Wallaroos at home.

Two-time defending premiers Brothers, who have not played since their first-round drubbing of the Seagulls on March 10, will then meet Wallaroos for the first time since the pride of Maryborough ambushed them in the 2009 grand final, 40-38.

But the stakes could be highest at Childers Showgrounds, when the two win-less teams do battle, as Isis Devils host the Tigers.

Devils coach Greg Royan said he was disappointed with discipline in their last-start 38-22 loss to Easts Magpies, but felt they were looking good for their first home game of the year.

"Everyone is nice and refreshed after unfortunately having a week off, and the positive was we got over a couple of niggling injuries," Royan said.

Royan said representative centre Matt Curtis had been outstanding for the club in beaten teams, along with last year's Bundaberg Rugby League Rookie of the Year Zac Dann, at fullback, and halfback Tim Cole.

"I've also been especially pleased with Liam Gooden out in the centres. I've given him the chance this year and he's really taken it on and is grabbing hold and having a real go at it," he said.

"It's a young side and the only experienced players from last year we have got are Simon Ricciardi, Matty Curtis and Dusty Sippel. Tim Cole played halfback as a junior but it's his first year in senior ranks in the position.

"James Bryant has just come into the side to take over from Sully (Nathan Sullivan) at five-eighth."

Royan said the Devils should be at full-strength but for Peter Grant, who is still out with a rib injury, and would welcome back Peter Sippel and Darren Beddows.

The astute mentor has respect for the Tigers but he stressed to his players at Tuesday night's training that because they did not get many home games, when they did they had to make sure they got a win.

"But Waves have recruited real well and have got a good halfback and five-eighth. Marshal Cassady will be a big benefit to them. They have bulked up in the forwards too, and if we go out thinking they will be like last year, we're going to be sorely mistaken," Royan said.

"It's not do or die yet but we really need to have a win to get our confidence up and show the fellas we're capable of scoring tries and winning the game. I think once we get through that barrier, we'll carry on from there."

Topics:  brothers waves tigers wests panthers

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