The Rugby Union faithful should get a good look at Matt Tanner’s skills tonight.
The Rugby Union faithful should get a good look at Matt Tanner’s skills tonight. Max Fleet

League dynamo finding his feet

HE is one of Bundaberg Rugby League’s most dynamic attacking weapons, but now Matt Tanner is preparing to make his mark on the NewsMail Spring Cup Rugby Union final series.

The speedy centre has been suiting up for the East Coast Buccaneers this season, but coach Stewart Milowski said his potential was beginning to shine through.

“Matt’s starting to learn the game a bit better; he knows how to read the play a bit now,” Milowski said.

Tanner, a Queensland Country representative in rugby league, is just one of the league players to make the crossover to rugby union during the off-season.

He has become a dangerous weapon on the Buccaneers backline that led the way in last week’s thrashing of Isis Crushers at Across the Waves Sports Grounds.

And opposition coaches are beginning to take notice.

“They have some quality backs that are very dangerous anywhere on the field,” he said.

“I think they’ve struggled to get all their players there each week, but I think they have all their players this weekend.

“They’ve got those players who have come over from rugby league and they aren’t just guys who fill in the numbers; they are guys that are very dangerous in league.”

That is a warning sign for Barbarians, the Buccaneers’ opponents in this weekend’s semi-finals.

But Milowski knows the key to winning the match, which will set up a date against the winner of the second semi-final, will be controlling possession.

“We need to control the ball and give those guys opportunities,” he said.

For Barbarians, the task will be matching up in defence against the potent Buccaneers.

“It’s all about making those first-off tackles. If you make them then that limits the other team,” coach Nathan Williams said.

Barbarians are clearly the more structured team of the two, but the Buccaneers attacking prowess will ensure they are never out of the game.

Meanwhile, Isis Crushers coach Wayne Cook has all but eliminated his team’s chances of advancing through this weekend’s match against Alloway Falcons.

Winless throughout the season, Cook said his side would be “playing for fun” in the elimination semi-final.

“That’s been the case all season. It’s just preparing for next year,” he said.

The winner of that match will meet Hervey Bay Mariners.

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