Turaga bags four but Brothers win
EXCITING young centre Joel Turaga crossed for four tries for Wests Panthers but Brothers won the battle in their 4BU/Hitz FM A-grade Premiership clash 46-38 on Saturday.
Coming off their first loss of the season, against Easts Magpies a week earlier, the Brethren were again below strength but they led 24-12 at half-time before staving off the Panthers and handing them their first defeat of the year in an exhilarating end-to-end battle at Salter Oval.
Both teams are now on 10 points, while the Magpies retained third position, continuing their charge by overpowering Hervey Bay Seagulls 34-12.
In Childers, Isis Devils made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season, consolidating fourth place with a 38-22 victory over Across The Waves, who remain without a point to their credit despite again serving it up to a title contender.
Brothers had eight individual try scorers in what their coach Dean Akers described as a “very competitive game”.
“We played well in the first half but we lost our way, and they came storming back. The game was in the balance until five minutes to go when we were lucky enough to get another try,” Akers said.
“We have got to improve. The ability is there but you have got to play for 80 minutes, if not, you are going to struggle.”
Akers said tough and skilful second rower Peni Tuakalae, whom they recently recruited from Tweed Heads, was their Man of the Match in just his third game for the club despite being sent off, charged with a high tackle in the 73rd minute.
Panthers' playmaker Josh Tanner was given his marching orders at the same time. Fullback Tien Nguyen also picked up match points in a return to form by last year's Bundaberg Rugby League Rookie of the Year, while front rower Ryan McLeod led the way up front.
In a new look pack without inspirational captain Cameron Ricciardi, Akers welcomed back premiership front rower Andrew Cooke in his first match of the season.
Anthony Broome, who has transferred to the club, made a strong debut at lock, while Harley Bickey, who they have signed from Mackay Norths, was among the tries off the bench.
Meanwhile, with co-coaches Josh Essex and Josh Garden again pulling the strings in the halves and their defence really aiming up, the Magpies put their stamp on their match by opening up a 16-0 half-time lead.
They went right on with the job with ex-Northern Districts centre Danny Moran, who has been a revelation, bagging a double.