Turtles recruit from sidelines
UNLIKE their reptile namesakes, the Bundaberg Turtles showed speed and plenty of fang as they continued their domination of the Bundaberg All-Safe Spring Cup with a 41-14 blitz of Alloway Falcons on Friday night.
Captain/coach and five-eighth Luke Cummins, who was also among the try scorers, said they stuck their necks out and really came out of their shells in the fifth-round clash, after “the first 10 minutes or so was try for try”.
The mercurial playmaker said, with a string of players unavailable, they were on the verge of having to forfeit 20 minutes before kickoff, when they had “seven players in the dressing sheds”.
“All of the Tanners were away at the Indigenous Reconciliation Rugby League Carnival, and with a few others also out, we had to drag a couple of players out of the crowd, and we had 14 at the scheduled kick-off and eventually a full team with one or two on the bench,” Cummins said.
Outside centre Danny Moran crossed for two tries, but Cummins, who was a driving force behind East Coast Buccaneers’ domination of the Bundaberg and District Rugby Union from its inception in 2002 before hanging up his boots in 2007 but has come out of retirement to be a main man in the reborn Turtles’ revival, said their best on the night was inside centre Matt Templeman who also notched one try.
Templeman, who formerly won a Queensland Rugby League Cup premiership with Souths Logan Magpies, represented the Queensland Rangers in rugby league this year and also was a major contributor to Brothers’ Bundaberg Rugby League A-Grade premiership last month.
“Also Jessie Tass, who can play anywhere at wing, fullback or centres and does the job, was also very good – he has played for the Mackay Canecutters rugby league, but he heard about the Turtles and has made the migration to Bundaberg – he is another convert who has adapted quite well to the game,” Cummins said.
The forwards laid a strong platform and Cummins said they were well led in the engine room by Adam David and Steve Andrews.
“But I couldn’t single anyone out – we have had a new forward pack every game – we have rotated them and they are all doing well and having a real go – as a pack, we are not great technically but they have plenty of heart and are having a go,” he said.
Unbeaten in five matches and with an imposing points’ differential of 137, they are now on 23 points, 13 clear of Isis Crushers who bounced back from their 67-17 mauling by the Turtles a week ago to outgun West Barbarians 45-27.
The Turtles are virtually assured of the minor premiership but Cummins admits it will be a whole new ball game when the Fraser Coast Mariners join the Bundaberg sides on Friday week for the last five rounds.
“The Mariners are a lot more technical than us – we will be definite underdogs – they won the competition last year and it’s going to be good playing against them and we’re looking forward to it,” he said.
Bundaberg Turtles 41 (Peni, Steve Andrews, L Cummins, M Templeman, D Moran 2 tries; B McKeown 3 conversions) d Alloway Falcons 14 (M Devitt, Quade McGrory tries, B Cox, D Baillie conversion)
Isis Crushers 45 (J Thompson, Elisha, unknown others tries, J Rowan 2 conversions.) d West Barbarians 27 (R Patmore 2, J Ely 2, V Canolle tries, G Sherbourne 1 conversion).