Final spot still up for grabs in Bundaberg Rugby League
RUGBY LEAGUE: An improved performance from Wallaroos was not enough for the team to get past Across the Waves in Saturday afternoon's Bundaberg Rugby League round 15 fixture.
The Bundaberg side defeated Wallaroos 26-20.
Despite the scoreline, coach Peter Waters was pleased with the effort of his team.
"It was an improvement on our past few performances,” he said.
Wallaroos were bolstered by the return of halfback Luke Waters from injury.
"Luke made a big difference, not just with the ball but his leadership all over the park,” Waters said.
The loss by the Maryborough side ensured the top three positions for semi-finals had been decided, with Past Brothers finishing as minor premiers and ATW and Eastern Suburbs locking down positions two and three.
In the other fixture on Saturday evening, Past Brothers proved too strong for the Eastern Suburbs Magpies winning 24-20.
Only position number five is undecided for the final series, with the Hervey Bay Seagulls and Western Suburbs Panthers vying for the spot.
Coincidently the teams play each other next week in the last round of the competition with the winner progressing to play Wallaroos in the knockout semi-final.
Seagulls coach Fair Sami knows his team will be up to the challenge.
"We have a really good chance of winning the match and making the finals,” he said.
It is a positive turn around for the club after finishing with the wooden spoon in 2018.
"I gave the team the week off last week to freshen up,” Sami said.
"If we come with the right attitude we can win and restore some pride in the club.”
When the teams last met in round 10 it was a 32-20 victory to Seagulls.
"We beat them last time and I know we can do it again,” Sami said.
Wallaroos' position on the ladder is locked in and will not change with a win or a loss next week against Brothers.
"It is a bit of a nothing game for us, but it gives me an opportunity to trial a few things before the final,” Waters said.
For Waters, the main concern is that no players pick up injuries before the finals.
"Fingers crossed we get through unscathed,” he said.
The final match of round 16 will be a dress rehearsal for the finals when the Eastern Suburbs Magpies playing ATW.
Round 15 results have ensured the final round will decide whether Hervey Bay Seagulls or Wallabys will play Tannum in the first week of the finals.
On Saturday, Hervey Bay proved too strong for Wallabys, defeating the Gladstone team 22-12. The win placed Seagulls on 14 points with Wallabys a point behind Tannum, who currently sit in second position.
Wallabys and Tannum play each other in the final round and Wallabys will need to win to gain the second chance in the finals.
The Seagulls have a harder task when they play reigning premiers and competition leaders Past Brothers next Saturday.
If Seagulls lose they will play Waves in the knockout semi-final in the first week of the finals.
Seagulls coach Paul Doherty believes the team can beat Brothers and earn a spot in the top three.
"When we play at our best we can beat any team in the competition,” he said.
"We have to ensure we keep our positive attitude going and we will go well.”
"We have beaten Brothers before and we can do it again.”
Doherty says line speed and defence will prove the difference between a win and a loss.
"We will certainly be going out and giving it our best shot,” he said. "Whatever the result, I am confident the team can go all the way this season.”
The match will kick off next Saturday at 1.30pm at Salter Oval, Bundaberg.