Youth driving the Seagulls' season
LEAGUE: Hervey Bay coach Alan Ezzy has credited the club's youngest players after the Seagulls won its first game of the year last week.
Five-eighth Ben Keelty kicked a 73rd minute to seal a remarkable come-from- behind 17-16 win against Maryborough Brothers.
The win was the Seagulls' first since August 5, 2017 - 309 days ago - when they sealed the Bundaberg Rugby League minor premiership with a 38-24 win against Waves Tigers.
A lot has changed in the BRL since then, as Hervey Bay has spent the year rebuilding after a mass exodus of players.
That's not a bad thing, according to coach Ezzy.
It gave the Seagulls an opportunity to not only give players affiliated with Burnett Cutters a chance to play footy after the club's application to rejoin the Northern Districts Rugby League was rejected, but has given no fewer than eight under-18s players a taste of A-grade.
"We've been using a lot of young players and they've gone really well,” Ezzy said.
"(The win) has given us a lot of confidence.”
The happier outfit will play at Stafford Park tonight, their third of four home games this season, against league leaders Waves Tigers.
Waves were untouchable before last week's 20-all draw with Wests Panthers.
They scored 162 points and conceded just 18 in three weeks of top-quality footy that stamped its position as favourites.
The draw shouldn't upset Antonio Kaufusi's side too much, as the Tigers, who will be led around the park by former Seagulls captain and Bundaberg rep halfback Clinton Horne, try to keep their place atop the table.
Horne is second on the BRL's point-scoring leaderboard on 72 points (four tries, 28 goals), just two points behind Panther James Prichard.
He is joined in the Tigers ranks by fellow former Seagulls Billy Stefaniuk (eight tries, seventh overall) and Chris Robinson-Ford.
Ezzy will mix up his side, with prop and captain Steven Dwyer named to start in the centres.
It is a purely attacking move, as the Tigers boast one of the biggest forward packs in the competition.
Wallaroos play Easts at 4.45pm, before Hervey Bay faces Waves at 6.30pm.