The duo who might be the Bombers' lucky charms
AUSSIE RULES: A convert and graduate of Hervey Bay Bombers' junior system may be the club's lucky charms as the Torquay club strives to break the longest premiership drought of the club's 41-year history.
"Nah, I don't think it's got anything to do with me,” former three-time minor premiership-winning Hervey Bay Seagull Chris Wicks said.
Nine Bombers are yet to lose a game this year, but Wicks and Bryce Lewis are the only players to have appeared in five or more AFL Wide Bay games as the club tries to win its first flag since 2013.
Wicks, who only started playing Aussie Rules this season, and young gun Lewis, have each won all nine of the games they have played this year, six of those together.
Both were injured when the injury-affected Bombers lost four straight from rounds five to eight. The only other game without the pair was on April 7, when the Bombers beat Maryborough 45.22-292 - 0.0-0.
Lewis broke his collarbone and suffered a punctured lung in the Bombers' first-up, 78-point win against Across The Waves on March 24.
It rubbed him out of the sport for two months, but the half-back has played nine games (and won nine) since his return in round nine against bitter rival Bay Power.
"After a game I can wake up the next day the shoulder be pretty sore,” Lewis said.
Lewis has played for the Bombers for about eight years, and hopes to convert his junior success to a senior flag.
For Wicks, the opportunity to try the sport came when established Bombers like Jack O'Connell and a few Aussie rules-playing friends talked him into giving it a go.
"They offered me last year and there were a few guys I got along with pretty well,” Wick said. "Jack picked me up one day for training and that was it.
"They have the best culture there. The parents and the kids who come down for games and training, and we're buddied up with the under-14s so we train together every few weeks.
"(The new code) was challenging at the start but once you give away that first penalty you learn pretty quick. The guys have been so helpful but the speed of the game, the transition, blew my mind.”
Cameron Baker has won all four of his games since his mid-season return to the club, while Ben Triffit (three), Albert Doust, Michael Lewis, Todd Baldwin (two each), Justin Frohling and Daniel Drake are the others yet to lose.
A further eight Bombers have won at least 80% of the five or more games they have played this season. Only three players have a winning rate of less than 50 per cent, though they have made a maximum of two appearances.
The Bombers have not won a flag since 2013, but coach Darren Hunter has quietly moulded his side into premiership favourites.
The mid-season lapse is well in the past, and Hervey Bay will gun for its ninth straight win when it hosts second-placed Gympie Cats at Norm McLean Oval on Saturday.
The much-anticipated clash became a battle of the AFL Wide Bay's top two teams after the Cats' 39-point domination of Bay Power last week.
First bounce at 3pm.
THE LUCKY CHARMS
Hervey Bay Bombers (1st, 12-4, 216.44%)
Overall: Won: 12 Lost 4
With Bryce Lewis and/or Chris Wicks: Won: 11 Lost: 0
Without Bryce Lewis and/or Chris Wicks: Won: 1 Lost: 4
Number of Bombers with 100% win-loss records: 9
Number of Bombers with 80+% win-loss records: 17