The Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears have started their season with a narrow loss after being unable to run down the Norths Devils at Bishop Park.
The Bears trailed 26-6 with just under 30 minutes left in the game, before a quick-fire double from Troy Leo got them back in the contest.
A Jesse Arthars try with six minutes remaining brought them within four points, but a late penalty goal to the Devils halted the Bears momentum as they suffered their fourth consecutive loss at the hands of Norths.
“I thought we played the majority of the first half fairly well and then fell away with probably ten minutes to go in the first half,” Bears coach Jimmy Lenihan said.
“Then in the start of the second half I thought we weren’t real flash and gave ourselves too much to do to finish the game.
“We certainly tried hard, but you don’t get rewarded for trying alone so next week we’ve got to work a lot harder to make sure our effort comes out and gets a win.”
With a strong wind behind them it was the Devils who scored first, when Herbie Farnworth brought down a short-range bomb to score in the corner.
Hayden Schwass scored Burleigh’s first try of the season in the 22nd minute when he ran a hard line off Pat Politoni, giving the Bears a 6-4 lead.
The Bears seemed to grab the ascendancy in the following minutes, but a loose pass while on the attack led to an intercept and a long run from Ethan Bullemor. The set ended with another try from a short kick, this time a grubber for Nixon Putt.
Bullemor himself managed to get his hand to a loose grubber as the halftime siren sounded and gave the Devils a handy 16-6 lead at the break.
It took just five minutes after the restart for the Devils to extend the lead, this time through Paul Ulberg, while Farnworth completed his double in the 52nd minute to give the home side a 20-point lead.
It was a big day for Farnworth, who scored twice and slotted four conversions for a personal tally of 16 points, while Nixon Putt was also a stand out for the home side.
The Bears fight back started in the 60th minute, when the Devils coughed up the ball close to their own line.
Burleigh fired it out to the left wing where Troy Leo had enough pace to run around the outside and score in the corner.
Four minutes later, the Burleigh left side sprung into action again, with some quick passing putting Leo in space 40 metres off his own line.
The speedster found his way into the back field, turned one defender inside out and carried two over the line with him to cut the margin down to 10.
Some improv footy in the 74th minute led to space on the right, with Jesse Arthars finishing the movement in the corner. Jamal Fogarty converted from the sideline, but it was too late, as the Bears would fall six points short.
This was Burleigh’s 500th fixture in the Intrust Super Cup, a milestone they will celebrate when they return to Pizzey Park to take on the Ipswich Jets next Saturday at 4pm.
Earlier in the day the Bears Mal Meninga Cup side drew 38-38 with the Devils, while the Hastings Deering Colts also drew with the Devils, 24-24.
Norths Devils 28 (Herbie Farnworth 2, Nixon Putt, Ethan Bullemor, Paul Ulberg tries Herbie Farnworth 4 goals) def Burleigh Bears 22 (Troy Leo 2, Hayden Schwass, Jesse Arthars tries Jamal Fogarty 3 goals) at Bishop Park. f