The Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears have continued their run against the Ipswich Jets with a 42-8 thumping at Pizzey Park on Saturday.
They have now won eight of their last nine clashes against the Jets, with the Bears running in eight tries in Saturday’s rout.
The big win was the icing on the cake for the Bears, who spent the day celebrating their 500-game milestone.
It was a jovial scene post-match as former players mixed with the existing group, something coach Jimmy Lenihan actively encourages.
“It’s always important to perform well and it’s always a good thing to have the old and the new mixing together so the players that are currently playing understand who it is they’re playing for and how important it is they play accordingly,” he said.
While the Bears shined in attack, it was a stellar defensive effort that laid the platform.
The Bears were patient in the face of the expansive Jets and held their line under pressure on numerous occasions, particularly early in both the first and second half.
“I think we really focused on their attacking ability,” Lenihan said of their preparation.
“They’re very dangerous with their kicking game and they’ve obviously got a crazy amount of offloads in them, so for us to keep them to one try today was really pleasing.”
Scoring got underway early on, when the Bears spread it wide to Sami Sauiluma on the left-hand side. The big centre was given too much room and he took advantage for the first try.
Scores remained tight at 4-0 for most of the first half, before Burleigh’s big bench came on and caused havoc.
Josh Ailaomai crashed over from close range in the 28th minute, before Jai Whitbread sliced through shortly after.
The big man was cut down close to the line, but shortly after the space was created for Troy Leo who scored in the left corner.
Whitbread was rewarded for his earlier line break in the 39th minute when some nice footwork at the line saw him score under the posts as halftime sounded.
When Jesse Arthars crossed just two minutes after halftime the Bears were in a commanding position, before the Jets mounted a bit of a fightback.
They controlled field position for the following ten minutes, but only managed to come away with two-points from a penalty goal.
A Jamal Fogarty 40/20 in the 53rd minute was the killer blow as it led directly to Jesse Arthars’ second try, which snuffed out any hope of a comeback.
On the following short kick-off, Anthony Don plucked the ball from the air and raced 60 metres to put the game beyond doubt.
Don, who made his name scoring tries at the Bears before being signed by the Titans, showed the Pizzey Park faithful what they have been missing by scoring his second try off a Dylan Phythian kick five minutes later.
Julian Christian crossed for a consolation try in the 74th minute, but it did little to improve a one-sided scoreboard.
Bears captain Luke Page left the field with a head knock in the final minutes. Lenihan said he will be monitored in coming days.
Earlier in the day, the Bears picked up a 16-14 win in the Mal Meninga Cup as well as a 42-6 victory in the Hastings Deering Colts to complete a huge day at Pizzey Park.