By Kevin Braysher
The Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears will be looking for a more consistent performance when they host the Wynnum Manly Seagulls on Saturday afternoon.
Last weekend the Bears trailed by ten points at the break with a completion rate of roughly 50%. It mirrored a similarly error riddled first half the previous week where they trailed 16-0 at halftime against Townsville.
They were able to turn things around in the second half against Souths Logan to secure a comfortable win, but against an in-form Wynnum Manly another slow start could be the difference between winning and losing.
“We’re still a team that needs to be evolving – we’re not set and forget,” Bears coach Jimmy Lenihan said. “There are a lot of things we’ve got to look to improve on.
“Once we can control the ball a lot better, I think our consistency and how we perform will straighten out.
“We’re still learning our shapes, we’re still trying to get a good consistency with that and when we start gelling with that, we’ll come away with more consistency overall.”
While they have been patchy in stages in recent weeks, when they have got it right the Bears have been extremely impressive in 2019.
They are averaging 28 points a game, their goal-line defence has been excellent throughout and several individuals have produced stand out performances.
Few were more eye-catching than Jai Whitbread, who produced arguably his best performance in a Bears jersey after moving to lock last weekend.
The 21-year-old made 26 tackles, ran for 153 metres, broke 9 tackles, made two line breaks and crashed over for a crucial second half try in an outstanding 63 minute performance.
Fellow Titans contracted player Jesse Arthars continued his stellar season with 140 running metres, a line break and a try-assist while ever reliable Bears Luke Page and Jamal Fogarty had significant hands in the win as well.
Lenihan has named an unchanged side to take on the Wynnum Manly Seagulls, who have started the season with four wins and one loss to sit in third spot just ahead of the Bears.
The Seagulls have the second-best defensive record in the competition at the moment and with experienced heads such as Sam Scarlett and Mitch Cronin along with young-gun Tom Dearden all firing they are no slouches in attack either.
In addition to competing for the two competition points, the Adam Watene (Cook) trophy will again be on the line in memory of the beloved former Bear and Seagull.
Watene was a player at both clubs and was a premiership winner at Burleigh in 2004. Every year the clubs contest the trophy named in his honour.
Kick-off in the Intrust Super Cup Round 6 clash between the Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears and the Wynnum Manly Seagulls is this Saturday at 4pm at Pizzey Park.
The game will be live streamed on BearsTV and the link is available from the Burleigh Bears social media pages.
Other games at Pizzey Park this Saturday include the Bears Mal Meninga Cup side who will take the field for the last time this year when they take on the Seagulls at 12.45pm.
The Colts will follow at 2.15pm, while the SEQW side take on Toowoomba at 5.45pm straight after the Intrust Super Cup battle.
On Sunday the Rugby League Gold Coast sides head to Owen Park to take on the Tigers. Under 20s kick off at 11am, reserve grade at 12.30pm while the undefeated A Grade take the field at 2pm.