The Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears will face their greatest test of the season so far when they take on the undefeated Sunshine Coast Falcons this Sunday.
Sunshine Coast have set the standard in 2019 with their 11-straight wins already the second-best start to a season in Intrust Super Cup history.
Everything has clicked for the Falcons this year, amassing 446 points at an average of 40 per week, including a 72-4 drubbing of Souths Logan and a 62-8 win over Ipswich last week.
They have established themselves as competition favourites, but it has been the Bears who have been quietly building momentum over the last two months.
Having won seven games in a row on the back of the competition’s best defence (conceding an average of just 11 points a game) and some outstanding attack of their own, the Bears are perhaps the team best positioned to hand the Falcons their first defeat.
Bears back-rower Jacob Hind, who is a former Sunshine Coast player, said starting well will be important given how many teams the Falcons have blown away in the early exchanges.
“I think this is a challenge we’ve been looking forward to for the last couple of weeks,” he said.
“Hopefully we can get out there and match it early with them. We’ve just got to go out there and do a lot of the little things and try to compete early and if we’re in the game after 20-25 minutes we’ll be happy, and we’ll see what happens from there.”
A relaxed Bears coach Jimmy Lenihan said the pressure is on Sunshine Coast to keep winning, not on the Bears to be the team to beat them.
“At the moment I don’t think anyone can keep Sunny Coast under 50, so if we get beat 48-0 we’ll take that as a win,” he said jokingly.
“There is no real pressure on us. We go there to have a free slap at Sunny Coast and see where we are after that. It will be more about how we perform defensively against a really good side.”
Lenihan has named an unchanged 17 for the top-of-the-table clash, which kicks off at 2.30pm this Sunday afternoon at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
BearsTV will live stream the game.
Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears
1 Kurtis Rowe 2 Troy Leo 3 Sami Sauiluma 4 Brenko Lee 5 Tyronne Roberts-Davis 6 Josh Rogers 7 Jamal Fogarty 8 Luke Page (c) 9 Pat Politoni 10 Jack Buchanan 11 Hayden Schwass 12 Jacob Hind 13 Sam Coster 14 Dylan Phythian 15 Josh Ailaomai 17 Jeff Lynch 18 Darius Farmer
Coach: Jimmy Lenihan fff