A late try to Josh Rogers was the pivotal moment as the Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears beat the Norths Devils 26-12 at Pizzey Park.
With 15 minutes to go and the Bears holding on to a two-point lead, Rogers came off the bench and took the line on from first receiver.
He burst through the defence and beat the fullback to score a try that broke the back of the visitors and ensured the Bears would beat the Devils for the first time since 2016.
Rogers has been a breakout star for the Bears in 2019, with his continued good form earning him a spot on the bench despite regular starting five-eighth Dylan Phythian returning from injury in recent weeks.
Phythian was also strong, especially with his early kicking game, and coach Jimmy Lenihan praised the ability of both men to provide what the team needs at different stages of the contest.
“(Josh) is digging into the line really nicely and at the moment when the game gets a bit frayed it’s nice to chuck on a ball-player who is a bit clinical,” he said. “Josh is able to straighten us up and get a bit of control back into our game. It’s working nicely at the moment; we’ve just got to keep it going.”
Norths were first on the scoreboard with a 7 th minute penalty goal, but it was Burleigh who had the better of the opening exchanges, running in tries in the 14 th and 25 th minute.
First it was Jacob Hind who dove on a well-placed Dylan Phythian grubber kick, before Sami Sauiluma muscled over with brute force to score from close range.
The Devils had won the last four encounters between the two sides and managed to turn the game in their favour approaching halftime.
Troy Dargan was outstanding at halfback and was rewarded with an opportunistic kick-and-chase try in the 34 th minute, bringing the Devils within a converted try at the break.
They came out swinging in the second half as the game descended into an arm wrestle, closing the gap to just two points when a pin-point Dargan kick sent Paul Uhlberg over in the
With the game ripe for the taking, it was Rogers who delivered in the 65 th minute, taking the line on with a big dummy and surging into the backfield to score the crucial try.
An Oliver Percy try in the 73 rd minute sealed Burleigh’s eighth win in their last nine games.
The Bears return to action in two weeks, when they travel to Ipswich to face the Jets.
Burleigh Bears 26 (Jacob Hind, Sami Sauiluma, Josh Rogers, Oliver Percy tries) def Norths
Devils 12 (Troy Dargan, Paul Uhlberg tries Connor Broadhurst 2 goals) at Pizzey Park