By Kevin Braysher
Burleigh Bears are one win away from their fifth consecutive SEQW Division 1 premiership thanks to a 14-6 win over the Easts Tigers at Pizzey Park.
A double to Kadison-Tyra Robertson and an inspired performance from Origin star Chelsea Lenarduzzi helped guide the defending champions home against a worthy Easts Tigers.
The Bears will face minor premiers West Brisbane in a rematch of the 2018 decider after the Panthers recorded a comfortable 26-6 win over Brothers Ipswich earlier in the day.
Burleigh got on the board early when Kadison-Tyra Robertson spotted space behind the ruck and scored from dummy half.
The home side had all the early possession, but the Tigers slowly started upping the physical intensity and started to pull the game back.
Tessa Wright was heavily involved for the visitors and the work of the forwards was creating space for the likes of Tayla Eldridge who threatened often with her footwork at the line.
Easts got on the board when former Queensland Maroons captain Karina Brown chimed into the backline on the right-hand side and combined with Vanessa Foliaki to put Shae-Yvonne De La Cruz away.
She brought the ball around near the posts and the conversion gave the Tigers a 6-4 lead.
The visiting Tigers brought their best against the four-time defending champions, but a brilliant play seconds before halftime gave the Bears a two-point lead.
Tallisha Harden, playing at halfback, put up a pin-point cross field kick early in the tackle count that hit Amber Pilley on the chest for an outstanding try as the siren sounded.
It turned out to be the crucial play of the afternoon as the Bears would not concede their lead again.
The second half was a brutal affair, with the Bears offering a direct response to the challenge laid down by Easts in the first half.
Lock forward Lenarduzzi was everywhere with and without the ball and the entire Bears pack lifted around her and took control of the ruck.
Lenarduzzi looked certain to score in the 45th minute after some terrific lead up from Sasha Mahuika and Laken Paitai, only to be brought down from behind in a desperate Karina Brown try-saver.
That play kept the game alive, but another opportunistic try out of dummy half from Robertson gave the Bears an 8-point buffer with 20-minutes to go.
Easts fought hard and created a handful of chances, but Burleigh’s experience shined through as they closed out another big-game win.