The Burleigh Bears will attempt to win a fifth consecutive SEQW Division 1 premiership when they take on the West Brisbane Panthers at Emerson Park this Saturday afternoon.
The Bears booked their place in the 2019 grand final with an absorbing 14-6 win in their qualifying semi-final against Easts Tigers last weekend, their fifth win in succession.
Kadison-Tyra Robertson scored two tries from hooker as the Bears showcased their ability to win high-pressure games by grinding their way home against a fired-up opposition.
It is another milestone achievement for the Burleigh women’s team whose growth and continued success has been one the club’s shining lights over the last decade.
With coach Tahnee Norris overseas, Roy Leoni – the original coach of the Burleigh women’s team – has returned to the fold to steer the ship through the finals series.
Leoni was full of praise for the culture of the group and how they have been able to continually develop young players.
While the Bears will field plenty of representative players on Saturday, most of them came through the Burleigh system and made their mark in the SEQW competition first.
“The biggest thing for us is that a lot of the girls came to Burleigh before they were representative players and they’ve gained their success playing for Burleigh,” he said.
“They’ve gone on to represent SEQ or Queensland or play in the NRLW by coming from Burleigh. We haven’t really gone out and signed girls who were already Queensland players and then placed them at the club, they’ve worked really hard and come through the ranks here.”
He cited the likes of Zahara Temara and Tazmin Gray as examples, while also praising the work the senior players do in helping the younger players reach similar heights.
“They are a big family,” he said. “They work together, they have their arguments like any other family but at the end of the day they are there for each other.
“It’s really pleasing to come back in see how it was then and what it is now and just feel the culture that’s involved.”
Saturday’s grand final is a chance for the Bears to further build on their legacy in search of a remarkable fifth consecutive premiership.
It will be a rematch of last year’s decider which the Bears won 14-0 after the underdog Panthers made an unlikely finals charge coming from fourth and surviving consecutive elimination finals to qualify.
That finals charge appears to have been a launch pad for the Panthers who have set the standard for consistency in 2019, leading the competition since the conclusion of Round 1 all the way until being crowned minor premiers a fortnight ago.
The Panthers also dispatched of Brothers Ipswich 26-6 in their respective semi-final last Saturday in a statement performance and will no doubt be looking to settle the score with Burleigh.
Kick-off in the 2019 SEQW Division 1 grand final is at 2.15pm this Saturday afternoon at Emerson Park. The game will be live-streamed by the QRL on social media.
1 Chante Temara 2 Keri-Jade Robertson 3 Sasha Mahuika 4 Amber Pilley 5 Eseta Fangaloka 6 Zahara Temara 7 Tallisha Harden 8 Jane Parsons 9 Kadison-Tyra Robertson 10 Jasmin Kemp (c) 11 Tazmin Gray 12 Laken Paitai 13 Chelsea Lenarduzzi 14 Akayla McQuire 15 Selena Tranter 16 Gabrielle Senft 17 Christina Song-Puche 18 Ngaupoko Marsters
Coach: Roy Leoni