A late try to Izaia Perese has helped the Redcliffe Dolphins fend off an Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears comeback to win 20-14 at Pizzey Park.
The Dolphins led 12-2 at halftime before the Bears clawed their way back to 14-14 late in the second half.
Tyronne Roberts-Davis and Jesse Arthars both scored tries on the right-hand side of the field to bring the scores level, but Perese’s second try in the 75th minute killed off the Burleigh comeback.
Redcliffe have revitalised their season over the last two months and Sunday’s win over Burleigh is a big step towards securing their place in the finals.
“I think Redcliffe turned up really desperate today and full credit to them … they deserved the win,” Bears coach Jimmy Lenihan said.
“We probably just had a couple of one-on-one misses and a couple of lapses, but I don’t think we were doing too much wrong (in the first half). Our energy was pretty good.
“To get it back to 14-14 was really good but we just faltered a little bit at the end when the game was in the balance.”
It was Burleigh’s first home loss of the year and compounded by their Round 18 loss to Townsville it is also the first time the Bears have lost back-to-back games in 2019.
While disappointed with the result on the day, Lenihan is confident his side are only a few small adjustments away from rediscovering their very best.
“We’ve done a lot of good work to get ourselves in a position where we have an opportunity to finish high on the table,” he said. “We just need to get a little bit of rhythm and confidence back.”
The Bears opened the scoring in the 12th minute through a Jamal Fogarty penalty goal, but it was the visitors who had the early running and the majority of possession.
They were rewarded with the first try in the 17th minute when a Tyson Gamble short ball put Aaron Whitchurch through a gap on the right-hand side.
Redcliffe went the length of the field on the very next set as they broke the Bears open on the right before swinging the ball out to the space on the left for Perese to score in the 20th minute.
A penalty goal just after halftime stretched the Redcliffe lead to 14-2 before Burleigh started to grind their way back into the contest.
Roberts-Davis went for a run out of dummy half in the 51st minute, drawing a handful of defenders before flick-passing to Arthars who scored out wide.
15-minutes later Roberts-Davis went from provider to receiver when he got on the outside of his opposite number thanks to a set play from the scrum feed.
A pair of sideline conversions from Fogarty brought the scores level, but the Bears were unable to complete the comeback with Perese’s left-foot step creating space for the match-winner.