By Cameron Stallard
Despite a second half scare, the finals-bound Burleigh Bears have finished the regular Intrust Super Cup season with a win, defeating the Central Queensland Capras 30-12 at Browne Park tonight.
The Capras were first to score in only the third minute after the home side shifted the ball from left to right for youngster Gabe Hamson to cross for his second career try in as many weeks.
Burleigh were next to get on the board in the 12th minute after Jamal Fogerty created an defensive overlap for Josh Berkers to cross in the south-western corner.
The Bears then took the lead for the first time in the 18th minute after Kurtis Rowe broke the line before getting a pass outside to Tyronne Roberts-Davis who ran 70 metres to cross the chalk.
Despite a number of opportunities, the Capras were able to hold out the Bears and go into the sheds only trailing by a mere try.
Eight minutes into the second half, a well-placed cross-field kick from Tremaine Brown was plucked out of the air by Ayden Cooper, creating a huge roar from the grand stands as the home side regained the lead.
Five minutes later, the experienced Bears put the Capras to the sword with Connor Toia scoring underneath the posts, and the onslaught continued in the 57th minute with a Rowe four-pointer.
Bears captain and journeyman Luke Page put the nail in the coffin in the 68th minute, busting through Central’s goal-line defence to finalise the 30-12 result.
Burleigh coach Jim Lenihan described tonight’s win as scrappy, but was pleased his side was able to hold out the resurgent Capras.
“It probably wasn’t our best performance tonight as we were a little sloppy with our ball control, but we were able to find a way to win and that’s the main thing,” Lenihan said.
“Our forwards really led the way headed by Luke [Page], allowing Pat [Politoni] and Jamal [Fogarty] to play off the back of their go-forward.”
The win gives the Bears second spot temporarily, with tomorrow’s blockbuster between Wynnum Manly Seagulls and Norths Devils to confirm whether they will be heading to BMD Kougari Oval or Pizzey Park to more than likely face the Seagulls in week one of the finals.
“Tonight’s result means we’ll either finish second or third, so to end up in the top four after 23 tough weeks of footy is a massive achievement for the club,” Lenihan added.
“Of course we’d really like to face Wynnum at home as that is a huge advantage in front of our home fans, but the reward of finishing in the top four is that you get a second chance should we not get the result next week.”
For the Capras, they’ll enjoy the end of season festivities reflecting on a tough first year under new coach Dave Faiumu.