The Burleigh Bears will attempt to complete a stellar season when they face Southport Tigers in the Rugby League Gold Coast A Grade grand final on Saturday.
Pizzey Park will host all of the Rugby League Gold Coast finals throughout the day, with the A Grade clash between the Bears and Tigers the main event at 4pm.
Burleigh have been competition favourites all year and will be laser focused on producing another polished performance.
“If we win on Saturday, it’s going to be because we applied pressure and dealt with pressure better than the opposition,” coach Matt Foster said. “Particularly in finals football, that’s what it is about.”
“Our energy is massively important. Our attitude mentally going into the game is the key component and then all the stuff that people talk about all the time – making sure we stay in the game and apply pressure through the little things.”
They have won 17 games, drawn once and suffered just one defeat across the entire season, but Foster said a focus on meeting internal performance standards on a weekly basis has been the real secret to their success.
He also pointed to the smooth transition of several A Grade regulars into the Intrust Super Cup side throughout the year as a true sign of the team’s success and value to the club as a whole.
“We’re about performing each week and making sure we maintain a standard that we set for ourselves,” he said. “It’s not me asking the players to produce a standard, it’s them who set the standard and then each week we attain that.
“We’ve got a structure at the club where the Queensland Cup is the top level, so my job is to get players ready to play at my level but also to be an option or somebody that is fighting for a position in the Q Cup team if somebody gets injured. So, utilising the performance aspect has kept everyone trying to push hard each week.
“(Conner Toia) went on to play three Cup games and in those games, he contributed really well.
“We’ve got Api Noema who has floated in between both teams, Josh Berkers is floating in between both teams and everybody that has moved up has acquitted themselves fantastically well. For me, that’s as good a marker on the job I’ve done this year as anything.”
Foster was also full of praise for the likes of Ben Valeni, Reece Summers and Regan Muir Ogle as players who have set the standard weekly in the local competition.
They take on a resurgent Southport Tigers who have eliminated Tugun and Currumbin in consecutive weeks.
Those wins come after a rough patch where the Tigers lost four in a row, including a 52-10 loss at the hands of Burleigh in Round 19.
Foster said that while Southport may have dropped their standards for a short period, their class has returned, and he expects their best on Saturday.
“They’ve got the experience of Tu Whakatihi and Drumayne Dayberg-Muir which is really important to them,” he said. “They are two key players that they look to play through.
“They’re a team that play very physical and very strong and they’re well and truly back in it now after beating Tugun and Currumbin.”
The Tigers have not won the local A Grade premiership since 2014, while Burleigh will be looking to reclaim the title they last won in 2017.
Burleigh will also contest the Under 20s grand final against Currumbin at 12pm.
Rugby League Gold Coast grand final day – Saturday September 21 at Pizzey Park
A Grade; Burleigh Bears v Southport Tigers, 4pm
Reserve grade; Tugun Seahawks v Mudgeeraba Redbacks, 2pm
Under 20s; Burleigh Bears v Currumbin Eagles, 12pm