A place in the Intrust Super Cup grand final is on the line when the Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears host the Sunshine Coast Falcons on Sunday afternoon.
For the second year in a row the Bears have earned a home preliminary final as they look to contest their second grand final in four years.
“Being at home is a massive advantage for us to hopefully perform well,” Bears captain Luke Page said.
“We’ve got the (Gold Coast) grand finals on the day before, so hopefully they can come out and support us on Sunday and there will be a good crowd.
“We’ve had a week off, we’ve all freshened up (and) it’s going to be a huge game and I’m sure all the boys will be up for it.”
The Bears earned a home preliminary final by beating the Wynnum Manly Seagulls 34-32 in the first week of the finals.
It was an outstanding display for the Bears, who shot out to an early lead and navigated a Wynnum comeback in front of a vocal away crowd.
The Burleigh pack were on song with Page leading from the front with 188 running metres, allowing the playmakers plenty of space and try-scoring opportunities.
With a completion rate of 84% the Bears ran in six tries to bring them within one game of a grand final berth.
Their opponents on Sunday are the Sunshine Coast Falcons, who have set the competition alight in 2019 with one of the best regular season records the Intrust Super Cup has ever seen.
Sunshine Coast finished the year with 21 wins, one loss and one draw to finish seven points clear at the top of the ladder.
That record included two wins over the Bears; 32-16 in Round 12 and 20-14 in Round 20.
The Round 20 clash was a pulsating encounter, with the Bears unlucky to fall just short of victory at Pizzey Park.
While the Bears suffered defeat and three significant injuries, there was a sense of optimism around the ground after the game as the Bears proved more than a handful for the runaway competition leaders.
“They’ve been the pinnacle of the competition and even though we lost that game, to play against them the way we did we definitely walked away pretty confident to play them again,” Page said. “Jimmy (Lenihan – coach) will do his homework and let us know how to go and I’m sure we’ll be good.”
Since then, the Falcons suffered an unexpected loss in the first week of the finals and were pushed all the way by the Easts Tigers, while Burleigh will be refreshed after a weekend off.
Only one change has been made to the team that defeated Wynnum Manly, with Tyronne Roberts-Davis reclaiming a spot on the wing with Will Evans named for the Colts.
Kick-off in the Intrust Super Cup preliminary final between the Bears and Falcons is this Sunday at 3.05pm. The game will be broadcast live on Nine Gem.
The Bears and Falcons will also clash in the Hastings Deering Colts preliminary final which kicks off at 1.10pm.
Intrust Super Cup preliminary final – Sunday September 22 at Pizzey Park
Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears v Sunshine Coast Falcons
1 Kurtis Rowe 2 Tyronne Roberts-Davis 3 Sami Sauiluma 4 Josh Berkers 5 Anthony Don 6 Dylan Phythian 7 Jamal Fogarty 8 Luke Page (c) 9 Pat Politoni 10 Oliver Percy 11 Hayden Schwass 12 Blake Leary 13 Sam Coster 14 Matt Robinson 15 Josh Rogers 16 Josh Ailaomai 17 Api Noema
Coach: Jimmy Lenihan