The Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears will take on the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the 2019 Intrust Super Cup grand final this Sunday afternoon at Dolphin Stadium, Redcliffe.
It will be Burleigh’s sixth trip to the grand final in the Cup era and Bears fans will be out in force for their first appearance since winning the 2016 title.
Burleigh have won three of their five visits to the grand final. They won 12-10 over Redcliffe in 1999, 22-18 over Easts Tigers in extra time in 2004 and most recently claimed a 26-18 win over Redcliffe in 2016.
Six players from that premiership winning squad – Kurtis Rowe, Sami Sauiluma, Jamal Fogarty, Luke Page, Pat Politoni and Hayden Schwass – are named in this week’s grand final team, while Josh Ailaomai and Jeff Lynch have both been regulars in the squad throughout the season.
The stability and consistency of the playing group has led to two grand finals and a preliminary final in the last four seasons; Burleigh’s longest period of sustained success since contesting three consecutive grand finals in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
“I think it definitely plays a part when we’ve got players that can stick together for a couple of years at the club – we sort of know how each other play and what we’re going to do,” Bears halfback and 2016 premiership winning captain Jamal Fogarty said.
“Jimmy (Lenihan) and the coaching staff have done an awesome job to keep everybody happy. We’ve got guys from Sydney and all over the place that have relocated here and made it a home.”
After falling one game short of the grand final in 2018, the Bears came back this season with some new ideas and attacking structures.
They also reinforced the depth of the forward pack with the addition of Jack Buchanan, Jacob Hind and Oliver Percy, all of whom have had a huge impact at various stages of the season.
The result has been 19 wins from 25 appearances and the competition’s second-best attack and defence, finishing the regular season in third place.
So far, they have saved their best for the finals series, defeating the top two ranked teams in consecutive games to advance to the grand final.
Their win last week over Sunshine Coast was arguably their most complete performance of the year, dominating the competition favourites to secure a 24-6 win.
Their clash with Wynnum on Sunday will be a replay of their thrilling encounter in the first week of the finals, a game the Bears won 34-32 at Kougari Oval. Burleigh also won the other clash between the sides played this year, 26-18 back in Round 6.
After losing to the Bears in the first week of the finals the Seagulls were forced to take the long road to the grand final.
They defeated Redcliffe 20-16 in an elimination final before travelling to Townsville and winning their preliminary final 26-14.
“The grand final itself should be enough hopefully to get us up, but we’re certainly mindful of making sure we put our best foot forward going into next week,” Bears coach Jimmy Lenihan said.
“No doubt (Wynnum) have got quality players all over the place – Edene Gebbie, Sam Scarlett, their forward pack is really good, Mitch Cronin. They’re probably not that much different to Sunny Coast either.
“Making the grand final is reward for a good year, now hopefully winning it tops it off.”
Intrust Super Cup grand final – Sunday September 29 at Dolphin Stadium, Redcliffe. 3.15pm
Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears v Wynnum Manly Seagulls
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 Jack Buchanan 11 Hayden Schwass 12 Blake Leary 13 Sam Coster 14 Matt Robinson 15 Josh Rogers 16 Oliver Percy 17 Api Noema-Matenga
Coach: Jimmy Lenihan
Burleigh Bears Intrust Super Cup grand final record
· 1999: Burleigh 12 def Redcliffe 10
· 2003: Redcliffe 31 def Burleigh 18
· 2004: Burleigh 22 def Easts 18 (extra time)
· 2005: NQ Young Guns 36 def Burleigh 6
· 2016: Burleigh 26 def Redcliffe 16