A miraculous 20 point comeback from the younger UAA Burleigh Bears players was the standout for coach Rick Stone in Friday nights 36-34 victory against the Gold Coast Titans.
“They finished off the game really well,” he said.
“To manage a big chunk of possession and really wear the Titans down at the back end of the game was very impressive.”
In what was shaping up to be a blue and gold victory, the impact of Cole Geyer, Shallin Fuller, Connor Toia and Taine Tuaupiki caught Stones eye.
“That will be a real confidence booster for them.”
Trailing 34-16 in the back end of the second half, tries from Blake Leary, Josh Berkers, Lochlyn Sheldon and Allan Lockwood saw the Bears move to a 2 point lead with minutes remaining.
A penalty awarded to the Titans in the final seconds of the game gave Titans halve Tanah Boyd a chance to level the score.
The impressively struck conversion fell just centimetres short, securing the Bears hard fought victory.
The game finished just as well as it started, Bears centre Sami Sauiluma opening the scoring.
Two tries for the Titans followed, before a try from Bears winger Troy Leo and fullback Kurtis Rowe kept the Bears competitive, the Titans leading 22-16 into the break.
However, the 52 minute mark was where their points dried up, the Bears a dominant force for the remaining minutes of play.
Playmakers Guy Hamilton, Josh Rogers and Pat Politoni impressing during their time on the field.
“I thought they managed the game really well,” Stone said.
But halfback Guy Hamiltons says this is just the beginning.
“It’s good now to have the first game out of the way,” Hamilton said.
“Now I can focus on settling in and get a few more combinations with the boys, start having some fun and look to start the season well.”
Despite the win, there is still work to be done before the official season kicks off next month.
“There is still a bit to go before our final squad is made up,” Stone said.
“I think they are all experienced enough to know there is some parts of our game that were not happy with yet.”
The Bears next trial game is against Easts Tigers on Saturday.
Burleigh Bears 36 (Sami Sauiluma, Troy Leo, Kurtis Rowe, Blake Leary, Josh Berkers, Lochlyn Sheldon, Allan Lockwood tries; Guy Hamilton 2, Shallin Fuller 2 goals) def Gold Coast Titans 34 (Greg Marzhew 3, Jonus Pearson 2, Tremain Spry tries; Tanah Boyd 5 goals) at Pizzey Park.