It’s a match Gold Coast footy lovers should not miss each season – the local Queensland Cup derby between Burleigh Bears and Tweed Heads Seagulls.
At the second clash of the season, for the Ray McCarron Memorial Trophy, takes place at Piggabeen Sports Complex this afternoon at 1.40pm. If you can’t get there, it will be telecast live on Channel 9.
Burleigh won the first 2016 derby by 36-26 in round two.
The match will feature a long list of Titans-contracted players in Cameron Cullen, Jeff Lynch, Lachlan Burr (Bears), Kierran Moseley, Karl Lawton, Matt Robinson, Oshae Tuiasau and Leva Li (Seagulls). Unfortunately, Seagulls' Shannon Walker (injured) plus Bear Nate Peteru (suspended) will be missing but there is plenty of former NRL talent on show and ex-Titans.
One player who has been in great form and will be a player to watch is Lynch.
The former Canberra Raider joined the Bears in October of last year on a ‘train and trial’ deal, before earning a one-year contract with the Titans during a pre-season trial.
While he continues to work hard in hopes of earning his NRL debut, Lynch is an important cog in the Bears’ forward pack and has nothing but praise for his new club and his new teammates.
“From the strappers to the players to the coaches to wives and girlfriends; everybody is buying in to the culture here,” he said.
“There is no division between any players; in most teams you’re going to find that there are little groups and cliques amongst the team, but with this bunch of fellas there are no groups. We’re one big family.
“I think that goes to show on the field because when things get tough, we want to dig in for each other. Having players out on the field that you want to play with makes a massive difference.”
The hard working lock started his playing days as a junior with the Cowra Magpies before being signed by the Raiders as a teenager.
He made the move to Canberra and played three years of SG Ball, three years of under-20s in the National Youth Competition and spent two years in the Raiders full-time squad, playing with the Mounties.
In 2012, his Raiders NYC team made it all the way to the grand final, which was played at ANZ Stadium on NRL grand final day.
The Raiders were unable to get the win on the day, but Lynch still looks back on that achievement as the highlight of his career so far.
“We had an unreal team back then,” he said.
“We had Sami Sauiluma who is here at the Bears too. We had the likes of (Anthony) Milford, Mitch Cornish; it was a stacked team.
“The week leading into that grand final was unreal. Unfortunately, we got done, but that is probably the highlight of my career so far.
“The whole year was great because for the years leading up to that we were always finishing in that bottom tier of the ladder and we were getting smashed by 30 and 40 points.
“We had a real big clean out of personnel in 2012 and I wasn’t expecting us to go as well as we did. It’s probably right up there as one of the best teams I’ve been a part of.”
The local derby always brings out the best in both sides and with Burleigh currently sharing the competition lead with Townsville Blackhawks, it is important they produce another good performance on Sunday afternoon.
“I missed the last Tweed clash, so I’m pretty keen to get out there and go up against the local rivals and the other second tier Titans boys and see how they fare,” Lynch said.
“I think it’s really important for us to win this weekend and then win again next weekend heading into the bye, so I’m just really keen and excited about every week with these boys.”
Kick-off between the Bears and the Seagulls is 1:40pm. The Bears welcome back Queensland Residents representatives Sami Sauiluma and Cameron Cullen to the starting side after both missed last week’s win over Wynnum Manly.
1. Kurtis Rowe 2. Waka Wanahi 3. Sami Sauiluma 4. Connor Broadhurst 5. Oliver Regan 6. Cameron Cullen 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Luke Page 9. Patrick Politoni 16. Joshua Ailaomai 11. Jamie Dowling 12. Hayden Schwass 13. Jeff Lynch 10. Paterika Vaivai 14. Thomas Rowles 15. Lachlan Burr 17. Louis Fanene 18. Parahi Wilson. Coach: Jim Lenihan
Tweed Heads Seagulls
1. Alexander Grant 2. Leva Li 3. Karl Lawton 4. Matthew Hundy 5. Tevita Folau 6. Samuel Irwin 7. Michael Burgess 8. Josh Coyle 9. Samuel Meskell 10. Tuiala Togitasi 11. Matthew Robinson 12. Cory Blair 13. Samuel Saville 14. Kierran Moseley 16. Ethan Price 18. Mitchell Sharp. Coach: Aaron Zimmerle