Bear-scare a wake-up call

The I Luv Coffee Burleigh Bears go into a tough trip to Townsville on Sunday knowing they only had themselves to blame for almost handing Norths Devils one of the biggest comebacks in Intrust Super Cup history.

The competition leaders clocked off after leading 36-4 with 15 minutes left on the clock to sneak in 36-23 at Pizzey Park before a stunned crowd.

Bears coach Jim Lenihan said his team “put the cue in the rack” when they had amassed a big lead and that they must banish that from their game as they approached the business end of the season.

“We certainly did some really good stuff at times. I’d say for about 30-35 minutes we played really well today, but other times we let ourselves down,” he said.

“A win is a win, I’d take even a one-point win every day of the week, but to perform like that for the last 20; there are no excuses.

“I’m disappointed that we limped to the line. We’ll need to be a lot better if we want to beat Townsville in Townsville next week.”

Lock Jeff Lynch, one of the four Titans squad members in the Bears side with Lachlan Burr, Cameron Cullen and Eddy Pettybourne, said the team better learn the lesson from the inconsistent performance if they want to retain the competition lead.

“We’re on the road a fair bit over the last few rounds starting with the trip to take on the Blackhawks this weekend, so we better use that as a wake-up call,” Lynch said.

“We clocked off and it almost cost us.

“Our first 20 minutes were pretty average, then we dominated for the next 40 but we just dropped intensity and concentration.”

Pettybourne made a welcomed return after missing the Titans’ trip to Auckland and, while he had limited game time, did enough to convince Titans coach Neil Henry to bring him back into the squad to take on the Dragons on Friday night.

While they didn’t finish the game the way they would have liked, there was still plenty of highlights for much of the contest.

Paterika Vaivai was enormous off the bench and his momentum-shifting stint earned him man of the match, while playmakers Pat Politoni, Jamal Fogarty and Kurtis Rowe all had moments to shine as well.

The win meant the Bears held on to the competition lead, three-points clear of Redcliffe and PNG who were tied for second.

“We’ve just got to be harder on ourselves and expect more of ourselves. We’ve got to invest more in ourselves and expect more of ourselves to be better,” Lenihan said.

With a strong wind behind them, the Devils controlled the opening portion of the game and were rewarded with a try to Michael Lucas in the 12th minute.

The tide didn’t turn Burleigh’s way until the 19th minute when captain Jamal Fogarty burst through the line, found Hayden Schwass in support, who then gave it to Oliver Regan to open the scoring for Burleigh.

It was a shot of confidence for the Bears who were at it again seven minutes later when Sami Sauiluma produced a wonderful chip and chase to score.

A Vaivai offload created space for Luke Page to power over in the 30th minute, before Hayden Schwass hit a beautiful line in the 38th minute to give Burleigh a 24-4 lead at the break.

The points kept flowing when play resumed as Regan bagged his second out wide. When Vaivai used pure strength to score in the 56th minute, they had amassed a seemingly unbeatable 36-4 lead.

Injuries to Vaivai and Sauiluma put pressure on the fatiguing Bears, but nobody would have predicted the finish that came.

Norths got the ball rolling in the 67th minute when Lucas grabbed his second. In the 71stminute Todd Murphy finished off an 80-metre movement to give the match some life.

Paul Steele scored in the 75th minute and Dodd scored his third on the next set to bring them within striking range.

Jarryd Dodd scored on the full-time siren, but despite having all the momentum they ran out of time, falling four points short of what would have been the comeback of the season.  

Tweed Seagulls had the bye last weekend.

BURLEIGH BEARS 36 (Olly Regan 2, Sami Sauiluma, Luke Page, Hayden Schwass, Paterika Vaivai tries; Jamal Fogarty 6 goals) def NORTHS DEVILS 32 (Michael Lucas 3, Jarryd Dodd, Todd Murphy, Paul Steele tries; Todd Murphy 4 goals) at Pizzey Park.

BURLEIGH BEARS: Kurtis Rowe, Waka Wanahi, Sami Sauiluma, Connor Broadhurst, Oliver Regan, Cameron Cullen, Jamal Fogarty, Luke Page, Pat Politoni, Eddy Pettybourne, Louis Fanene, Hayden Schwass, Jeff Lynch. Interchange: Paterika Vaivai, Parahi Wilson, Lachlan Burr, Josh Ailoamai.

POINTS TABLE AFTER ROUND 18

Team

Played

Won

Draw

Lost

Bye

For

Agnst

Total

Burleigh Bears

17

13

1

3

1

510

366

29

Redcliffe Dolphins

16

11

0

5

2

430

251

26

PNG Hunters

16

11

0

5

2

365

285

26

Townsville Blackhawks

17

11

1

5

1

490

289

25

Easts Tigers

17

10

2

5

1

445

348

24

Northern Pride

16

7

0

9

2

357

349

18

Souths Logan Magpies

17

7

2

8

1

441

434

18

Ipswich Jets

17

8

0

9

1

396

407

18

Wynnum Manly Seagulls

16

7

0

9

2

363

397

18

Sunshine Coast Falcons

17

7

1

9

1

313

346

17

CQ Capras

17

6

1

10

1

360

516

15

Norths Devils

17

6

1

10

1

376

472

15

Tweed Heads Seagulls

16

5

0

11

2

297

482

14

Mackay Cutters

16

2

1

13

2

326

527

9

NEXT WEEK’S GAMES

Saturday 16 July

Townsville Blackhawks v Burleigh Bears at Jack Manski Oval 4:00pm

Ipswich Jets v Mackay Cutters at North Ipswich Reserve 4:00pm

Norths Devils v Sunshine Coast Falcons at Bishop Park 4:00pm

CQ Capras v Tweed Heads Seagulls at Browne Park 6:00pm

Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Northern Pride at BMD Kougari Oval 6:00pm

Sunday 17 July

Redcliffe Dolphins v PNG Hunters at Dolphin Oval 1:40pm (Channel 9)

Souths Logan Magpies v Easts Tigers at Davies Park 2:05pm