JAMAL Fogarty and Cameron Cullen showed exactly why they are NRL-bound by steering Burleigh to a brave 24-12 win over Easts but coach Jimmy Lenihan says they still have room for improvement.
Both halves scored brilliant solo tries and set up the Bears’ other two four-pointers.
Lenihan, though, said his side’s kicking game needs work to take pressure off their much-improved defence.
“Our defence was better. I think our kicking game was still pretty poor, we still need to improve on that and that can help us out a bit more in our defence,” he said.
“But our ability to fight and be tenacious today was really pleasing.:
Burleigh were forced to dig deep as the Tigers dominated possession and territory throughout the game’s opening quarter.
From the 25th minute onwards, the Tigers could not find a way through the resolute defence of the Bears, who pegged the score back to 10-10 at halftime.
“We struggled to defend our line last game against PNG,” Lenihan said. “(This time) we went (55) minutes without letting them in in a tough almost semi-final game already.
“We were able to wrestle some sort of momentum back at the end of the first half and then to go on with it in the second half and still keep grinding it out was really encouraging for us. We needed it.”
Easts were left to rue a shocking forward pass call which cruelled their chances of staging a late comeback.
BURLEIGH BEARS 24 (Jamal Fogarty, Cam Cullen, Louis Fanene, Kurtis Rowe tries Jamal Fogarty 4 goals) def EASTS TIGERS 12 (Brodie Croft 2 tries Billy Walters 2 goals)
On Saturday, Tweed Heads sunk to a heartbreaking 34-28 loss in Ipswich.
NRL regular Leivaha Pulu got the Seagulls off to the perfect start by scoring in the third minute and his young teammates followed suit to be within striking distance of an upset win leading 28-18 in the second term.
But the Jets surged home, with a late disallowed try to Nathanael Barnes not helping Tweed’s cause.
Seagulls co-captain Sam Meskell said a free-flowing style had almost paid dividends for his side though the final result “was a tough one to take”.
IPSWICH JETS 34 (Richard Pandia 2, Nemani Valekapa 2, Billy McConnachie, Liam Capewell, Josh Damen tries; Josh Damen 2, Haydan Lipp goals) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 28 (Leivaha Pulu, Nathanael Barnes, Josh Coyle, Timothy Cassidy, Jacob Garland tries; Michael Burgess 3, Doug Hewitt goals) at North Ipswich Reserve.
This article first appeared in Gold Coast Bulletin