A premiership campaign forged in the furnace of a red-hot semi-final series has the Burleigh Bears peaking at the right time of the year as they prepare for an Intrust Super Cup grand final showdown against Wynnum Manly at Dolphin Oval on Sunday.
The Bears finished the regular season in third spot behind the Seagulls and minor premiers the Sunshine Coast, but there is no question Burleigh have been the form team of the finals series after being forced to take the hardest of roads to Sunday’s big dance.
In the first week of the finals, the Bears had to take on Wynnum Manly at Kougari Oval – one of the competition’s most intimidating venues, driven by the infamous “Chook Pen” supporters area and exacerbated by a hostile sell-out crowd on the Bayside.
Despite that crushing pressure, Burleigh escaped with a gripping 34-32 win.
The reward for their effort was a week off – followed by the “prize” of a preliminary final showdown with the Falcons.
Sunshine Coast had swept all before them in the regular season, conceding just one loss and one draw from their 23 matches, while posting and incredible for-and-against tally of 856 to 292.
But when they met the Bears at Pizzey Park last weekend, they were greeted by the perfect rugby league storm, as Burleigh suffocated the Falcons with a faultless first half of football that Bears winger and Titans star Anthony Don describes as “unbelievable”.
“It feels like we are peaking at the right time of the year,” Don said. “The game against Wynnum (a fortnight ago) came down to the last part of the match, and they are going to be really tough to beat in the grand final.
“Wynnum have had to do it the hard way to make the grand final, having to play the extra game and then travelling up to Townsville to play the Blackhawks, so they’ve had to do a bit more travelling. But that won’t make it easier for us.
“Against the Sunny Coast on the weekend, you got the sense that their run was coming to an end and that they had probably hit their peak during the season.
“They had a great year, the Falcons, they only lost one game all season. We pounced on them and managed to play an unbelievable game to beat them.
“If we can repeat that on the weekend, or improve on it, we will be right in the game on Sunday.”
2019 Intrust Super Cup Grand Final
Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Burleigh Bears
Dolphin Oval, Redcliffe. Kick-off: 3.15pm
For more details, go to: burleighbearsrlfc.com.au