The Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears are Intrust Super Cup premiers for the second time in four years thanks to a 28-10 win over Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the grand final on Sunday.
Halfback and 2016 premiership winning captain Jamal Fogarty was the hero, scoring a length of the field try to put the result beyond doubt in the 76th minute, while Kurtis Rowe scored two tries to earn the Duncan Hall Medal for man of the match.
It completed an incredible weekend for Fogarty, who won the Petero Civoniceva Medal for Intrust Super Cup player of the year on Friday night.
“I think my little legs were getting speed wobbles,” Fogarty said. “And I saw the speed machine Edene Gebbie coming across and I thought ‘oh no, he’s got me!’ But I just kept going and I was quite surprised when I got there.
“In 2016 I probably didn’t embrace it as much. It was only my third year of Cup, we’d won the premiership and I was captain. I thought ‘this is easy!’ But a couple of years of hard work in between and I’m definitely soaking this one up a lot more, and especially to just embrace what we have at the club.
“That could have been the last grand final we’ll ever play together, so to win it was just unreal.”
Rowe’s man of the match performance on Sunday is even more impressive considering he scored a double in the 2016 decider as well, taking his grand final try-scoring tally to four in two appearances.
“I love rising to the occasion,” Rowe said. “I love the nerves all through the week before and I like using that and taking it into the game. It’s nothing new to me.
“I’m very fortunate to have two premierships under my belt. It doesn’t happen to many football players in their career, so I’m very grateful.”
If 2016’s premiership was the drought-breaker, Sunday’s win was the legacy maker, with six players taking part in both games.
The Bears have built a culture of success and stability over the last four seasons which has manifested throughout the entire senior club.
“In our top seven sides we made four grand finals,” Bears coach Jimmy Lenihan said. “We’re very proud of the people that we are and the reputation that we have carved out for ourselves.
“I think in 16’ it was just so exciting. It had been so long since we had done anything positive at the back end of a football season and that was a great experience, but this one now we can savour the moment for what it is but also look at the opportunities that are around the corner.
“Next week we get a chance to go to Sydney and I think we want to prove ourselves a little bit better than we did last time. We can’t guarantee a win of course, but we’re certainly going there with a real intent to try our very best.”
After a 14th minute penalty goal it was Tyrone Roberts Davis who got scoring started for the Bears in the 21st minute.
Rowe and Blake Leary combined on the left-hand side to create enough space for Roberts-Davis to touch down in the left corner.
Fogarty was the spark for Burleigh’s second after the defence rushed up on him on the last tackle in the 29th minute.
It forced him to improvise, as he grubbered behind the line, regathered the football and found Rowe in support for his first try.
A deflected kick would lead to Sam Scarlett scoring Wynnum Manly’s first try in the 35th minute, while a Pat Templeman kick would lead to an Edward Burns try shortly after halftime, cutting the margin to just two points.
A perfect Dylan Phythian chip kick sat up for Rowe who was on the spot for his second try, giving the Bears some breathing room.
Pat Politoni caught out the Seagulls defence in the 67th minute to stretch the lead to two converted tries, before Fogarty’s runaway effort in the 76th finally put the result beyond doubt.
“It’s so overwhelming, I’m still trying to take it in,” Bears captain Luke Page said. “I was brought to tears as soon as the buzzer went. I’m so proud of the boys. This is why we play rugby league.”
The Bears now advance to the National Championship game where they will face Newtown Jets on NRL Grand Final Day at ANZ Stadium next Sunday afternoon.
BURLEIGH BEARS 28 (Kurtis Rowe 2, Jamal Fogarty, Tyronne Roberts-Davis, Pat Politoni tries Jamal Fogarty 4 goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 10 (Sam Scarlett, Edward Burns tries Pat Templeman goal) at Dolphin Stadium