He may have been forced to watch from the sidelines as his team put a bow on their dominant performance last weekend after coming off the field with a heavy knock; but Burleigh Bears five-eighth Dylan Phythian was glad to be able to savour the winning feeling.
“(It’s an) unbelievable feeling, it’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt sporting-wise,” Phythian said at Dolphin Stadium after the Intrust Super Cup grand final victory over the Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
The Bears did it in style after producing a perfect run in the finals, which included knocking out the season pace-setters the Sunshine Coast Falcons in their preliminary final last weekend at Pizzey Park.
Intrust Super Cup Grand Final Highlights: Wynnum v Bears
Some had questioned Burleigh’s ability to back up their unrelenting showing against the Falcons – and Phythian himself said while the side had produced good football to claim the title; there were areas they could work on.
“To be honest, I don’t think we played as well as we did last week, but we stuck together and ground it out,” Phythian said.
“We knew we had the team to do the job and put it together, but it was just about turning up on the day and putting it all together and the boys did it the hard way.
“It was hard to say against a team like that (when it felt like they had won it), but when Jamal (Fogarty) scored that try down the touch-line, I sort of knew it was over and we’d won.”
With the victory, the Bears booked their place in the NRL State Championship this Sunday, a huge opportunity to showcase their skills as a curtain raiser match on NRL grand final day.
Burleigh have been in this place before, back in 2016, where the side were soundly beaten 54-12 by a St George Illawarra Cutters side that featured plenty of NRL talent including hooker Siliva Havili and Kurt Mann, as well as current Intrust Super Cup high performers Chris Lewis, Kalifa Faifai-Loa and Shaun Nona.
Bears forward Sam Coster also played in that match against his future team mates.
Match: Jets v Bears
NRL State Championship -
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
The Bears journey through the finals series in 2019 has been one of consistently strong performances, overcoming both sides who placed above them in the ladder after 23 rounds of Intrust Super Cup action.
Now, the Bears have their sights set on redemption after 2016’s disappointing showing in Sydney, and Phythian said his side would be focused on getting the job done.
“The last time the boys won this competition they went down and got flogged, so we’ll have our celebrations and get the job done next week,” Phythian said.
Phythian, who joined the Bears mid-season last year, has proved crucial to the team's success this season, will be wanting to finish his time with the club on a high note.
The 24-old, who took part in 22 matches for the Bears this year, winning 17 of them, will return home to Newcastle next season; and was looking forward to playing one more game with the Bears.