THE Burleigh Bears have returned to the winner’s circle with a 30-6 victory over the Sunshine Coast Falcons at Stocklands Stadium yesterday.
With Siuatonga Likiliki, Kyle McConnell and Nick Harrold all missing through suspension and Matt Keating still out due to concussion, the Bears faced plenty of adversity.
It got even tougher for them as the game went on, with Sam Meskell, Dimitri Pelo and Matt Bell all coming off injured.
“Initially my thoughts were that it was a scrappy performance, but then when I look at the grand scheme of it; I’m pleased with the effort and I’m proud of the boys,” Bears coach Carl Briggs said.
“We lost Sam Meskell after 17 minutes with a dislocated shoulder, then at halftime we lose Dimitri Pelo and you don’t cover for wingers getting injured, so we had to have a backline reshuffle.
“Matt Bell came off 10 minutes into the second half just as a precaution, but really we played a lot of that game with 14.”
For 60 minutes it was an arm wrestle.
The Sunshine Coast opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Phil Taylor pounced on a grubber kick in the corner.
The Bears didn’t open their account until the 37th minute when Henare Wells crossed to bring the scores level at the break.
The scores stayed that way for much of the second half until Luke Page broke the deadlock in the 60th minute.
The Bears lifted after Page’s try and as their confidence grew and their completion rate picked up the points started to flow.
Tries to Steve Michaels, Mark Ioane and Jamie Anderson followed as the Bears stormed home to a 30-6 win.
Page, who has been one of Burleigh’s best all year, was again outstanding and won praise from his coach.
“He’s had a great season so far,” Briggs said. “He’s had a great start to the season and he’s playing consistently well now. He’s making a massive impact when he’s out there.
“Chris Kitching had his best game for us so far. He’s now getting used to what is required at Cup level and I was really pleased with him, and then there’s James Dunley on debut.
“He went into the backrow where he’s used to playing and then he had to play half a game at centre and it was like he had played centre his whole career. He was outstanding. He’s one for the future.”
The win ends a rollercoaster seven days for the Bears which started with a 46-6 hammering at the hands of Wynnum Manly, continued to see three players suspended during the week and finally finished up with their first away win of the season.
Briggs said it was important that last week’s result was addressed and dealt with early in the week so that it didn’t carry over into the next game.
Next weekend, the Bears will host the Mackay Cutters in the Sunday afternoon Channel 9 game, while the Sunshine Coast face the tough ask of travelling to Wynnum to take on the Seagulls on Saturday night.
Earlier in the day, the Bears Colts pulled off another remarkable comeback to defeat Sunshine Coast 29-22.
After somehow turning a 20-point deficit into a six-point win in the space of 20 minutes last weekend, the Bears came from 22-6 down at one point to again finish strongly and get the win.
BURLEIGH BEARS 30 (Jamie Anderson, Steve Michaels, Ryley Jacks, Luke Page, Mark Ioane tries; Khan Ahwang 5 goals) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 6 (Phil Taylor try; Ryan Hansen goal) at Stockland Stadium