Central Queensland Capras have inflicted a heavy blow to Burleigh’s semi-final prospects with a thrilling 19-18 victory over the Bears at Rockhampton’s Browne Park.
In an enthralling finish, Capras five-eighth Ian Webster broke the 18-18 deadlock in the final minute with a sweetly timed 20m field goal.
Central fans rose to their feet as the ball sailed between the posts, a welcome sight for Capras players and fans alike after a tough few weeks.
While the Capras celebrated their third win of the season, the Bears were left to rue a missed opportunity as the Gold Coast side has now slipped four points adrift of the fifth-placed Tigers, who have a game in hand this weekend.
Browne Park hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Bears, with Saturday’s loss their fourth from five games at the Rockhampton venue.
The Capras made all the running in the first half, opening up a handy 12-0 lead following tries from Smith Samau, Russell Webber and Rhys Williams.
The second try came in slightly unusual circumstances after the ball was kept alive and flung to prop Peter Gallen, who hoisted a bomb that landed in open space.
Samau won the jump to the ball and threw a long pass to winger Webber, who beat a desperate attempted tackle from Henare Wells to score in the corner.
Burleigh closed the gap to 12-6 at half-time after a Paul Carter try and Khan Ahwang conversion.
The Bears soon levelled at 12-12 in the second half after an inspired run from Dimitri Pelo led to a Tyler Chadburn try.
But the determined hosts regained the lead when Webster scored from a kick and Shannon Rupapere converted for an 18-12 advantage.
The game was soon locked up again though when Carter sprang out of dummy half and laid on a try to Conner Toia.
CQ CAPRAS 19 (Russell Webber, Smith Samau, Rhys Williams, Ian Webster tries; Shannon Rupapere goal; Ian Webster field goal) def BURLEIGH BEARS 18 (Conner Toia, Tyler Chadburn, Paul Carter tries; Khan Ahwang 3 goals) at Browne Park.
CQ Capras: 1. Reece Baker 18. Russell Webber 3. Sam Madden 4. Smith Samau 5. Rhys Williams 6. Ian Webster 7. Shannon Rupapere 8. John Clayton 9. Mark Johnstone 10. Peter Gallen 11. Andrew Dale 12. Guy Williams 13. Gavin Hiscox (c) 14. Ben Hauff 19. Tom McKenzie 16. Arlin Paki 17. Mitch Zornig
Burleigh Bears: 1. Henare Wells 2. Khan Ahwang 3. Steve Michaels 4. Brad Tighe 5. Anthony Don 6. Conner Toia 7. Tyler Chadburn 8. Mark Ioane 9. Dimitri Pelo 10. Matt Bell 11. James Dunley 12. Francis Veukiso 13. Darren Griffiths (c) 14. Paul Carter 15. Louis Fanene 16. Siuatonga Likiliki 17. Chris Kitching