A heavy mid-season injury toll will test the resolve of the Burleigh Bears in Sunday’s crucial Intrust Super Cup match against the Wynnum Manly Seagulls at Pizzey Park.
But it will still take a brave person to tip against a Burleigh team determined to honour the memory of one of the club’s favourite sons.
The successful team will clinch the important two competition points and lift the Adam Watene (Cook) Memorial Trophy.
History suggests the Bears will be hard to topple, with the Pizzey Park club having won four of the past five memorial matches.
Adam was an immensely popular figure whose career took off with the Bears, the club he played for on 83 occasions.
He also played 22 games for the Seagulls, but his crowning moment came in the 2004 Queensland Cup season when he lifted the premiership trophy with Burleigh following their extra-time win over Easts.
After his grand final success, Adam moved to the UK to play with Castleford, Bradford and his last club Wakefield Trinity. He was a cult hero at Castleford and Wakefield due to his massive frame and bullock like runs.
Adam passed away suddenly in 2008 in the UK, at the age of 31, leaving behind his wife Moana and two children Arana and Ena, who will lead the players onto the field on Sunday.
“Adam still has many friends and relatives on the Gold Coast and many of them will be present at the game on Sunday along with Moana and the kids to present the trophy to the winning team,” Burleigh CEO Damian Driscoll said.
The team that takes the field for Burleigh won’t include forwards Chris Kitching (hamstring) and Kyle McConnell (shoulder), with the pair joining Matt Keating, Ryley Jacks, Nafe Seluini and Matt Beddow are on the sideline.
Seluini is edging closer to a comeback from a shoulder problem, but the other players may not return for Burleigh this year.
The Bears remain in the finals mix despite the injury problems.
“The situation we’ve got in front of us is that we’ve just got to keep winning,” Burleigh coach Jim Lenihan said.
“We can probably only afford to lose one more game for the rest of the year and maintain some control on our season, but we don’t want to let that game come too soon.”
When they met in round five, Wynnum thumped the Bears 46-6 and Burleigh will be looking to set the record straight.
“Last time we played Wynnum we got embarrassed heavily and they put a big score on us, so we’ve got a lot to play for,” Lenihan said.