The Burleigh Bears came from 22-points down to defeat minor premiers the Northern Pride 29-28 at Pizzey Park yesterday and finish their season on a high.
The Pride, who will finish as the comfortable minor premiers despite the loss, got away to a flyer scoring the opening four tries before the Bears threw away the rulebook and found a way back into the game.
“I think we just decided to play a little bit unconventional,” Bears coach Jim Lenihan said of the comeback.
“We were getting it a bit wider and kicking it a bit earlier and it reaped some rewards for us today.”
The rewards were some of the most exciting tries the Bears have scored all season.
In the 38th minute, Tyler Chadburn put in chip kick for Henare Wells who swerved a couple of defenders, found Dimitri Pelo in support who drew in another and put Khan Ahwang over in the corner finishing off a 50m movement.
That try brought the crowd to their feet and gave the Bears belief leading into the second half.
The same men were at it again in the 53rd minute when Pelo threw a beautiful flick pass to put Ahwang into space. Ahwang chipped ahead for Wells who soccered it ahead before scoring and bringing the scores level.
The Pride came back to life after that and powered their way up the field, eventually resulting in a try for Davin Crampton.
Burleigh were desperate for the win though and eventually a grubber kick from Chadburn led to a Daniel Schwass try to again bring the scores level with less than five on the clock.
In the end it was Ahwang who managed to slot the game winning field goal in the 79th minute to cap what has been a big season for him that has seen him finish as the Intrust Super Cup's leading point scorer.
“To beat the minor premiers on our last day is extremely rewarding," Lenihan said.
“A big goal for today was to make sure we got Khan over the line for highest point scorer and we did that.
“It was great to see the boys playing for a purpose and playing for Khan to get the award and it's a big achievement for him."
It brings to a close an up-and-down season for the Bears with some light at the end of the tunnel.
A particularly pleasing thing for Bears supporters would be the performance of young guns like Jared Te'o, Francis Veukiso, Jake Hughes and Tim Wolens.
All of them had big performances on the day and they all have their best years ahead of them.
Coupled with the minor premiership winning Colts side the future looks to be in good hands.
“I think we've always had the ability to bring a lot of good young guys through and today it showed,” Lenihan said.
“What we need to do is work hard at making sure the consistency of the performance from the first round next year is the same as it is in the last round next year.
“We're going to keep working hard to make sure days like this happen as much as they possibly can.
Like everything with young blokes it's going to be a bit up and down, but we're hoping to find more up than down."
BURLEIGH BEARS 29 (Henare Wells, Francis Veukiso, Jared Te’o, Daniel Schwass, Khan Ahwang tries; Khan Ahwang 4 goals; Khan Ahwang field goal) def NORTHERN PRIDE 28 (Brett Anderson, Davin Crampton, Shaun Nona, Jason Roos, Jack Svendsen tries; Shaun Nona 4 goals) at Pizzey Park.
1. Henare Wells 2. Corbin Kiernan 3. Dimitri Pelo 21. Francis Veukiso 5. Jared Te'o 6. Daniel Schwass 7. Tyler Chadburn 8. Chris Kitching 9. Nafe Seluini 10. Matt Bell 11. Shane Gray 12. Louis Fanene 13. Darren Griffiths (c) 15. Jamie Anderson 16. Jake Hughes 17. Tim Wolens 18. Khan Ahwang
1. Hezron Murgha 2. Javid Bowen 3. Brett Anderson (c) 4. Davin Crampton 5. Semi Tadulala 6. Shaun Nona 7. Sam Obst 8. Ricky Thorby 9. Jason Roos (c) 10. Jack Svendsen 11. Blake Leary 12. Tyrone McCarthy 13. Patrick Kaufusi 21. Latu Fifita 15. Tom Hancock 16. Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 22. Ethan Lowe