The Burleigh Bears have opened their 2015 Intrust Super Cup account with a 28-12 win over the Sunshine Coast Falcons at Pizzey Park.
By finding the ball control and composure they lacked at the crucial moments during the opening rounds, the Bears clicked and showed some promising signs for the year ahead.
“Our ball control was really good tonight and we stuck it out and got there through hard work,” Bears coach Jim Lenihan said.
“It was really tight for a lot of that game and I think we took a lot of petrol out of (Sunshine Coast) by forcing a lot of repeat sets in that first half. I think that showed when we were able to run over them a little bit in that final 20 minutes.
“Ryley Jacks’ kicking game was really good this week too. He turned them around all day and was able to get a lot of repeat sets from attacking kicks which was pleasing.”
The Bears started the game extremely well with four straight sets before the Sunshine Coast even touched the ball.
The Falcons held them out early, but in the seventh minute Christian Hazard turned it inside for Connor Broadhurst to score the opening try.
It was an arm wrestle for the rest of the opening stanza, with Ben Hampton and Jake Samoa combining for Sunshine Coast’s first points in the 14th minute before Hazard crossed for the Bears five minutes from the break giving the home side a 10-6 lead.
Burleigh managed to find another gear in the second half and it was Josh Ailaomai who came off the bench to make the impact.
His barnstorming try from close range in the 50th minute gave the Bears a handy lead while Mark Ioane scored in the same fashion ten minutes later to extend it.
Callum Klein hit back for the Falcons with a try out wide, but some beautiful sleight of hand from Ryley Jacks in the 70th minute sent Tyler Chadburn over to seal the game for the Bears.
Much of the good work for the Bears came from the big men in the middle who laid a great platform for the outside men.
Lachlan Burr was named man of the match for his performance in the back row, while his second row partner Jason Chan also churned out a workhorse 80-minute performance.
With those two holding down the edges, it allowed coach Lenihan to rotate his big men in the middle and carve out big metres.
“I don’t know how long we’ll have him for but he is certainly a very welcome addition for us,” Lenihan said of Burr.
“He has really good leg speed and he’s a strong edge man that can get over blokes on the edge. He really got at our targets well tonight too.
“Last year we lacked back-rowers that could play 80 minutes, this year we’ve got two. That’s really pleasing and that allows us to utilize those big guys in the middle to roll over teams a bit.”
Earlier in the day the Bears Colts notched up another big win, this time 34-4 over the Falcons. The win takes their aggregate score over the opening three weeks to 150-18.
BURLEIGH BEARS 28 (Tyler Chadburn, Connor Broadhurst, Christian Hazard, Mark Ioane, Josh Ailaomai tries; Zac Mackay 4 goals) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 12 (Callum Klein, Jake Samoa tries; Cory McGrady 2 goals) at Pizzey Park.
Burleigh Bears: 1. Tyler Chadburn 2. Zac Macaky 3. Jamie Dowling 4. Connor Broadhurst 5. Jared Teo 6. Christian Hazard 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Mark Ioane 9. Nafe Seluini 10. Pele Peletelese 11. Lachlan Burr 12. Jason Chan 13. Darren Griffiths (c) 14. Tom Rowles 15. Louis Fanene 16. Josh Ailaomai 19. Mitch Sharp
Sunshine Coast Falcons: 1. Joe Uluibau 2. Travis Robinson 3. Callum Klein 4. Hymel Hunt 5. Suli Vunivalu 6. Ben Hampton 7. Cory McGrady 19. Johnny Vuetibau 9. Slade Griffin 10. Jon Platt 11. Kenny Bromwich 12. Jake Samoa 13. Tom Murphy (c) 14. Billy Brittain 18. Kemu Seru 20. Jordan Ryan 17. Sam Sotogi