A hat-trick to centre Jamie Anderson saved the Burleigh Bears from a brave Bilambil Jets in the second round of the Coast-2-Coast Earthmoving Cup at Pizzey Park on Sunday.
The Bears were scintillating early, racing to a 22-0 lead in just over 20 minutes, but stalled for much of the remainder of the game as the Jets clawed their way back into the contest.
Bilambil got to within four points and looked to have the momentum on their side, but two tries inside the final 15 minutes to Anderson, to add to his first try in the 20th minute, made sure the Bears steadied the ship and finished with the win.
“I should buy him a beer, I think,” stand in Bears coach Steve Weston said of Anderson.
“I was chewing my fingernails down to the bone before he stepped up and pulled a couple of tries out of the hat. He was really good for us today.”
Scoring got underway in just the fourth minute for Burleigh as Louis Fanene stormed over on the left edge.
His try was backed up by a double to Joelin Rapana who crossed out wide in the 10th and 15th minutes.
Anderson’s first try came on the back of a scrum win in the 20th minute and by the time Francis Veukiso crashed over in the 26th minute it looked like the Bears would be chasing a half-century.
Bilambil however are not a side known for lying down when the going gets tough and they rolled up their sleeves and found a way back into the game.
Mitch Spackman was a stand out in the front row while halfback and captain Daniel Evans directed the attack.
A deft kick from Evans led to Jimmy Anderson opening the Bilambil scoring on the stroke of halftime, while it was an Evans short ball that put Spackman over shortly after the break.
Burleigh’s ball handling was letting them down badly and the Jets took control of the contest for a period of time.
Dion Belford Laulu soon scored for the Jets cutting the lead to just four-points with 20-minutes still left to play.
But the class of the Burleigh outfit eventually came to the fore again as Anderson completed his hat-trick and secured the 32-18 win.
After the game Weston was relieved that his men were able to get away with the win, but said there will be lessons to learn from the performance.
“They got a bit of a sniff and came back to put a lot of pressure on us,” Weston said.
“We started out very strong and really blew them off the field early, but I think we got complacent, gave them too many opportunities and didn’t respect the ball.”
In other second round Coast-2-Coast Earthmoving Cup results, Tugun defeated Southport 29-14 and Tweed Heads thumped Currumbin 58-16.