The Burleigh Bears got their season back on track with a hard-fought 23-22 win over the Mackay Cutters at Pizzey Park yesterday.
Halfback Ryley Jacks was the hero as he slotted a 74th minute field goal to give his side a win.
It was a crucial win for the Bears who were looking to bounce back from an embarrassing loss to Townsville in their last appearance.
“I think it was always going to be a tough game,” Bears coach Jim Lenihan said.
“We wanted to play another one straight after the Townville game. We were certainly hugely embarrassed by the last effort.
“It was important to come out here and play better. We still have a lot to work on but we’ve just beaten Mackay who are a top four side, so it’s not like we’ve beaten mugs.
“We can beat the sides at the top of the comp, there’s no doubt about that, we’ve just got to find a more consistent mental approach to the game. I think that’s our biggest hurdle at the moment.”
It wasn’t Burleigh’s prettiest win of the season, but it was exactly the ‘back to basics’ type of win they needed.
Mackay scored first through Tyson Martin in the 11th minute while the Bears responded through Brad Tighe four minutes later.
The Cutters took control with back-to-back tries in the 21st and 23rd minutes, but the Bears stayed in the fight through a Tom Rowles try to make it 16-12 at the break.
Burleigh drew level shortly after halftime when Kevin Gordon, who was a standout all afternoon with a terrific work rate, raced 60 metres to score an eye-catching individual try.
Aleki Falepaini crossed for the Cutters after some nice lead up work through the middle of the field, but a second try to Brad Tighe meant the scores were again level going into the dying stages.
A handful of Mackay errors coming out of their own end gifted Burleigh field position in the final ten minutes and Jacks was the man to step up and slot the match-winner.
Bears fullback Tyler Chadburn was awarded the Hayden Butler Medal for man of the match after another stellar performance at the back.
Chadburn’s shift to fullback in round two has coincided with his best, most consistent run of form since joining the club three seasons ago.
“Chaddy has probably been one of our top three players every week since he’s come in at fullback,” Lenihan said.
“He plays well above his weight; he’s courageous, he’ll charge on to a ball when there are a lot of people coming around him.
“He’ll only get better, too. He’s only young and has a lot of football to learn and he’ll keep getting better and better, hopefully.”
The medal was awarded in honour of Hayden Butler, a popular member of the Bears Colts team in 2014 who passed away earlier this year.
His parents, Dean and Roberta, were on-hand to award Chadburn with the medal.
The sides also had a minute silence to commemorate Chris Kitching, who tragically passed this weekend.
A local product, Kitching played 23 of Burleigh’s 24 Intrust Super Cup games in 2014 before returning to his junior club, Tugun, to play in the local A-Grade competition in 2015.
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BURLEIGH BEARS 23 (Brad Tighe 2, Kevin Gordon, Tom Rowles tries; Tyler Chadburn 3 goals; Ryley Jacks field goal) def MACKAY CUTTERS 22 (Sam Clune, Tyson Martin, Zack Walker, Aleki Falepaini tries; Liam Taylor 3 goals) at Pizzey Park.
Burleigh Bears: 1. Khan Ahwang 2. Jaiden Hawkes 3. Brad Tighe 4. Dimitri Pelo 5. Kevin Gordon 6. Tyler Chadburn 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Mark Ioane 9. Ayden Lee 10. Mitch Sharp 15. Todd Seymour 12. Jamie Dowling 13. Louie Fanene 14. Tom Rowles 16. Darren Griffiths (c) 17. Pele Peletelese 20. David Hala
Mackay Cutters: 1. Sam Clune 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Tyson Martin 4. Justin Tavae 5. Zack Walker 6. Cameron Cullen 7. Liam Taylor 8. Brad Lupi 9. Michael Sio 10. Chris Gesch (c) 11. Brenden Treston 12. Kelvin Nielsen 13. Aleki Falepaini 14. Josh Chudleigh 17. Josh Osborne 16. Joss Boyton 18. Ryan Kinlyside