The Burleigh Bears notched back-to-back wins for the first time since April with a 19-12 victory over the Norths Devils at Pizzey Park this afternoon.
Dressed in pink for the annual weekend of fundraising for cancer care and research, the Bears outlasted the Devils in a scrappy affair.
“We certainly didn’t play our best by any stretch of the imagination, but I will take an ugly win over a good loss any day,” Bears coach Jim Lenihan said.
“If we can play bad and still tick over a win, well that’s okay. It’s worse if we don’t win those sorts of games and kick ourselves later.
“We finished out the game well; we got to the end and got the win.
“We looked a little unorganised and there are certainly things we can work on, but we’re keeping ourselves in touch with the competition and we look forward to next week.”
It was a somewhat dour contest with limited highlights, but Bears prop Josh Ailaomai was the shining light on the day.
He dished out punishment with and without the ball in a brilliant man-of-the-match display.
“Josh Ailaomai was outstanding for us. He’s a step above the rest of us at the moment,” Lenihan said.
“When we don’t have Mark Ioane, Josh Ailaomai is our go-to guy in the middle. He’s eye-catching when he runs and he gets us going and inspires the rest of the boys to do better.
“If we can do a little bit better and go with him, he’s certainly not letting us down at the moment, that’s for sure.”
The day started perfectly for Norths who scored in the second minute thanks to halfback Liam Tyson.
It took more than half an hour for the Bears to respond, but a try to Tyler Chadburn in the 32nd minute got them on a roll.
They backed it up on the stroke of halftime when Louis Fanene jumped above the pack to score in the corner and give the Bears a six-point lead at the break.
A Ryley Jacks try in the 52nd minute gave the Bears a handy lead, but Norths hit-back through Rogan Dean to set up the nail-biting finish.
Norths were down on troops with injuries to Chris Faust and Dale Copley leaving them with a two-man bench. The Devils tried hard, but Burleigh did enough to earn the win with a Jacks field goal wrapping it up in the 73rd minute.
The win keeps Burleigh in the hunt for a spot in the top six while the Devil’s 10th loss of the year keeps them down in 13th place.
BURLEIGH BEARS 19 (Tyler Chadburn, Ryley Jacks, Louie Fanene tries; Tyler Chadburn 3 goals; Ryley Jacks field goal) def NORTHS DEVILS 12 (Rogan Dean, Liam Tyson tries; Liam Tyson 2 goals) at Pizzey Park.
Burleigh Bears: 1. Tyler Chadburn 2. Jaiden Hawkes 3. Jamie Dowling 4. Dimitri Pelo 5. Connor Broadhurst 6. Connor Toia 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Mitch Sharp 9. Tom Rowles 10. Josh Ailaomai 11. Ayden Lee 12. Louie Fanene 13. Darren Griffiths (c) 14. Marino Allen 15. Andrew Vela 16. Tyron Haynes 17. Pele Peletelese
Norths Devils: 1. Dale Copley 2. Rogan Dean 3. Dylan Galloway 4. Ryan Millard 5. Michael Lucas 6. Dan Murphy 7. Liam Tyson 8. Matt Mizzi 9. Will McNee 10. Chris Faust 20. Dylan Smith 12. Rhett Webster 13. Krys Freeman (c) 14. Steve Elliott 15. Billy Solah 16. Richard Tuala 17. Josh Afoa