The Burleigh Bears have made a huge statement four weeks out from the Coast-2-Coast Earthmoving Cup finals by thrashing second placed Tugun 50-10 at Pizzey Park.
The Bears led 16-10 after 50 minutes, but exploded in the final half hour to lay on six more unanswered tries and bring up the half century.
As a result, the Bears are now six-points clear at the top of the ladder and are all but guaranteed to finish with the minor premiership.
“The boys were fantastic today,” Bears coach Matt Foster said.
“I said to the boys at halftime that how we take the mental approach into the second half will dictate the end of the game.
“In the second half we really stuck to what we talked about doing. I think the first half was pretty physical and pretty even but in the second half we did the little things right. We got to where we wanted to on the field, our kick and chase was good, our defence was solid.
“All in all that’s what got us over the line; that professional approach to grinding out the win and sticking to a game plan.”
It was a new look Burleigh team thanks to a shake up in the Intrust Super Cup team.
Six players who lined up in Cup last week found themselves in local A-Grade this week and all of them responded to their axing in the best way possible.
The likes of Pele Peletelese and Marino Allen led the way in the middle while Connor Toia and Khan Ahwang both had strong showings and appeared to grow in confidence as the game went on.
“Sometimes it’s really hard for players to have to step back,” Foster said.
“Every single one of those blokes stepped up and all the blokes that have been with me week in week out stepped up with them.
“We’ve been talking about it all week. I suppose you try and talk to them about experiences of that kind thing that you have gone through yourself and how you dealt with it.
“You’ve just got to make sure mentally you’re strong enough as an individual to overcome a hurdle and attack every hurdle that comes at you at 100%.”
Other stand outs for the Bears included Waka Wanahi, who scored a scintillating length of the field try in the first half, Harrison Hughes and Jacob Grant.
Elsewhere in the 13th round of the Coast-2-Coast Earthmoving Cup, a Preston Campbell hat-trick helped Runaway Bay move into fourth place with a 32-24 win over Tweed Heads.
Meanwhile Currumbin Eagles continued their late season resurgence with a 30-14 win over Bilambil.
Round 13 results
BURLEIGH BEARS 50 (Corbin Kiernan 2, Scott Purvis 2, Khan Ahwang, Waka Wanahi, Jacob Grant, Pele Peletelese, Jaiden Hawkes tries Khan Ahwang 7 goals) def TUGUN SEAHAWKS 10 (Tim Matenga, Tu Whakatihi tries Grayson Te Kiri goal)
RUNAWAY BAY SEAGULLS 32 (Preston Campbell 3, Ian Fuaivaa, Joshua Ralph, Gene Ropoama tries Preston Campbell 3, Michael Davis goals) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 24 (Kurtis McDonald, Tim Cassidy, Dave Sheridan, Kobi Mills, Trent Smith tries Sam Foster 2 goals)
CURRUMBIN EAGLES 30 (Sam Karukitoga, Matt Hundy, Scott Tafua, Jason Hackeh, Jarred Wood-Johnson tries Reece Worboys 5 goals) def BILAMBIL JETS 14 (Nic Burns 2, Dion Belford tries Nic Burns goal)
Southport Tigers, bye
Ladder: Burleigh Bears 24, Tugun Seahawks 18, Tweed Heads Seagulls 14, Runaway Bay Seagulls 15, Bilambil Jets 14, Currumbin Eagles 11, Southport Tigers 6