The Central Queensland Capras upset the I Luv Coffee Burleigh Bears 38-32 at Pizzey Park in a high-scoring shoot out yesterday.
The visitors shot out to a 22-4 lead in the first half, and while the Bears clawed their way back into the contest at various stages, defensive lapses continued to cost them in the second half and they were not able to secure a fourth straight win.
“We just leaked too many points,” a frustrated Bears coach Jim Lenihan said, pulling no punches with his post-match comments.
“It’s probably two weeks in a row now where we’ve not showed a lot of commitment in our defence and we paid the price today.
“I don’t think we showed enough commitment and I think we were arrogant and complacent at the end of the day. We thought we could go out there, go through the motions and get the win and clearly we didn’t.
“We showed signs in the second half that we might have gotten on the right page eventually, but we shouldn’t have to wait until half time to get our mental approach right and want to play.
“We’ve got to be a side that can grind out games instead of just relying on being flashy. At the moment we can score points and score bizarre tries at times, but what we really struggle with is the ability to grind games out through tough, tenacious will.”
The home side walked away from the contest rueing missed opportunities, but for the Capras it was a vital win on the road against a Bears outfit that led the competition coming into the contest.
It didn’t take them long to get going, as Maipele Morseau and Brandon Manase combined to send Adam Henry over just seven minutes into the game.
It should have been a wakeup call for the Bears, but alarm bells were certainly ringing five minutes later when Sampson Graham went in under the posts to extend the lead to 10-0.
Lachlan Burr, who along with Cameron Cullen, made his way to Pizzey Park at the last minute after they were not required for the Titans at Robina an hour earlier, was instrumental in getting Burleigh on the board, as his offload provided space for Kurtis Rowe to score in the corner.
But it was the Capras who were dominant early and Morseau again went left in the 24th minute and finished off his own set play to score a try of his own.
When Aleki Falepaini burst through the middle to score the Capras were up 22-4 and looked in total control.
The Bears were on the ropes and finally responded with some fire in the 36th minute when Nathaniel Peteru muscled his way over from close range to bring Burleigh within two converted tries at the break.
Burleigh came out of the sheds all guns blazing in the second half and scored twice in 10 minutes to draw scores level.
Prop Josh Ailaomai led the way with several immense charges up the middle which set up opportunities for Pat Politoni and Peteru to score tries.
Sadly, for the home side, their good work was quickly undone in the 53rd minute as Junior Kirisome scored a soft try in the corner.
Morseau sent the ball high three minutes later and Peter Gallen leapt above the pack and brought the ball down to score, giving the Capras their buffer back in minutes.
In the 60th minute, Jamie Dowling and Tyler Chadburn combined to give the Bears another sniff, but a try to Manase in the 69th minute put it to bed.
Burleigh’s forwards came extremely hard through the middle and a Capras error handed Rowe his second try of the day in the 72nd minute, but the Bears didn’t have enough to steal victory away from a Capras team that had earned an important win.
Capras coach Kim Williams said he was proud of his team’s performance and talked up the representative potential of five-eighth Morseau and centre Manase.
The pair were destructive on the left hand side of the field and were instrumental in the win.
“I reckon if they haven’t been our best two this year so far, they’ve been very close to it,” Williams said.
“I hope the selectors are taking a bit of notice. I think they are both worthy of playing at a higher level if they can maintain that consistency.
“They were very good today; it was our game plan to go out to that edge and I thought we stuck it pretty well and executed it very well.
“We wanted to throw the ball around a little bit today and play with a little bit more width and I think for the most part that worked.”
CQ CAPRAS 38 (Adam Henry, Samson Graham, Maipele Morseau, Aleki Falepaini, Junor Kirisome, Peter Gallen, Brandon Manase tries; Matthew Minto 5 goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 32 (Nathaniel Peteru 2, Kurtis Rowe 2, Pat Politoni, Tyler Chadburn tries; Jamal Fogarty 4 goals) at Pizzey Park.