Burleigh were forced to work hard to end their five-game losing run, as the Seagulls mounted a fightback in the final five minutes; however the Bears did enough early on to walk away with a much-needed shot of confidence.
“It’s nice that they’ve been rewarded for the effort they’ve been putting in all year,” Bears coach Jim Lenihan said after the match.
“I think we just hung in there and held the ball a lot better. In other weeks, we’ve compounded errors on top of other errors and we lacked the experience to make sure our next couple of sets after a mistake are just really simple and working towards getting to a kick.
“Today we did that and we didn’t compound errors on top of errors. It’s a nice reward for the effort we’ve put in but we’ve got a lot of work to go and the next month is really big for us.”
It was a win the Bears were desperate to get, and it showed in the early exchanges as five-eighth Keanu Te Kiri provided a lovely short ball for co-captain Jamie Dowling to charge onto and score the opening try in just the fourth minute.
Te Kiri slotted a penalty goal shortly after to stretch the lead to eight, only for Tweed Heads to hit back in the 20th minute through Lamar Manuel-Liolevave, who trampled over a couple of defenders en-route to the try line.
In a see-sawing first half, the Bears struck again in the 26th minute, when they spread it wide to the left, eventually giving Henare Wells the space to score in the corner, only for the Seagulls to again hit back in the 34th minute when Brayden McGrady stole the ball out of Burleigh’s hands to bring the halftime score to 14-10.
The second half settled into an arm wrestle as both teams and attempted to gain the advantage, with Burleigh landing the significant blow in the 60th minute.
Once again it was the left side attack, with Te Kiri, Dowling and Kurtis Rowe linking to give Wells a saloon passage to the line for his second try of the day.
Another sideline conversion and a 74th minute penalty goal gave the Bears a seemingly comfortable lead, but the Seagulls were desperate to avoid a sixth straight loss and gave the home team a scare at the death.
A pinpoint chip kick from Lindon McGrady set up Brayden McGrady’s second of the day with three minutes remaining. The Seagulls kept throwing the ball around in the dying stages, but it was too late as the Bears held on for their breakthrough win.
Lenihan praised the work of his five-eighth Te Kiri who picked up XXXX Man of the Match honours in just his third Cup game for the club for his perfect day with the boot and his hand in all three Burleigh tries.
He also praised the work of starting props Luke Page and Matt White who laid an outstanding platform throughout the afternoon.
Next week, the Bears travel to Townsville to take on the Blackhawks, while the Seagulls are also on the road and will play Norths Devils at Bishop Park.
BURLEIGH BEARS 22 (Henare Wells 2, Jamie Dowling tries; Keanu Te Kiri 5 goals) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 16 (Brayden McGrady 2, Lamar Manuel-Liolevave tries; Michael Burgess 2 goals) at Pizzey Park.