The Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears at home slumped to their ninth defeat of 2017, 28-4 at the hands of the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls on Sunday (May 21).
The Bears were again right in the contest at halftime, trailing just 10-4, but some defensive lapses in the 20-minutes after the break saw the game slip away as the visitors squeezed Burleigh out of it.
“Early on I thought we were looking pretty good,” Bears coach Jim Lenihan said after the Pizzey Park clash.
“We looked fast and pretty slick, but I think we probably lost it with the way we came out after halftime. We really struggled with controlling their speed on the ground and we just got blown off the park.
“I think coming into halftime the score was a fair representation, we were in the contest, but in that 20 minutes after halftime our defence, which has really been the one constant that has been going OK for us this year, went out the window a bit.”
Seagulls hooker Jayden Berrell was electric out of dummy half and picked off tired defenders time and again, scoring one try and having a hand in Wynnum’s two other second-half tries.
Wynnum’s experienced halves pairing of Travis Burns and Matt Seamark also steered the team around impressively on the back of a dominant forward pack.
Burleigh on the other hand fielded another new halves pairing with Jacob Grant and Dallas Wells getting their first shots at Cup for the year.
First choice halfback Harry Siejka was pencilled in to make his return from injury, but a rolled ankle at training on Thursday night took him out of contention for at least another week.
“We might burn the 7 jersey, I think,” Lenihan quipped after the game.
“There is a curse on our 7 jersey because Harry Siejka was going to play this week and hurt himself on Thursday, and 10 minutes into the game today Jacob Grant did his hamstring and played the whole game with a busted hamstring.”
Grant played through the pain and got through the 80 minutes, but the injury did restrict him and prevented him from being able to kick for the rest of the day.
In addition to Grant and Wells in the halves, Tyler Sparks and Daymeric Pelo received the call-up and came off the bench.
Heart and effort were again on display, but they were simply outplayed by a Wynnum side that were desperate for victory.
Standouts for the home side included usual suspects such as Luke Page and Matt White up front, while Henare Wells and Kurtis Rowe looked dangerous all afternoon.
“We’re lucky to have those blokes. For all the effort that goes on out there I don’t think we’re getting the rewards at the moment,” Lenihan said.
“Losing is contagious so you often find ways to lose when you’re down on confidence, likewise when you’re winning you find ways to win.
“We are where we are at the moment, there’s no hiding behind anything, we’ve just got to keep working at getting better.”
With victory the Seagulls claimed the Adam Watene (Cook) trophy. The trophy is played for annually in honour of former Bears premiership winner and Seagull player Adam Watene, who passed away suddenly aged just 31 in 2008.
“I played with him and he was a great bloke. It’s a really sad situation,” Lenihan said.
“But I guess it’s good that we do this every year and that there are a lot guys playing now that probably wouldn’t know who he is otherwise. There are still a lot of people around the club and ex-players who played with him who certainly remember who he is and this day reminds you of him every time you play it.”
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 28 (Daniel Ogden 2, Aaron Rockley, Jayden Berrell, Travis Burns tries; Mathew Seamark 3, Travis Burns goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 4 (Kurtis Rowe try) at Pizzey Park.