Beenleigh Pride pulled off one of the biggest escape acts in the Brisbane Second Division this season, downing the Bulimba Bulldogs 30-12 in a bruising encounter played at Bill Norris Oval Beenleigh on Saturday.
Led by the Pride’s indestructible captain Craig Chapman, the experienced halfback tore apart the Bulldogs in one of the most inspirational performances this year in the Open 1 Southside competition.
It did appear however that Bulimba were going to put the Pride to the sword early on after they went in to score after seven minutes, courtesy of second rower Sam Setu.
But, the Bulldogs were made to work for their second try which came after exposing a Pride defensive lapse and they snuck in for another four-pointer beside the uprights.
A scrappy opening 30 minutes saw both sides fail to control the ball and with Bulimba missing regular starters Tai Betham and Cameron Joyce, the Bulldogs began to crumble at the back end of the opening half.
This is where Chapman came into his own for the Pride.
The halfback responded to Bulimba’s suffocation of early tries with a superb step off his left foot and the nippy half crashed in under the sticks right on the halftime hooter for the Pride’s first points, which saw the Bulldogs go to the break leading 12-6.
With the second half barely starting, the Pride looked the more vicious of the two sides with some punishment being dealt out up the middle.
Second rower Matt Domek and prop Wes Forsyth were outstanding in the Prides resurgence.
The damaging pair of forwards gave as well as they got, if not better, against a massive Bulldogs pack; dominating in the middle of the ruck throughout the second half.
In dramatic fashion, it took less than five minutes for the Pride to level the scores though, after second rower Shayde O’Brien ran a good angle, brushing aside attempted Bulldog tackles to cross for a well-earned try.
Chances fell to Bulimba in patches, however lack of concentration, dropped balls and the Beenleigh pack tackling anything in sight, ensured the Bulldogs squandered any chance of breaking the Pride’s mettle.
In contrast, another Beenleigh try at the 20-minute mark was nothing short of breathtaking. Some clever lead up work by hooker and the effectiveness of Chapman’s kicking game saw the Pride hit the lead for the first time in the game.
Bulimba’s ironmen in Dan Waterson and Jarrod Kendall can definitely hold their heads high in a losing side, as the veteran Bulldogs easily topped the tackle count for their side.
However, this game was being orchestrated by none other than half Chapman. After chipping away at the Bulldogs defence by his forward pack, the halfback was near unstoppable at close range and another step of his right foot saw him slide in again beside the sticks.
At 24-12, the energy from the Bulldogs was slowly waning and as gutsy as they were, their indiscipline late in the game saw Chapman step up and convert a penalty goal from 40m out to further increase the scoreline.
With a fantastic crowd in attendance, the game was sealed in the last minute when electrifying winger John Bosen weaved his way through some tired Bulimba defence and raced away to score a great individual try to see the Pride lift the Ted Beaumont Trophy for the second year running.
Final Score: Beenleigh Pride 30 def Bulimba Bulldogs 12.