The Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears put away the Townsville Blackhawks 28-22 last night to notch their third win on the trot.
It was a terrific performance from the Bears who ran in six tries to four in an exciting attacking display.
Halfback Jamal Fogarty was the star, scoring a try and having a hand in three others, as the Bears shot out to a 28-12 lead to seal the win.
With the bulk of their injury concerns now finally behind them, the Bears have managed a reasonably consistent 17 over the past three months and the results are telling.
They’ve won six of their past nine games and in that time, they have scored 236 points, which is two thirds of the total points they have scored all season.
The mood was jovial in the Burleigh sheds after the game and coach Jim Lenihan praised his team’s effort, attitude and will to compete on the back of their longest winning run of the season.
“And it’s been against good opposition, too, which is pleasing,” he said.
“I think we’ve been really trying hard in games all year, we’ve just been lacking a bit of polish at times, but since we’ve had Jamal Fogarty and Pat Politoni back, they’ve steered us around and they increase the ability of the players around them at times.
“The effort has been there all year … now we’re in a position where we know we can compete with the top teams and not just compete with them, but beat them as well.”
However, Townsville got on the board first when Anthony Mitchell went down the blindside. He found a charging Blake Leary who powered his way to the line for a 6-0 lead.
Burleigh steadied the ship soon after and forced some repeated sets to build pressure. When the opportunity arose, a nice set piece to the right saw Dallas Wells throw the last pass for Troy Leo to score in the corner.
Townsville regained the advantage when Mitchell darted out of dummy half and scored under the posts, stretching the lead to eight points.
The Bears turned on the flair to cut the margin, as Henare Wells took off down the left-hand sideline in the 34th minute; with a draw-and-pass to Fogarty in support and the Bears trailed by just two at the break.
It was an exciting first half and the game was in the balance, but the Bears came out after halftime and took it away from the visitors.
Fogarty burst through a couple of defenders in the 45th minute, then chipped back on the inside to find Politoni who scored a scintillating try.
Five minutes later, the Bears were in again as Fogarty put in a towering cross field bomb. With a pack of players competing, the ball found the ground and bounced favourably for Connor Broadhurst who put it down to score.
A shift to the left in the 67th minute saw Fogarty throw a long ball to Sami Sauiluma. With some space and time to work with, Sauiluma was too big and too good to stop as he powered to another Burleigh try.
Broadhurst went over again in the 73rd off a Chris Law pass to guarantee the win.
Two consolation tries in the last five minutes for the Blackhawks wasn’t enough to dampen the mood as the Bears clinched victory over Townsville for the second time this year.
BURLEIGH BEARS 28 (Connor Broadhurst 2, Troy Leo, Jamal Fogarty, Patrick Politoni, Sami Sauiluma tries; Jamal Fogarty 2 goals) def TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 22 (Blake Leary 2, Anthony Mitchell, Paul Byrnes tries; Carlin Anderson 3 goals) at Pizzey Park.