The Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears stormed to their fourth win in a row, claiming a 38-22 victory over the Wynnum Manly Seagulls at BMD Kougari Oval earlier today.
It was another well-rounded performance from the Bears who looked slick and full of confidence as they ran in seven tries.
For the Seagulls, they were unable to contain Burleigh’s robust attack and it appears their remaining finals chances are now gone.
Bears coach Jim Lenihan praised his side’s collective performance and while they ran up another big score, he said what was more pleasing was the often-overlooked “effort plays” that paved the way for points to be scored.
“We’re working hard on the little things that probably aren’t overly exciting to people, but things like our defence and our ruck work and our effort and energy are all really important to us,” he said.
“Once we do that well and we’re really deliberate in what we’re trying to do; we seem to go a lot better. It’s once we start trying to score points all the time and forgetting about the hard work, that’s when we start to fall down.”
Bears fullback Kurtis Rowe picked up XXXX Man of the Match honours thanks to two tries, two assists and a handful of crucial defensive plays.
After being forced into several positional changes in the opening of the season, the Bears now have a consistent playmaking spine of Rowe, Dallas Wells, Jamal Fogarty and Pat Politoni guiding the team and with seven wins in their past 10 games, their influence is telling.
“I don’t think it’s any coincidence that ever since Jamal came back, Kurty has just been flying,” Lenihan said of his fullback.
“He did all the little things well today; he was on the ball well, covered up all the little 50-50 worries and did it really well.
“Him, Patty and Jamal along with Dallas, who I think is starting to really come into his own, are doing a great job.”
Burleigh opened scoring in the fourth minute when a bit of fortune favoured them. Wynnum winger Jack Goodsell lost a bomb in the sun and dropped it cold. Troy Leo led the chase and took advantage by scooping the ball up and running away to score the opening points.
Leo had an early double in the 10th minute after a nice set piece went all the way to the right wing for a try in the corner.
Wynnum skipper Mitch Frei made the effort to lift his troops by charging onto a short ball from Shaun Nona to bring the gap back to 10-6 in the 18th minute.
The Bears had an answer, though, in the 24th minute when a Rowe cut-out ball put speedster Henare Wells into the clear and he beat several cover defenders to extend the lead to 14-6.
While Burleigh had the upper hand, a couple of missed conversions kept the margin close and the Seagulls took their opportunity as Stedman Lefau twisted his way to the tryline in the shadows of halftime.
Trailing by two at the break, Wynnum surged early in the second half and applied plenty of pressure. They were rewarded in the 43rd minute when Frei nabbed his double to give his side the lead.
But it was short-lived as the Bears clicked into gear soon after. After forcing a repeat set in the 51st minute, they put on a set-play to the left with Jamie Dowling throwing the crucial last pass to Rowe who found the line.
Having regained the lead and the momentum, the Bears went on with the job. Rowe combined with Sami Sauiluma in the 54th minute, then did it himself by slicing through the defence to score his second try in the 67th minute.
Burleigh capped the performance in the 73rd minute when Chris Law put a nicely weighted kick into the in-goal, where Leo was too quick and too committed to be denied as he won the raced and scored his third.
A barnstorming run through the middle by Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard in the 80th minute gave the home fans something to cheer at the death, but it would do little to dampen the spirits of the Bears as they notched a 16-point win.
BURLEIGH BEARS 38 (Troy Leo 3, Kurtis Rowe 2, Henare Wells, Sami Sauiluma tries; Jamal Fogarty 5 goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 22 (Mitch Frei 2, Stedman Lefau, Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard tries; Shaun Nona 3 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.