Easts Tigers fired a warning shot ahead of the Intrust Super Cup finals with a 32-12 win over the Burleigh Bears at Suzuki Stadium.
The Tigers were polished as they ran in six tries to two, ending Burleigh’s five-game winning streak in style.
Fresh off a starring role in the NRL a week prior, halfback Brodie Croft returned to steer the ship for the Tigers while his livewire halves partner Billy Walters did much of the creative damage.
It took less than two minutes for Walters to make his presence felt as he put it on a platter for a charging Jake Foster to cut through the Burleigh defence and score the opening try.
Easts were off to a flying start when big Charlie Galo showed impressive strength to bump off several defenders and power to the line to make it 12-0 after 17 minutes.
Burleigh were caught wanting early, but started to work their way back into the contest mid-way through the first half.
After the Bears worked their way up the field and forced a repeat set, the Tigers defence raced up on Jamal Fogarty, who stepped off his left foot and found the narrowest of paths to the tryline.
The joy was short-lived for the visitors however, as the ensuing kick-off found touch and put the Tigers immediately back on the attack.
Not in the mood to let opportunities slip, the Tigers capitalised when Croft kicked for Conor Carey to score and stretch the lead back to 16-12.
While the Bears were outplayed in the first half, they were hanging in and remained close enough if good enough at the break.
However, the Tigers came out with guns blazing and put the game to bed shortly after the break.
Shane Neumann celebrated his 150th game with a 44th minute try, Tommy Butterfield scored an opportunistic try out of dummy half in the 49th minute and Walters created a try on the shortside for Jarred McInally in the 53rd minute.
Suddenly it was 32-6 and the Tigers had it all wrapped up.
But Burleigh refused to die wondering and Fogarty scored his second try of the day in the 58th minute when he broke into the backfield, chipped over the fullback and regathered to score, but the margin was too much to overcome.
The Tigers march on to September while the Bears’ season is at its end.
Burleigh coach Jim Lenihan was disappointed to end the season with a loss, but was complimentary of his opposition’s performance on the night.
“I think they were probably the best side that we’ve come up against for a while,” he said.
“If they can keep that side on the park, I think they’re a really good chance of winning it. Our effort was there, they’re just a red-hot team at the moment.”
EASTS TIGERS 32 (Jake Foster, Charlie Galo, Conor Carey, Shane Neumann, Tommy Butterfield, Jarrod McInally tries; Billy Walters 4 goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 12 (Jamal Fogarty 2 tries; Jamal Fogarty 2 goals) at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park.