The experience of the Burleigh Bears shone through as the proved too strong for a spirited Tweed Heads outfit at Piggabeen this afternoon.
Played on a sodden field, the Bears powered their way to an imposing 22-0 score at halftime – and did enough in the second to hold out a fightback from Tweed Heads to claim the 32-12 win.
The final score may make it look like they did it easy – but key periods of the second half would have concerned coach Jim Lenihan, with the Bears once again guilty of starting flat after posting a big first half lead.
They let the Seagulls come back with opening two tries of the second half, the first of which came via fullback Ali Grant who chased hard behind an AJ Brimson grubber kick into the in-goal.
Their second was a less straightforward affair, with halfback Eli Levido putting in a centimetre perfect kick into the in-goal, with Tyronne Roberts-Davis dropping the ball in his attempt to bring it out under heavy traffic, only for Regan Muir to touch the ball done.
That was the only joy on the scoreboard for the home side however, with the Bears doing all the damage early.
Sami Sauiluma proved hard to handle, especially in the first half and played a key role in setting up Burleigh’s first try, attracting plenty of attention from defenders before popping a late offload to the dangerous Roberts-Davis who leapt over athletically in the left-hand corner.
All afternoon, Burleigh’s tries came as one-two punches, and it was only five minutes later that the Bears had their second, with Dallas Wells the recipient of some great team play. Kurtis Rowe made a break through the middle and turned the ball out to the right to Henare Wells who then turned Tweed centre Ryland Jacobs around before passing back inside for his brother to score.
After the Seagulls worked hard to make their way back into the game for the remainder of the half; the Bears were able to deliver a crushing blow, scoring twice in the space of two minutes with Jai Whitbread finishing off another team try before he helped set up Jamal Fogarty after busting through the middle before passing inside to the faster man to establish the dominant lead.
They made have slackened off to start the second half, but the Bears - who the Channel 9 commentators noted boasted 153 games of NRL experience to one for Tweed Heads (Lamar Manuel-Liolevave) - finished the game strongly, with Luke Page finding his way over for a deserved try in the 75th minute, with fellow forward Jamie Dowling icing the result two minutes later after a successful short-side play to the Bears.
Despite the weather, both teams were able to put on an entertaining show and typical of a local derby, there was plenty of feeling in the match.
BURLEIGH BEARS 32 (Tyronne Roberts-Davis, Dallas Wells, Jai Whitbread, Jamal Fogarty, Luke Page, Jamie Dowling tries; Jamal Fogarty 3, Kurtis Rowe goals) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 12 (Alex Grant, Regan Muir tries; Eli Levido 2 goals) at Piggabeen Sports Complex.