The top-of-the-table Burleigh Bears survived an almighty scare from the CQ Capras, earning themselves a 28-20 win in front of a healthy crowd at Marley Brown Oval, Gladstone.
Played at the early time of 11.45am as a curtain-raiser to the NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and Manly; the home crowd may have been disappointed with the final result – but were surely entertained by the high-scoring match.
They can also be proud of their CQ team, who pushed the Bears all the way and even lead in stages of a great match to watch.
As is often the case, it was a penalty that helped start the scoring after a solid start from both side, with hands in n the ball helping the Bears go deep into Capras territory. Once there, Kurtis Rowe made the most of the invitation, and crossed in left-hand side to open the scoring.
The Bears then enjoyed the majority of the possession for the next stages of play, including a line dropout, with Dave Taylor taking the kick for the Capras.
The home side then gave up another penalty; forcing themselves to defend another set of six – but it proved too much when Dallas Wells showed some footwork at the line before reaching out by the right-hand uprights in the 16th minute.
The Capras continued to shoot themselves in the foot with errors when they did finally did get the ball and they continued to invite the Bears to score by giving away penalties.
After gamely defending their own line for repeat sets (including hold up Luke Page who hit and spun his way over); they finally cracked again when hooker Pat Politoni worked the ball left for his side to continue the movement and put Tyronne Roberts-Davis over in the far left corner for a 12-0 lead.
The Capras worked hard to change the momentum and got a penalty off the back of a good kick-return from Junior Kirisome.
While nothing came from that play, they eventually worked their way into the game when five-eighth Blake Goodman scored in the 33rd minute after showing good awareness to take a quite tap with the Bears retreating with the backs turned.
Despite some attention, he was able to get the ball down on the line. However, the conversion from Connor Broadhurst hit the uprights, but local fans were still breathing easier to only be trailing 12-4.
They went back-to-back just before the break following another enthusiastic effort from Kirisome who put in a good chase and was able to bat the ball back before the team swung the ball to the vacant right-hand side for Chanel Seigafo to go over.
The difficult kick for Connor Broadhurst from the eastern touchline was unsuccessful, leaving the halftime score 12-8 to the Bears, with all five conversion attempts from both teams unsuccessful.
The Capras continued their charge in the second half and were the first to score, with Jamie Hill finding that he had been put onside after a kick ahead was touched by the defending Bears.
This time, Broadhurst was able to score against his old team, raising the flags for a conversion for the first time today, earning a Capras lead.
The home side had started to dominate Burleigh and were in again only four minutes later when Dave Cowhan touched the ball down after going for a strong run.
Broadhurst had no trouble again, almost from the same spot to extend it to a 20-12 lead with 10 minutes gone in second half.
With the sniff of an upset in the air; Burleigh lifted and it was reliable performer Politoni who lead the charge, going in under the posts after some strong runs from Josh Rogers and Page had set the platform.
Rogers was able to kick the day’s first successful conversion for the Bears and his side were trailing 20-18.
The momentum had swung and luck was going their way, and despite some messy play in the lead-up – the Bears were able to evade some scrambling defence; allowing Roberts-Davis to go over in the right-hand side to retake the lead 22-20.
This time, the conversion hit the left upright – and with just under 10 to go; it was still anyone’s game.
The Capras continued to show solid goal-line defence – but with three minutes left of the clock; the Bears were able to seal the win when a kick ahead from Rogers hit the legs Capras defenders to give him a perfect rebound back into his arms, before running in under the posts to score.
Next week, the Bears will travel to Bishop Park to play the Devils, while the Capras will face off against Souths at Davies Park.