Fogarty return helps down star-studded Tigers

After close to two months out of rugby league with an ankle injury, Burleigh spearhead Jamal Fogarty has returned with a two-try effort to lead the Bears to a 26-18 victory against Easts.

Despite a star-studded backline including NRL-graded Brodie Croft, Cheyse Blair and Young Tonumaipe'a, Easts stumbled to their seventh loss from 10 games.

Fogarty could have been forgiven for being tentative in his return to the paddock, having last played against Souths Logan on March 31, where he was a casualty in an awkward tackle.

Yet the Beaudesert Kingfishers' junior was first to trouble the scoreboard at CBUS Super Stadium, as the Bears and Tigers played the curtain-raiser to the Gold Coast Titans v Newcastle Knights NRL clash

He touched down in the sixth minute when Pat Politoni burst into the backfield after taking a quick tap and caught the Tigers napping. Fogarty loomed in support and went in under the sticks to give the Bears an early lead.

It was hooker and half combining at the other end as well as Tigers halfback Brodie Croft burst through the line and turned it back inside for Billy Walters to even the scores.

The first half settled into a solid arm wrestle until more work from Fogarty gave Burleigh the ascendancy.

In the 31st minute he turned the ball inside to a charging Josh Ailaomai. Fogarty backed up the line break again and was rewarded with a first-half double, giving Burleigh a six-point lead at halftime.

The Bears took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half, with three quick tries putting the game out of reach.

Ailaomai, who was a stand-out off the bench, led the charge with some massive carries and along with the rest of the Burleigh side they lifted the physical intensity.

Blake Leary carried three defenders over from close range on the left-hand side in the 41st minute, before Toby McIntosh carried two defenders over to score on the same blade of grass eight minutes later.

Troy Leo scored his 16th try in his 16th Intrust Super Cup appearance, again on the left-hand side, in the 53rd minute to give the Bears a 20-point lead.

Easts responded with a Linc Port try in the 57th minute to give the visitors some hope, but the damage was already done.

Billy Walters, who was a consistent threat for the Tigers, set up a consolation try for Scott Drinkwater in the final minute of play, cutting the final margin to eight points.

For Burleigh, there were several team adjustments coming into the game, in addition to Fogarty's return.

Jamie Dowling switched from the centres to the second row, while Henare Wells returned to the Burleigh line-up at centre, following a last-start loss to Townsville.

Former State of Origin forward Ben Hannant again came off the bench for Burleigh, with speculation he may be in line for a surprise NRL recall before the end of 2018

The win guarantees Burleigh will retain top spot on the Intrust Super Cup ladder for at least another week.

Next round will see Burleigh host Mackay at Pizzey Park on Saturday, while Easts are away to local rivals Wynnum Manly on Sunday.

Full scoring details and final team lists available at QRL.COM.AU.

BURLEIGH BEARS 26 (Jamal Fogarty 2, Blake Leary, Toby McIntosh, Troy Leo tries; Tyronne Roberts-Davis 3 goals) def EASTS TIGERS 18 (Billy Walters, Linc Port, Scott Drinkwater tries; Brayden Torpy 3 goals) at CBUS Super Stadium Gold Coast.