The Burleigh Bears have claimed their fourth straight SEQ Women's Division 1 title after downing the West Brisbane Panthers 14-0 in their decider at Cbus Super Stadium.
In a physical game where both teams threw themselves into their work defensively; it was the experience and class of the Bears that won out over a spirited Panthers side who had defied all the odds to make it to the final.
Played in front of a growing crowd before the NRL Women in League Round 22 match between the Gold Coast Titans and Penrith Panthers; supporters were treated to what turned into an impressive display from both sides after their initial nerves early in the game subsided.
It was the versatile Rona Peters who was able to crack the line first for the Bears; crashing over to the left of the uprights just over 10 minutes into the match.
Converted by Keri-Jade Robertson, the Bears had the lead in a game where points proved hard to come by.
However, off the back of some possession; they were in again in the far left corner when Amber Pilley went over with 13 minutes left in the half. This time the conversion was missed and the Bears had a 10-0 lead which they took into halftime.
The second saw end-to-end action with both sides making breaks; only to be shut down or pushed into touch.
Wests were trying to get the ball out to their speedy Brisbane Broncos winger Julia Robinson; but the Bears were awake to the play and always had someone ready to over her.
The closest the Panthers got to scoring was when powerful centre Caitlyn Taleni went over with 26 minutes left to play; but was held up by the committed Burleigh defence who did not relent all afternoon.
It was a commendable performance from a side missing some key players (none more so than Jillaroos and Queensland State of Origin prop Heather Ballinger who was unable to overcome injury in time to play the decider); the Panthers never gave up and pushed hard in an attempt to crack the line.
However, the class of the Bears was too strong with a number of players challenging Peters for player of the match honours; including Sydney Roosters-bound duo in forward Tazmin Gray and five-eighth Zahara Temara.
The Bears would score once more to seal the match after great backline play gave Tarnisha Lyons the ball out wide and she was over in the right corner.
Overall, it was a good display of women's rugby league that bodes well for what the players will be able to showcase in the upcoming NRL Women's Premiership.
In a further boost that showed just how far the women's game has come in recent seasons; the match was also televised live with FOX Sports broadcasting the game.
Burleigh 14 (Rona Peters, Amber Pilley, Tarnisha Lyons tries; Keri-Jade Robertson goal) def West Brisbane Panthers 0 at Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast on Saturday, August 11, 2018
Player of the Match: Rona Peters (Burleigh Bears)