The Bulimba Bulldogs solidified their standing as one of the most successful local amateur rugby league clubs of the past 10 years by securing a 20-14 victory in the Open 1 Southside Rugby League Brisbane grand final on Saturday.
In front of one of the biggest crowds seen in local Brisbane Rugby League for some years, the Bulldogs came from behind to win their seventh premiership in the past 10 years with their win over Beenleigh Pride.
Scoring didn't get under way until the 15th minute of play, when hardworking Bulimba hooker Josh Few lunged over from dummy half to put the Bulldogs on the board.
Pride's Luke Monk was a pillar of strength throughout and the big bookend was rewarded with Beenleigh's first try seven minutes later, crashing in beside the sticks.
Another standout for the Pride was five-eighth Henry Cope. The powerful New Zealander orchestrated the next try with a beautiful grubber kick which sat up perfectly for second rower Graham Hohapata who slammed the ball down on the chalk to put the Pride in front.
The Pride almost increased the lead even further just before the break, however some terrific defence out-wide by Bulldogs Adam Ogden and Jarrod Joinbee saved the day and kept Bulimba within reach.
Beenleigh were not deterred and came back for the second half with all guns blazing. Cope continued to be magnificent in attack, alongside his halves partner Matt MacCallum, who delivered a pinpoint grubber kick through for his winger Julian Lee.
Lee raced in untouched and gave the Pride a solid lead. Bulimba were under the pump and making errors, but gradually clawed their way back into the contest.
Replacement Bulldog Frank Fualema took matters into his own hands with a driving run to score under the posts, giving the Bulldogs a glimmer of hope.
A defensive lapse in concentration would prove disastrous for the Pride, with Bulldogs stalwart Aaron Brown scoring the try of the game, with a brilliant 30 metre solo effort, barging and bouncing off would-be tacklers to crash over under the sticks.
A melee broke out late in the game and the Bulldogs were reduced to 12 men in a moment that could have proved pivotal, but with two minutes left on the clock halfback Matt Routledge became the hero.
He stepped off both feet and dived over untouched to complete the comeback and secure premiership glory for the Bulldogs.
Rugby League Brisbane Senior Grand Final Results
Northside 1 - Normanby 18 def Pine Central Holy Spirit 14
Northside 2- North Lakes 32 def Aspley 28
Northside 3 - Aspley 52 def North Lakes 12
Southside 1 - Bulimba Valleys 20 def Beenleigh Pride 14
Southside 2 - Greenbank 28 def Logan Brothers 18
Southside 3 - Beenleigh 32 def North Stradbroke 30
* Mike Simpson is a QRL correspondent covering the Rugby League Brisbane senior competitions