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Flashy Bears looking for improved defence against Jets

The Burleigh Bears will be looking for an improved defensive effort when they face Ipswich Jets in Round 2 of the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup this Saturday.

In the opening half of their Round 1 clash with Norths, the Bears conceded 32-points, with five tries being run in within the first 18 minutes.

The Bears managed to stem the flow of points, before rallying to secure a remarkable 38-38 draw at Bishop Park.

“It was a funny old game,” Bears coach Roy Leoni said.

“We didn’t touch the ball until probably the 11th minute so we were on struggle street a little bit there, but to the credit of the boys they really dug in.

"It could have easily blown out to a bigger score.

“I think we went into the sheds at 32-18 and we said ‘look, we need to fix this, we need to be better at the things we want to do in terms of our contact and our defence,’ and to the boys’ credit they turned it around and put in a big performance and came within a whisker of winning that game.

“I’m proud of the boys. It’s never easy to go up to Norths and win up there, so to take one point away is a minor victory.”

Leoni has named an unchanged 17 for their Round 2 clash with the Jets. It’s a talented lineup, boosted by the likes of former Queensland Under 16s representatives William Evans, Ryan Garner and Alofiana Khan-Periera.

Evans and Garner also featured in the 2018 NRL Schoolboys Cup national final playing for Palm Beach Currumbin.

Ryan Garner and Will Evans (background) representing Palm Beach Currumbin.
Ryan Garner and Will Evans (background) representing Palm Beach Currumbin.

All three will be in action again this weekend when the Bears host the Jets at Pizzey Park.

The Jets’ Round 1 experience saw them rack up 32-points in their win over the Townsville Blackhawks.

Given that the Bears and Jets scored a combined 80 points between them in Round 1, this is set to be another spectacle.

Points come natural to both sides, so it’s likely the side who puts in the better defensive effort will walk away with the win.

“Ipswich’s 18s and 20s play like their Cup side, so they like to throw the ball around,” Leoni said.

“For us, I think it will be the first time our 18s have ever played against a side like that, so it’s not necessarily about your condition physically against a side like that, it’s a mental battle to stay in there because they’re going to be going from side-to-side and looking for offloads.

“A big thing for us this week will be mentally preparing the boys to sustain long periods of defending.

"It will be fun, it’s always an entertaining game, last week we put 38 points on Norths so who knows what could happen this week if both teams throw it around, but we’ll be looking for a better defensive effort.”

Kick-off between the Bears and Jets is at 12.45pm on Saturday at Pizzey Park.

Elsewhere in Round 2 of the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup - the Dolphins host the Falcons, the Cutters take on the Magpies, the Devils face the Tigers, Wynnum Manly travel to take on the Capras, the Tweed Seagulls are at home against the Blackhawks and the Western Mustangs take on the Northern Pride at Gold Park.

Full draw available here

Main Image: File image of Burleigh Bears Meninga Cup - QRL Media