A late try to Josh Rogers was the pivotal moment as the Burleigh Bears beat Norths Devils 26-12 at Pizzey Park.
With 15 minutes to go and the Bears holding on to a two-point lead, Rogers came off the bench and took the line on from first receiver.
He burst through the defence and beat the fullback to score a try that broke the back of the visitors and ensured the Bears would beat the Devils for the first time since 2016.
Rogers has been a breakout star for the Bears in 2019, with his continued good form earning him a spot on the bench despite regular starting five-eighth Dylan Phythian returning from injury in recent weeks.
Phythian was also strong, especially with his early kicking game, and coach Jimmy Lenihan praised the ability of both men to provide what the team needs at different stages of the contest.
“(Josh) is digging into the line really nicely and at the moment when the game gets a bit frayed it’s nice to chuck on a ball-player who is a bit clinical,” Lenihan said.
“Josh is able to straighten us up and get a bit of control back into our game. It’s working nicely at the moment; we’ve just got to keep it going.”
Devils were first on the scoreboard with a seventh minute penalty goal, but it was Bears who had the better of the opening exchanges, running in tries in the 14th and 25th minute.
First it was Jacob Hind who dove on a well-placed Dylan Phythian grubber kick, before Sami Sauiluma muscled over with brute force to score from close range.
The Devils had won the last four encounters between the two sides and managed to turn the game in their favour approaching halftime.
Match: Bears v Devils
Round 14 -
Venue: Pizzey Park
Troy Dargan was outstanding at halfback and was rewarded with an opportunistic kick-and-chase try in the 34th minute, bringing the Devils within a converted try at the break.
They came out swinging in the second half as the game descended into an arm wrestle, closing the gap to just two points when a pin-point Dargan kick sent Paul Uhlberg over in the left corner.
With the game ripe for the taking, it was Rogers who delivered in the 65th minute, taking the line on with a big dummy and surging into the backfield to score the crucial try.
An Oliver Percy try in the 73rd minute sealed Burleigh’s eighth win in their last nine games.
Bears will face Ipswich Jets in Round 15 on June 29.
Match: Jets v Bears
Round 15 -
Venue: North Ipswich Reserve
Devils will take on Easts Tigers.
Match: Tigers v Devils
Round 15 -
Venue: Langlands Park