The Redcliffe Dolphins and Burleigh Bears kept spectators on their toes at Pizzey Park this afternoon, but it was the Dolphins who finished on top.
The defending premiers - the only team to beat ladder leaders Sunshine Coast Falcons this season - beat the Bears 20-14.
Match: Bears v Dolphins
Round 19 -
Venue: Pizzey Park, Gold Coast
A late try to Izaia Perese helped the Dolphins fend off a Bears comeback to win.
The Dolphins led 12-2 at halftime before the Bears clawed their way back to 14-14 late in the second half.
Burleigh, who had not previously lost at home all season, were coming home with the momentum before the Brisbane Broncos-contracted Queensland Residents representative conjured the 75th minute match-winner.
A big left foot step saw him beat two defenders and accelerate into the backfield, beating the fullback and the cover defence to score near the posts.
It was Perese’s second try of the day and the win helped Redcliffe move clear of the Ipswich Jets and into eighth spot with only four games left to play.
The Bears opened the scoring in the 12th minute through a Jamal Fogarty penalty goal, but it was the visitors who had the early running and the majority of possession.
They were rewarded with the first try in the 17th minute when a Tyson Gamble short ball put Aaron Whitchurch through a gap on the right-hand side.
Redcliffe went the length of the field on the very next set as they broke the Bears open on the right before swinging the ball out to the space on the left for Perese to score in the 20th minute.
A penalty goal just after halftime stretched the Redcliffe lead to 14-2 before Burleigh started to grind their way back into the contest.
Tyronne Roberts-Davis went for a run out of dummy half in the 51st minute, drawing a handful of defenders before flick-passing to Jesse Arthars who scored out wide.
Fifteen minutes later Roberts-Davis went from provider to receiver when he got on the outside of his opposite number thanks to a set play from the scrum feed.
A pair of sideline conversions from Fogarty brought the scores level, but the Bears were unable to complete the comeback with Perese’s left-foot step creating space for the match-winner.
It was Burleigh’s first home loss of the year and compounded by their Round 18 loss to Townsville, it is also the first time the Bears have lost back-to-back games in 2019.
While disappointed with the result on the day, coach Jimmy Lenihan is confident his side are only a few small adjustments away from rediscovering their very best.
“We’ve done a lot of good work to get ourselves in a position where we have an opportunity to finish high on the table,” Lenihan said.
“We just need to get a little bit of rhythm and confidence back.
“To get it back to 14-14 was really good but we just faltered a little bit at the end when the game was in the balance.”
The Bears return to the road next week as they head to PNG to take on the Hunters.
Match: Hunters v Bears
Round 20 -
Venue: Oil Search National Football Stadium, Port Moresby
The Dolphins will continue their quest to wrap up their spot in the finals when they host the Easts Tigers.
Match: Dolphins v Tigers
Round 20 -
Venue: Dolphin Stadium, Brisbane