A hat trick to Anthony Don helped the Burleigh Bears defeat the Northern Pride 24-14 at Pizzey Park.
'The Don' was on fire in his second appearance for the Bears this season, leaping high for his first try, coming from the opposite side of the field to support for his second and running the length of the field off an intercept for his third.
With five tries in his two appearances, Bears coach Jimmy Lenihan was unsurprisingly happy to welcome Don back to the club where he made his name before going on to become the Titans’ greatest try-scorer.
“He has played a lot of NRL and is a well-established NRL player, but the fact that he came through Burleigh and got his opportunity through Burleigh means he feels really comfortable at the club and plays with the respect that the local guys love,” Lenihan said.
“Hopefully he can play a few more games for us and get a few more tries.”
Don’s treble was the highlight of a scrappy game played in front of a bumper crowd gathered for Burleigh’s annual reunion day.
He opened the scoring in the eighth minute when he brought down a Jamal Fogarty bomb on the right wing.
Match: Bears v Pride
Round 21 -
Venue: Pizzey Park, Gold Coast
A Troy Leo break down the left wing led to Don’s second in the 19th minute, as he loomed in support to score on the other side of the field.
Blake Leary, playing his second Intrust Super Cup game of the season, got on the board in the 27th minute after running onto a short ball from Conner Toia.
It was an exciting return for Toia, playing at five-eighth, as it was his first Intrust Super Cup game for the Bears since 2015.
After stints with Souths Logan and Runaway Bay, Toia has returned to the Burleigh system in 2019 and after a stellar season in A Grade earned his recall.
“He has been going really good playing the same kind of style in our local A Grade side and I thought he went really well for us today,” Lenihan said.
“It’s really good that we’ve got those interchangeable parts in our club now, that we can be in a position to call Conner up and he has really good experience, plays well and does a really good job for us.”
Leading 12-0 at the break, the Bears were gifted six points straight after halftime when a yawning gap opened up under the posts for Jeff Lynch to stroll over.
The conversion from Jamal Fogarty took the Bears halfback past 800 career points in the Intrust Super Cup.
Don’s length of the field intercept in the 46th stretched the lead out to 24-0 and left little doubt about the result for the last half hour.
The Pride, staring down the barrel of their sixth straight loss, managed to pick themselves off the canvas and add some respectability to the score line.
Enari Tuala finally got Northern Pride on the board in the 55th minute when he scooped up a dropped ball, before Quinlyn Cannon snuck over from dummy half in the 72nd.
A Matthew Musumeci try in the 77th on the back of some lovely lead up work by Tuala – who was the Pride’s standout on the day – brought the final margin back to 10 points.
The Burleigh Bears return to Pizzey Park next Sunday when they host the Sunshine Coast Falcons, while the Pride face the Easts Tigers.
Match: Bears v Falcons
Round 22 -
Venue: Pizzey Park, Gold Coast
Earlier in the day Burleigh’s Colts continued their winning streak with a 42-14 victory