Sunshine Coast Falcons again showed their class by defeating the Coffee Burleigh Bears 20-14 in a tough and absorbing clash at Pizzey Park.
In a brutal display of finals standard rugby league, the runaway competition leaders held off a spirited Bears who lost three players to serious injuries during the course of play.
Match: Bears v Falcons
Round 22 -
Venue: Pizzey Park, Gold Coast
Siti Moceidreke scored twice and the boot of Todd Murphy was key as the Falcons secured their 21st win of the season.
Burleigh were hit hard by injuries, with Jack Buchanan going off with a foot injury after only six minutes, before Jeff Lynch and Troy Leo both went down with knee issues in the second half. None returned to the action.
It was a game that went down to the wire and despite coming up short, Bears coach Jimmy Lenihan had nothing but pride in his team’s performance.
“With two of the injuries being middles it put a lot of pressure on the rest of our forwards to compete well and I was so happy with what they did against the team that they played,” Lenihan said.
“We talked about physically representing ourselves well today. It’s one thing to say you’re a certain type of player or play a certain type of way, but the way we physically hung in there and did things tough and had consistency in our effort was pleasing.
“The outcome today wasn’t what we wanted, but I couldn’t be prouder as a coach of this group of players and I think the supporters and fans of the Burleigh Bears wouldn’t be upset with how we played today either.”
Sunshine Coast got on the board first when a deflected kick in the 11th minute was swooped upon by Nathan Saumalu who drew the fullback and offloaded to Moceidreke for the opening try.
Another loose ball led to Moceidreke’s second in the 17th minute, as he reeled in a grubber kick and fought his way to the try line for a 12-0 lead.
Burleigh got their first points in the 33rd minute when a Jamal Fogarty bomb was left to bounce. Conner Toia was on the spot and fired the ball out to his left, with Leo racing away to score in the corner, cutting the margin to eight points at the break.
The Falcons struck immediately after halftime by recovering the ball from the kick-off.
Lynch was injured during this set and after a lengthy delay, the visitors went to the left through Nicho Hynes. His short ball found Joe Stimson who strolled over and extended the lead.
A pivotal moment for the Bears came in the 47th minute, when Hynes again went left looking to catch the Bears short.
This time, the ball was intercepted by Tyronne Roberts-Davis, who went the length of the field to score and get Burleigh back in the contest.
With a vocal home crowd behind them, the Bears began to lift and peppered the Falcons line, before an injury to Leo and a disallowed try for Dylan Phythian halted their momentum.
The Falcons seized their opportunity and a perfectly weighted grubber from Murphy led to a Chris Lewis try in the 64th minute.
Roberts-Davis scored his double in the 68th minute when he was the beneficiary of a Fogarty grubber kick, but the Bears ran out of time as the Falcons closed out another win.
The Bears hit the road next week, travelling to Rockhampton to take on the Capras.
Match: Capras v Bears
Round 23 -
Venue: Browne Park, Rockhampton
The Sunshine Coast will finish their regular season at home against the Ipswich Jets.
Match: Falcons v Jets
Round 23 -
Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast