The Sunshine Coast Falcons halted Burleigh’s Hastings Deering Colts season after posting a 23-16 win in an exhilarating preliminary final.
Match: Falcons v Bears
Finals Week 3 -
Venue: Pizzey Park, Gold Coast
After trailing 10-0 early in the second half, the Bears fought back to take a 16-10 lead, only for the Falcons to again respond at the end to seal the win.
An intense first half would see just one scoring play, a first minute penalty goal to Tyson Smoothy which gave the visitors a 2-0 halftime lead.
That first half grind made way for a pulsating second half with some electric play.
Another penalty goal took the Falcons out to a 4-0 lead before the first try of the game finally came to a charging Wyatt Reynolds.
Trailing by 10, some individual brilliance from centre Taine Tuapiki sparked the Bears into life.
Tuapiki received the ball just inside the Falcons half of the field, stepped off the left foot to break through the front line, beat the fullback and ran away from the cover defence to score a solo special.
The Falcons were also upping the ante and found several breaks behind the ruck and on their left-hand side.
One of those breaks led to a dropped ball inside the Burleigh half, which Jayden Campbell picked up and seized upon to counterattack.
The fullback weaved through the traffic and ran away to score in the corner and tie the game up.
A Shallin Fueller chip kick led to Burleigh’s next try, as the deflected kick was regathered by support play, went through three sets of quick hands before going back towards the posts where Lane Ticehurst came through to put Burleigh in front.
Sunshine Coast were quick to respond with speed through the middle, as Jaiden Zanchetta finished off another long movement to score next to the posts.
Winger Blake Wilson was a standout for the Falcons, and it was his break that put the visitors back in front with less than five minutes to go. He turned it back inside to Zanchetta who scored the go ahead try.
After regaining the lead, the Falcons made no mistake, marching up the field and kicking a field goal in their next possession to put the game out of reach.
It brought to an end a season that saw the Bears finish equal top of the ladder and unearth some incredible talent sure to hold the club in good stead for the years ahead.
Match: WM Seagulls v Falcons
Grand Final -
Venue: Dolphin Stadium, Brisbane
The Falcons, who finished the season in fourth place, will next weekend face the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the Hastings Deering Colts grand final at Dolphin Stadium.