Burleigh Bears fullback Kurtis Rowe has declared his dream of returning to the NRL as “very much alive” after being awarded the Duncan Hall Medal for his performance in the 28-10 Intrust Super Cup grand final win over Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
Rowe, who played eight NRL games for the Wests Tigers in 2014, scored two tries and defended like a demon at Dolphin Stadium to save several certain tries in a stellar performance.
The 25-year-old was always a threat with the ball and his display will no doubt capture the attention of NRL clubs.
“I got some interest at the Cowboys and Cronulla in 2016 and I played down at Wests Tigers for five years coming out of school,” Rowe said.
“Having that experience in the NRL has really helped me in the Intrust Super Cup.
“The dream is very much still alive and I would take it with both hands but I am enjoying it here at Burleigh.
“Our coach Jimmy Lenihan is just unreal. He is smart and knows how to get the best out of players.”
Rowe was a member of the 2016 Bears outfit that last won the title and said the current team was in the same league.
“This one is just as good. It is a different team but I couldn’t play with a better bunch of blokes, so to win this is special,” Rowe said.
“Pagey [Luke Page] led the way and a lot of the credit should do to Jamal Fogarty as well. He is a real leader for our team as well and I thought [five-eighth] Dylan Pythian stepped up too.”
Try saving tackles on rampaging forward Lachlan Lee and centre Delouise Hoeter in the second half epitomised Rowe’s courage and class.
“It is a 50/50 call that you have got to make one-on-one, but you’ve got to make them for the team,” Rowe said.
Post match: Duncan Hall Medal winner Kurtis Rowe
Fogarty said Rowe had a brilliant all-round game.
"Kurtis is a freak. He doesn't get much credit for what he does but kick-returns he carves it up, out the back of us halves he carves it up and in defence he talks and communicates and puts his body on the line," Forgarty said.
“I have the utmost respect for him.
“I don’t know what he does in the off-season. All I ever see him do is drink beer so I might have to join him to get fit.”
Rowe’s tries came on the back of a pinpoint kick by Pythian and a grubber and regather by Fogarty where he loomed up in support.
The Bears were able to capitalise on their breaks while Wynnum Manly skipper Mitch Cronin said his side just fell short in that department.
“I thought we were on top at the start of the second half where we made a couple of line breaks but just couldn’t capitalise,” Cronin said.
“Everything they did well they capitalised on but we will learn from it. They were just too good.
“Considering the last few years we were towards the bottom of the ladder I thought our year was outstanding. We have showed we were one of the best all year and we deserved our chance to be here at the big dance.”
Match: WM Seagulls v Bears
Grand Final -
Venue: Dolphin Stadium, Brisbane