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Breayley-Nati stars as Brown's golden boot sends Bears to BHP big dance

The Burleigh Bears have booked their spot in next weekend’s inaugural BHP Premiership grand final after a nail-biting 18-16 win over the North Queensland Gold Stars at Totally Workwear Stadium.

Down 16-0 at the break, the Bears fought their way back thanks largely to two tries from dummy-half Brittany Breayley-Nati to set up a decider between the top two teams in the competition.

The Gold Stars came out firing in the opening stages, with fullback Romy Teitzel barging her way over for her ninth try of the season to give North Queensland an early lead.

Tries soon after to edge forward Shaniah Power and winger Lauren Moss put the Gold Stars in the box seat with a 16-0 lead heading into the break.

Shaniah Power dives over. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL
Shaniah Power dives over. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL

Despite some spirited goal line defence from North Queensland to start the second half, mounting possession became too much to handle with Brealey-Nati picking up two almost identical tries within 13 minutes to reduce the margin to just four points.

With just eight minutes remaining, Burleigh halfback Zahara Temara swept across field to put her winger Jetaya Faifua over, before Lauren Brown nailed the conversion from near the sideline to give the Bears their first lead of the match.

Tahnee Norris' women were able to grind out the dying minutes despite the desperate attacking raids by the Gold Stars, but it wasn't enough to deny the 2020 Holcim Cup winners a second crack at knocking off the girls in royal blue after going down to the minor premiers in last week's final regular round game.

Zahara Temara. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL
Zahara Temara. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL

Speaking post-match after accepting the Hastings Deering Player of the Match award, Breayley-Nati gave credit to the effort the Gold Stars showed, but it was ultimately the team's second half pact of unity that got them home.

"The Gold Stars put it to us the last time we played them, but I didn't get to play them last night unfortunately due to suspension, but this week I was able to play against some of the girls I used to play with in Far North Queensland and they really gave it to us," the Queensland and Australian hooker said.

"They put 16 points on us in the first half and we got a bit of a revving from the coach and we all decided that we needed to become connected and stay together as a team and grind it out and if it went our way, we knew we'd come away with the win at the end.

"We really built as a family today and were strong right across the park. Millie Boyle was a standout for us - she got my three points. All in all, I thought we all had a good game."

Brittany Breayley-Nati celebrates her Hastings Deering player of the match. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL
Brittany Breayley-Nati celebrates her Hastings Deering player of the match. Photo: Scott Davis/QRL

The Bears will head into next Sunday's grand final against the Valleys Diehards knowing they'll be in for a tough battle.

"[The game against Valleys] is all about how we build this week and the best team of the week will come away with the win," Breayley-Nati said.

"We hope that will be us, but we know it's going to be a bit of a grind next week."

The grand final will be broadcast live and free on and the QRL Facebook page next Sunday from 4pm.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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