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Young Bears look to build on opening win against Tweed

The Cyril Connell Challenge launched the 2022 season last Sunday with Burleigh Bears taking on their coastal rivals Tweed Seagulls in what was to be the only game played in the round.

The Bears claimed bragging rights after putting in a strong performance and while the conditions may not have been bright, the play from Burleigh was, with Sunny Kama scoring the competition’s opening try in the fifth minute. The team went on with the match from there, dominating the match to secure a 28-0 victory.

Bears coach Paul Kuhemann was delighted with his team’s Round 1 performance, but knew this weekend, his side would face a rested-up Souths Logan Magpies outfit that would present formidable challenge.

“I don’t think the Magpies not playing last week is going to matter too much,” Kuhemann said in the lead-up to this Saturday’s game at Pizzey Park, which is being livestreamed on, like all statewide competitions games.

“We certainly weren’t happy with our first half, we were only up by four and we completed three of 16 sets in the first.

“In the second half, we fixed those things and the score took care of itself.

“It wasn’t an easy game to play; the conditions were difficult, and you just had to adapt to the type of game.”

The Burleigh Bears Cyril Connell Challenge team warm up. Photo: Burleigh Bears
The Burleigh Bears Cyril Connell Challenge team warm up. Photo: Burleigh Bears

In preparation for their Round 2 match, the team will no doubt be looking at their competition rate against the Seagulls which sat at 62 per cent, something they will need to improve on to make sure the Magpies don’t open their season with a win.

What the Bears did well, however, was use the ball when they did have it with four-line breaks to zero and 40 tackle breaks. The Bears defence was also outstanding, only missing 16 tackles.

“I was really happy with our defence, we didn’t have to defend our line too much, but the defence we did do kept Tweed from attacking in good position,” Kuhemann said.

Second rower Jye Watton topped the tackle count for the Bears with 22, while centre Sam Stephenson ran the ball with purpose, making 159 metres and scoring one try.

“I was really happy with our back row, they kept everything nice and tight in defence; Watton, (Khoda) Young and (Jac) Finigan were great for us.

“This week is another challenge, we have played our first game and won and now we need to back it up.”

In this weekend’s other games, Tweed will feature again and play their second game of the season when they host Redcliffe Dolphins in Tugun.

Up north at BB Print Stadium, home side Mackay Cutters will come up against the Central Queensland Capras with both sides eyeing off an early victory.

Barlow Park in Cairns will host a northern derby match between Northern Pride and Townsville Blackhawks in a showcase of the region’s young talent.

Wide Bay Bulls will get their campaign underway against the Sunshine Coast Falcons in Kingaroy, with the game moved to the peanut capital from Eskdale Park in Maryborough.

Still in central Queensland and Toowoomba’s Clive Berghofer Stadium will host the first official foray of the newly named Western Clydesdales.

The club announced their return to the Clydesdales moniker late last season and will face Ipswich Jets in the first of four matches being staged at the stadium on Sunday between the two clubs who will also play a Hastings Deering Colts trial.

The final match of the round will see Brisbane Tigers take their home match to Leo Williams Oval to take on Norths Devils.

Coach Lote Tuqiri spoke last week in the lead-up to his side’s ultimately postponed match against Redcliffe Dolphins, saying he was “very proud to be involved with the competition” which bore the name of noted talent scout Cyril Connell.

This year, you can watch QRL statewide competition matches at This weekend, the QPlus launch offer of free access to all opening round games remains, given the false start to Round 1 last weekend.

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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