Burleigh Bears coach Luke Burt might be a Split Enz fan and singing History Never Repeats this week as the Bears prepare to face Central Queensland Capras in week one of the Hostplus Cup finals.
The Bears have finished minor premiers for the second year in a row but want to change the song and what happens from here.
Last season, the Bears lost to Norths by a point in week one and had to come the hard way around to beat the Capras in week two, but then lost to Redcliffe and didn’t make the grand final.
In 2021, it was a loss to Wynnum and 22-14 in week one, a win over Souths Logan and then out to Norths in week three.
Burt had a front row seat in 2021 and 2022 as assistant coach, and in his first year in charge has taken the Bears back to the top.
Now the next obstacle for Luke Burt and his Bears is finals starting on Saturday at home.
“I don’t think we need to address it, we have made the last two prelim finals,” Burt said.
“We aren’t doing too much wrong.
“We still have things to improve on and things we are working on.
“I think our attention to detail can improve.”
Burt is sure what wins finals.
“Defence, that’s what every coach is going to say, we know that defence is going to beat the Capras,” Burt said.
“They offload and have big bodies so if you can’t stop them and wrap that ball up, you’re chasing them."
At the core of the Bears’ finals resurrection story will be a group of dual premiership winners; Sami Sauiluma, Hayden Schwass and Pat Politoni won the Hostplus Cup with the Bears in 2016 and 2019, while Tyrone Roberts won two premierships with Norths in 2021 and 2022.
That experience is going to be vital for the Bears.
“Our experienced group is going to be very important in finals, they know what it looks like and they know what wins finals.” Burt said.
Pat Politoni has played 138 games for the Bears, won two premierships and is in great form. Last round against the Blackhawks he played 80 minutes, saved two tries and made 44 tackles.
Politoni has touched the ball 12,068 times in those 138 games, and the Bears will need all of those touches and experience of 'Mr September' in the finals.
The Bears hooker has only missed finals once since 2016.
“That core group of Bears are important. It may not be something they do in the game but it may be a word here regarding preparation that will turn a game,” Politoni said.
“I think that experience we have in September can only help. Yes, the last two years haven’t gone to plan, but I think we can draw on that experience.
“We want to be a team that does the effort areas well, and that’s what Burty tells us every week.
“We have learnt you need to hit the finals playing your best football, not try and find your best football in the finals.
“Sam Coster is a player that can leave his mark these finals, he tackles everything and does anything the team needs and has done since 2018.
“We notice his work but I am not sure that too many other people do.
“They will by the end of these finals.”
Main image: Pat Politoni schemes out of dummy half against Townsville. Photo: Alix Sweeney/QRL