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RLB Opens wrap: Bears keep Raiders scoreless

Pine Rivers Bears sit in third spot on the Rugby League Brisbane men’s Open 3 competition with a gritty 14-0 win over Moreton Bay Raiders played at Mathieson Oval on Saturday.

The Bears were clinical in keeping the Raiders scoreless and were led by the experienced Josh Smith, who is no stranger to local rugby league in Brisbane, having played in numerous premiership teams.

However, the Bears backline were the stars in this game and in the 10th minute scored a beautiful try courtesy of powerful centre Jordan Stewart.

Stewart's strong fend pushed off the Raiders defence after picking up a loose carry from the visitors and he crossed beside the sticks.

In a game of cat-and-mouse, both sides were looking to rattle each other’s cages and the early exchanges by both forward packs was thundering to say the least.

Bears' Josh Smith and Ben Buchan were superb for the home team, making their presence felt in the middle, and it had the Raiders on the back foot.

However, it was not the home side having all the fun. The Raiders did have slick passages of play through Tarai Cherry and Trae Nicholl, who did not leave anything in the tank.

But it was the Bears' big boppers causing the most problems for the Raiders and in the 19th minute they went over again courtesy of Josh Smith.

The prop's sheer size was too much to manage for the Raiders defence as he took four Raiders defenders over with him to score in the corner.

At 10-0 down, the Raiders still refused to wave the white flag.

Forwards Noomai Kavana, Oscar Neal and Duke Guild were outstanding for the visitors.

This added to the intrigue to the match in that the Raiders simply would not go away and made the Bears work hard for their win.

With halftime looming, the Bears kicked it up a notch. Halfback Lachlan Shushames bullet-like cut-out pass found his winger Mitchell Preston, who made no mistake planting the ball down out wide.

The second half was all about ball possession for the Bears. Although the second stanza remained scoreless, the home side continued to cart the ball up the middle to tire the Raiders big men out.

It started to work. The Bears were making easy metres upfield and they could have pegged the score out even more, however loose carries knocked that on the head.

It appeared the only Raiders player with enough petrol in the tank to get the visitors on the scoreboard was flying winger Antwon Reynolds-Puru.

The speedster on more than once occasion cut loose in open field, however it was the Bears defence that put an end to that.

His other wingman Andrew Jenkins did have a chance in the 67th minute to post the Raiders first try after a neat kick through from halfback Cherry, but it was to no avail as the Bears held on to secure the much needed two points.

Pine Rivers takes on Burpengary Jets next week, needing to win to maintain the ladder-leading record being shared by the Bears, Samford Stags, North Lakes Kangaroos and Brighton Roosters. The Raiders will look to bounce back at home against Narangba Rangers.

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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