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Round 14 Saturday wrap: Tigers find form to topple Bears

In the 2023 Hostplus Cup grand final re-match, Brisbane Tigers found form to get the two points in Round 14 with a win over Burleigh Bears.

Despite Bears flyer Troy Leo scoring in the first minute of the game with some fancy footwork, getting the Bears off to a cracking start, the Tigers bit back fairly quickly through winger Coby Williamson.

Not to be outdone, opposing Tigers winger Ronald Philitoga was next to score, then the Bears' Nicholas O'Meley, and Williamson again before half-time to take the Tigers into the break up 20-8.

Coby Williamson. Photo: Dylan Parker/QRL
Coby Williamson. Photo: Dylan Parker/QRL

Philitoga was first to score in the second half, getting his second for the game, and it looked to be going all the Tigers' way until the Bears applied pressure late, with Cole Geyer scoring in the 70th minute and Creedence Toia just before full-time. 

But it wasn't enough to get the job done.

Tigers hooker Tristan Hope said his side "needed a result leading into the bye".

"If you want to look at the ladder, we're sitting 13th so it hasn't been going the way we've wanted it to go, but today shows if we put it together for 80 minutes, we're a genuine threat in this competition and we know that," Hope said.

"If we can do that week on week and start to build into the back end of the season, and get ourselves in the top eight, I think we're the team that no one's going to want to play because they know that we've been there and we've done it.

"So I'm really proud of the boys' effort today."

Hope said his side's strong start set the platform.

"Great start and you have to... it's a bit of a graveyard down here and they're frontrunners... we knew we had to get on top," Hope said.

"I'm just so proud... we had so many people with under 20 games of Cup today... we had a guy on debut... we've got so many youngsters... I reckon the average age of our squad today was no more than 22.

"That's a big effort against an experienced side like Burleigh... just so proud of the boys."

Hope said Williamson and Philitoga had "been outstanding". 

"They carry big metres and finish off on the edge for us, and they're just balls of energy, so it's a credit to them," Hope said.

Hope said truly believed the Tigers were "a genuine threat in the competition".

"We've had some big injuries, and we're not making excuses at all for our performances to date, but we've just shown that we can stick it to one of the flagship teams in the competition and we can do it for 80 minutes," Hope said.

"We can win games of footy. I'm just so proud... honestly, I'm just so happy."

Noting the fiery nature of the clash, particularly between himself and Bears half Guy Hamilton, Hope said it showed how passionate everyone was.

"It's competitive... he's a competitive guy who wants to win and I'm a competitive guy who hates losing and I want to win too... there's nothing personal there... it's just a game of footy," Hope said.

Guy Hamilton. Photo: Dylan Parker/QRL
Guy Hamilton. Photo: Dylan Parker/QRL

Bears captain Sami Sauiluma said it was "a tough loss".

"We didn't give ourselves enough opportunities... we just didn't execute in our end, gave away a few penalties in yardage which has been the theme of the last month for us to be honest," Sauiluma said.

"They turned up, 100 per cent, and were up for it more than we were in that first half. 

"We'll have to have a good look at ourselves... we haven't been on for the last three weeks to a month now so we'll look at video Monday and see what we've got to do. (Coach Luke Burt) is a pretty smart coach so we'll go from there."

Elsewhere, Mackay Cutters winger Brent Anderson scored a double during his side's win over Ipswich Jets.

Tomorrow, Norths Devils and Tweed Seagulls face off at Bishop Park.

Souths Logan Magpies and Townsville Blackhawks clash at Davies Park.

Wynnum Manly Seagulls and Central Queensland Capras will put on a show in front of The Chook Pen.

Western Clydesdales and Northern Pride will fight for the two points in Toowoomba.

And Sunshine Coast Falcons and PNG Hunters round out the round at the Sunshine Coast.

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