BURLEIGH BEARS THROUGH TO GRAND FINAL AT EXPENSE OF MINOR PREMIERS REDCLIFFE
The Burleigh Bears defeated Redcliffe at Dolphin Oval on the back of a near faultless first half which left them 28-0 in front. Although Redcliffe did come back and set up an exciting finish, the first 40 minutes was the key as Redcliffe didn’t have quite enough to overturn the huge first half deficit.
The visiting Burleigh Bears blew the home side away with a performance that out-muscled, out-enthused and thoroughly outplayed the minor premiers.
It wasn’t long for Bears to take the lead as the Burleigh hooker Pat Politoni ran the short side not far from the line to surprise the Dolphins, and the conversion made it a 6-0 lead.
Not long after that the bustling Paterika Vaivai crashed over to make it 12-0 and the alarms bells were ringing for Redcliffe.
They turned to sirens as Burleigh crossed for their third try after being carved up the middle by Politoni, and Vaivai finding great support play finished by Kurtis Rowe.
18-0 up and it was all Burleigh in the first half, with Redcliffe errors and penalties not helping, and the Bears enthusiasm was on show at either end of the field.
Redcliffe’s Curtis Johnson has caught a cross field only to have it ripped from his arms by the Burleigh opponent mid air.
Down the other end Burleigh were denied a try after Redcliffe had cleaned up a grubber only to have the ball stripped in what looked like a legal one on one grab. The fact that another tackler had been involved earlier was the rule.
The No Try decision mattered little, as they scored their fourth try on the back of a 40-20 by Politoni. The hooker was involved again as he combined with Fogarty who found a rampaging giant Ailaomai not far from the line, and he was never going to be stopped. That was with five minutes until the break.
Just when Redcliffe thought the awful half couldn’t get worse it did. The Dolphins fullback Jack Ahearn attempted to shield a kick over the sideline in goal for what looked to be a kick with too much on it. The delay to deal with it was punished as the Burleigh winger with the big hair Wanahi snuck around his opponent and claimed the try. The only blip for
Burleigh in the first half was the unsuccessful conversion on half time for a 28-0 lead.
The home side needed to score first and they wasted little time in doing just that, under 90 seconds, A good run down the right side by Brandon Lee was followed up by Ahearn on the next play. Making up for the Burleigh try on half time.
Redcliffe didn’t take too long for their next score either, just 4 minutes later a cross field kick was batted back by the Dolphins into the hands of Lee who dived over in the corner. The brilliant sideline conversion made it 28-12, and the Redcliffe crowd had lifted, sniffing a huge comeback.
The excitement died down a little in the middle part of the second half as Redcliffe weren’t able to convert some great chances and field possession as Burleigh looked to shut out the game. An obvious offside call went against them too 20 meters from the line.
That then led to a penalty against the home side in the next defensive set, and not long after that they had their hearts broken has Connor Broadhurst crashed over in the 64th minute. The conversion made it 34-12 and a win unlikely for Redcliffe.
The Dolphins wouldn’t hear of that though, and replied straight away after some good work from two of their better players Christian Hazard and Brandon Lee. The movement was finished off by Zach Strasser after a double movement was questioned by the on field referee and cleared by the off field one.
An almost certain Burleigh try was halted when the final pass went to a Dolphins player. They couldn’t take advantage of the subsequent penalty and field position though as Aaron Whitchurch dropped the ball as he was playing it a few metres out from the try line.
They made amends, and set the game up for a tight finish as Josh Beehag chased a grubber and scored by millimetres after some great lead up by Christian Hazard again. The conversion made it 34-24.
A shoulder charge, which was placed on report from Ailaomai from the kick-off return handed the Dolphins an easy passage up the field with four minutes to go. In their endeavour to throw the ball around on the last tackle on Burleigh’s line, Redcliffe threw the perfect intercept pass to Burleigh’s Connor Broadhurst who ran 90m unchallenged to put the game to bed for the Bears.
Burleigh go straight to the Grand Final for the first time in over a decade, whilst Redcliffe will meet the Sunshine Coast Falcons in the battle to face them at Suncorp Stadium. The Dolphins should be worried as the Falcons have been huge giant killers thus far in the finals series.
BURLEIGH BEARS 40
Tries: Politoni (4m), Vaivai (16m), Rowe (18m), Ailaomai (35m), Wanahi (38m), Broadhurst (64m), Broadhurst (77m). Goals: 6/7 Conversions.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 24
Tries: Ahearn (41m), Lee (46m), Strasser (68m), Beehag (74m). Goals: 4/4 Conversions.
TOP TWO FIGHT FOR PLACE IN ISC GRAND FINAL
It has been a long time coming for these two powerhouses of the Intrust Super Cup to meet in finals time. Redcliffe have been absent from the sharp end of the season since 2012 and Burleigh much longer, so it is a big day for the competition’s top two sides from the 2016 seasons.
Redcliffe claimed the minor premiership with a late winning run of 8 games to finish to end the season. Burleigh looked certain to land on top after a seven game winning streak but back to back losses in Rounds 21 and 22 allowed Redcliffe to sneak into first.
There are many interesting battles across the park on Sunday afternoon. In the halves Burleigh have both the five eighth and halfback of the year in Cameron Cullen and Jamal Fogarty. Cullen got to show his talents for the Tians this season and has caught the eye of Manly who both have signed him for 2017. Jamal Fogarty also has a chance at the NRL next season with Parramatta.
Redcliffe’s halves are also quality, Darren Nicholls is the competition’s leading point scorer, and Zach Strasser has been good enough to keep former NRL player Luke Capewell out of the side for most of the season.
No less important, if with a little less flare is the battle of the forwards. Redcliffe prop and Captain Sam Anderson has been one of the main reasons for Redcliffe’s success this year, and backed up by the ferocious Tyson Cleal. For the Bears they have plenty of muscle too, with Luke Page being the star man, backed up with plenty of size from Paterika Vaivai and Nathaniel Peteru.
Even out wide there is plenty to offer from both sides. Redcliffe have the slightly better backline with recent Broncos Rookie Jonus Pearson, former Broncos Aaron Whitchurch and one of the angriest men I’ve even seen on a football Curtis Johnson. Burleigh still have quality including former off season recruit Kurtis Rowe from the Wests Tigers and the big hair of bustling winger Waka Wanahi.
There’s nothing in it on the field, but a point of difference off the field. Adam Mogg is in his first year as a head coach at Redcliffe, picking up from Anthony Griffin who was poached by Penrith in the NRL. Burleigh coach Jim Lenihan is in his sixth year and second stint at the Bears. Both have turned underachievers in 2015 to top two sides in 2016 and another step to redemption and a return to the glory days awaits this Saturday.
PREDICTION: Redcliffe to be too strong for the Bears and book a Grand Final spot. Redcliffe by 12.
Kickoff Sunday 1:40pm @ Dolphin Oval, Redcliffe.
TV Game – Live on Channel 9 from 1:30pm.
REDCLIFFE: 1st – 18 Wins – 5 Losses – 40 Pts – +383
BURLEIGH: 2nd – 17 Wins – 5 Losses – 1 Draw – 39 Pts – +183
- Redcliffe have lost only once at Dolphin Oval this year – to Wynnum in Round 17. They have won eight in a row since.
- The Dolphins for and against from their last five games is 238-68.
- Burleigh have lost just twice away from home this season. Against Redcliffe and PNG Hunters.
2016 – Redcliffe 32 Burleigh 14
2015 – Burleigh 10 Redcliffe 64
2015 – Redcliffe 18 Burleigh 33
2014 – Burleigh 28 Redcliffe 30
2014 – Redcliffe 38 Burleigh 16
2013 – Burleigh 12 Redcliffe 14
2013 – Redcliffe 16 Burleigh 16
- Jack Ahearn 2. Jonus Pearson 3. Daniel Randall 4. Aaron Whitchurch 5. Curtis Johnston 6. Zach Strasser 7. Darren Nicholls 8. Sam Anderson (c) 9. Shane Pumipi 23. Tyson Cleal 15. Brandon Lee 12. Daniel Bridge 13. Christopher Gesch 10. Charlie Faingaa 14. Joseph Bradley 17. Harley Aiono 25. Christian Hazard
Coach: Adam Mogg
- Kurtis Rowe 2. Waka Wanahi 3. Joshua Berkers 4. Connor Broadhurst 5. Jarrod Tua 6. Cameron Cullen 7. Jamal Fogarty (c) 8. Luke Page 9. Pat Politoni 22. Nathaniel Peteru 17. Louis Fanene 12. Hayden Schwass 13. Lachlan Burr 10. Paterika Vaivai 14. Parahi Wilson 15. Christopher Law 18. Caleb Morehu 19. Daniel Schwass 20. Josh Ailaomai
Coach: Jim Lenihan
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