It looked all doom and gloom for the Burleigh Bears, down by 18 points with 30 minutes to go, and staring down the barrel of another loss. But they proceeded with the comeback of the year to stun the home crowd and Cutters with their third win of the season.
The Mackay Cutters looked like they had taken all the good form from tight losses against the competition leaders into this match as they led 20-0 after Aaron Booth scored the Cutters’ third try in the 28th minute. Paterika Vaivai scored the first of an unlikely double just before the break to give the Bears hope at 20-6 down at half time.
It still looked bleak after the break when Mackay scored in the 50th minute and led 24-6, but a sensational burst of three tries in six minutes got Burleigh within two points, and even another Mackay try and eight point deficit didn’t stop them.
Burleigh drew level with a 69th minute converted try and completed the comeback and hit the front for the first time of the evening when Troy Leo crossed in the 72nd minute. It was just the Bears’ third of the win, but they have now beaten Townsville and Mackay on the road. If only they could improve the home form, they may still be a factor in 2017. For Mackay it was another home loss (2 wins 4 losses) and they are third last on the ladder.
BURLEIGH BEARS 34
Tries: Paterika Vaivai (39m), Paterika Vaivai (39m), Henare Wells (56m), Kurtis Rowe (60m), Pat Politoni (69m), Troy Leo (72m)
Goals: Connor Broadhurst 5/6 Conv
MACKAY CUTTERS 28
Tries: Andrew Davey (5m), Nichi Hynes (15m), Aaron Booth (28m), Nathan Saumalu (50m), Nathan Saumalu (63m)
By Daniel White
The Cutters are home after losing a tough game to the Falcons, unable to hold on to the 4-point half time lead. The Bears head north after being the first to cross the line and then held scoreless for the remainder of their clash with Wynnum Manly. With both sides desperate to keep in touch with the final 6, a win is a must for these cellar dwellers.
Last Time Out:
The Cutters were the better side for the first forty minutes against the Falcons, and led them into the sheds with a 14-10 score-line. Tries to Hynes and Bowie alongside two penalties set the margin at four and they would have been happy with their first half.
The second half was a mini-game in its own. The first twenty went try for try before the Falcons established their dominance and finished off the stronger team. Losing five tries to three to one of this year’s better sides should encourage them for this week’s clash.
The Bears were solidly beaten by Wynnum Manly, scoring just the one try and so it may be more relevant to compare them to the Cutters recent opponent, whom they played the week before.
Unlike the Cutters, the Bears were held scoreless in the first half, and although they put some late pressure on the Falcons, they were finished off with 10 minutes to go. In doing so they lost in a similar way, defence-wise, to the Seagulls match. Leaking 24 then 28 points shows where the major problem is.
Who to watch out for:
When your team is struggling, you first have to look for your go-forward players and the distribution of the ball. As such, the players to watch out for are Aaron Booth and Patrick Politoni. They are two different types of hooker, with Politoni taking most of the Bears kicks but few runs, and Booth being the classic darter who will offload the kicking duties unless desperately required. A nice game within a game will be played out between these two.
How they Will Win:
Last week’s game for the Cutters saw them give away nine penalties, but seven of those were play the ball infringements. If they can clean up this area and play how they have played in recent games, then they should be able to win. They are becoming a more balanced team as the season goes on and, at home should be able to take the win.
The Bears need to make their tackles count. A high number of missed tackles contributed to their last loss and so it is obvious where they need to work hardest. If you miss tackles and give the ball up, then you are gifting the game to your opponent. As such, these are basics that the coach would have worked hard on this week. Games like this one and last weeks are meant to games that are up for grabs rather than pencilled in losses. With a strong defensive effort, they may cause an upset.
Mackay is playing the better football at the moment. Can they keep it up? Who knows, but on recent form, they are my pick. Cutters by 6.
1. Jack Joass 2. Yamba Bowie 3. Setaimata Sa 4. Jordan Pereira 5. Nathan Saumalu 6. Nicho Hynes 7. Cooper Bambling 8. Braden Uele 9. Aaron Booth 10. Nicholas Brown 11. Andrew Davey (c) 12. Shane Wright 13. Thomas Murphy 14. Yosepha Kepa 15. Lona Kaifoto 16. Kouma Samson 17. Jack Blagbrough 18. Semisi Tyrell 19. Leonati Feiloakitau-Fetuani
Coach: Steve Sheppard
1. Kurtis Rowe 2. Henare Wells 3. Sami Sauiluma 4. Connor Broadhurst 15. Daniel Vidot 6. Dallas Wells 7. Jacob Grant 8. Luke Page (c) 9. Patrick Politoni 10. Matt White 11. Jamie Dowling (c) 12. Lorenzo Maafu 13. Sam Coster 14. Parahi Wilson 16. Tyler Sparkes 17. Hayden Schwass 18. Daymeric Pelo
Coach: Jim Lenihan
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