Burleigh Bears made it two premierships in four seasons after defeating the Wynnum Seagulls 28-10 at the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final at Dolphin Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Bears had the game in control for most of the afternoon and will now move on to defend Queensland pride in the NRL State Championship next Sunday at the NRL’s Grand Final day.
BURLEIGH SPINE SUBLIME
The battle of the two spines as ever, was always going to be a huge decider in the outcome of the game. While the Wynnum equivalent played quite well, the Bears spine were involved in everything especially their halfback Jamal Fogarty and Duncan Hall medallist Kurtis Rowe.
In the difficult windy conditions at Dolphin Oval the kicking game was all important. Burleigh’s was spot on all afternoon, be it clever chip and chase, or grubbers, or just the tactical kicking throughout.
Rowe was on hand to score two tries, but just as important was his try saving tackles during Wynnum’s best period of the game in the second half when the scores were 12-10 in Bureigh’s favour. Rowe played a handful of games in the NRL a few seasons ago. But based on his performance on Sunday and if he repeats it this coming weekend at ANZ Stadium he could play himself into an NRL side soon. Especially a struggling outfit on the Gold Coast.
Outside of Rowe, Fogarty was superb, and his halves partner Dylan Phythian was also good until he was forced off the field after a late hit from a kick.
Hooker Pat Politoni was his usual industrious self, providing excellent service from dummy half and was rewarded with a try that essentially sealed the game for the Bears.
WYNNUM JUST NOT QUITE AT THE RACES
Wynnum took a little bit of time to get going in the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final. It never helps when you fail to field the first kick off of the afternoon, nor repeat it again after your first points of the afternoon. You could easily blame that and the strong wind at Dolphin Oval.
Their best period was either side of the break, where before the interval they scored their first try through halfback Sam Scarlett in the 35th minute.
The Seagulls looked the sharpest they had been right after the break and they had to after trailing 12-4. Ed Burns scored in the 47th minutes, which would ultimately be the last points for Wynnum. The Wynnum winger was one of their better player who took the ball up with gusto almost every set no matter the situation.
The 51st minute try to Burleigh halted their momentum when Kurtis Rowe swooped fastest on a grubber. When hooker Pat Politoni crashed over from one metre out right beside the posts in the 67th minute it broke the Seagulls hearts.
Wynnum didn’t play badly by any stretch of the imagination, the Seagulls halves of Pat Templeman and Scarlett were as great as they have been in 2019. It was just that Burleigh were that little bit sharper and more clinical.
Tyronne Roberts-Davis was dangerous throughout the afternoon. His first big play of the afternoon was a sweeping 70 metre run which did a large curve of Dolphin Oval before straightening up and piercing many a Seagulls defender. It led to the first points of the afternoon when Burleigh won a penalty within kicking range. He was quite a handful for Wynnum for the rest of the afternoon, and also produced a fine try saving tackle early in the game.
Burleigh centre Sam Sauilima was involved in plenty throughout the afternoon, solid defence and some great powerful running, but his one on one steal that led to Politoni’s try was his key moment of the afternoon.
Blake Leary was also an eye catcher for the Bears, with his hard running running on the flanks causing Wynnum problems during the afternoon.
Wynnum’s fullback Edene Gebbie was one of the players to watch heading into the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final, but he had a relatively quiet day for the Seagulls. Throughout the afternoon the Bears kicking game either shrewdly avoided him, or when the winds made it difficult to avoid him the chase was strong and gave him no room to move.
He did have one great run in the second half, where he scooted around the Wynnum left side defence and ran for 50 metres, but sadly the play that could have brought Wynnum back into the second half didn’t quite eventuate. He will be a fine acquisition for South Sydney next season based on his best, but the only worry is the step up considering his quiet afternoon in the Grand Final and a similar quietness in the earlier PNG Kumuls test versus Samoa.
Mitch Cronin, the lively number nine was good as always for the Seagulls. And looked to have plenty of support at Dolphin Oval.
A final word for the player watch – Burleigh’s bustling prop Luke Page. The PNG International was one of the keys to their 2016 success and he didn’t disappoint when on the field for Burleigh on Sunday. Few props in the Intrust Super Cup appear to relish every hit up like Page appears to. That forward momentum, along with fellow prop Jack Buchanan who was also great, helped the spine do their job. What typifies Page was in the final seconds of the game he took one final hit up, and when most are looking to drag out the time, Page simply looks to drag defenders for another 10 metres wit ha ferocious final hit up. Perhaps showing he is not finished yet, with Newtown to play next weekend.
CAN BURLEIGH BEAT THEIR NSW COUNTERPARTS?
Queensland teams have struggled in the NRL State Championship of late. An unbeaten start to the concept in 2014 and 2015 was coincidentally ended by the Burleigh Bears themselves in 2016. Queensland sides haven’t close since.
The issue for the Intrust Super Cup sides is that they are facing teams from NSW who are the direct feeder teams to the NRL side, usually only one Canterbury Cup side per NRL team. In contrast Queensland’s sides NRL alliances are spread across multiple teams. For Burleigh they share the Titans feeder arrangement with the Tweed Heads Seagulls. Having a look through the Newtown Jets winning side from the Canterbury Cup final, the Bears will be up against some decent NRL level talent.
But as the first two Queensland State Championship winner proved, NRL talent isn’t everything.
Burleigh have a few NRL players, but their main play makers and match winners from yesterday and this season aren’t NRL regulars at all.
If Burleigh play the way they did on Sunday against Wynnum then they will be very competitive against Newtown, so then it comes down to how much they want to win it, which looked missing in their first attempt in 2016. Perhaps they should cage up Luke Page until Sunday, only letting him out to attack the Jets defensive line like he did against Wynnum on Sunday.
WHAT ABOUT HAVING THE INTRUST SUPER CUP GRAND FINAL AT DOLPHIN OVAL?
For all reports the Intrust Super Cup was a sell out, a decent effort given Redcliffe’s Dolphin Oval is a fair distance for a lot of people in the capital, and the crowd figure of 7,784 was healthy enough.
However being at the game, the ground looked and felt 3/4 full max and the atmosphere expected by having a fuller crowd in a smaller ground (compared to the previous finals at a quarter full Suncorp Stadium) didn’t quite eventuate. Perhaps that was because the slightly pro Wynnum crowd had less to cheer for on field. Although, the noise and support from the temporary Chook Pen on the Eastern side of the ground was outstanding as always.
Dolphin Oval is a magnificent local venue and it was well supported by staff and there was nary a line up for anything on the day. And the ground looked in superb condition. And it should and probably will host future Intrust Super Cup Grand Finals. Perhaps future finals will get better for atmosphere. Although, let’s hope the blaring of music at every opportunity in between plays doesn’t increase.
BURLEIGH BEARS 28
Tries: Tyronne Roberts-Davis 21′, Kurtis Rowe 29′, Kurtis Rowe 51′, Pat Politoni 67′, Jamal Fogarty 76′
Goals: Jamal Fogarty 2 Conv, 1 Pen, Tyronne Roberts-Davis 1 Conv
WYNNUM SEAGULLS 10
Tries: Sam Scarlett 35′, Edward Burns 47′
Goals:Pat Templeman 1 Conv