Intrust Super Cup: Tigers come from behind to down Bears

Scenes of sheer joy greeted the final whistle at Pizzey Park on Sunday afternoon as Tigers players erupted in celebration of a remarkable come from behind win. Courageous, relentless, determined, pick whichever word you prefer, the story is still the same. This was not a game the Tigers were meant to win, except someone forgot to tell the Tigers players and they pulled off a courageous 22-20.


Going into the game a very good Bears side, which included Jason Chan, Ryley Jacks and Darren Griffiths, was further boosted by the inclusion of Titans players Kevin Gordon (57 tries in 113 NRL games and a Country Origin appearance), Jamie Dowling, Mark Ioane and David Hala. This is quite possibly the best team the Bears are likely to field in 2015; they were brimming with confidence following three straight wins and were playing at their home ground.


Conversely the Tigers were without Cameron Munster, Shane Neumann, Dean Britt, Grant Giess, Brenton Horwood and Jacob Fauid and were welcoming back fullback Eddie Tautali after a long break from Intrust Super Cup football. The odds seemed stacked against the Tigers.


The Bears open the scoring after ten minutes through fullback Tyler Chadburn who has now scored a try in five games straight, he converted and the lead was 6-0. This followed a frenetic opening spell where the Bears threw everything at the Tigers, Christian Welch and Tom Butterfeild were magnificent in defence and Eddie Tautali was welcomed back to Intrust Super Cup with three challenging high balls to Kevin Gordons wing, all of which he soared high to take with aplomb.


The middle twenty minutes of the half could best be described as ‘messy’ as both teams were guilty of not treating the ball with respect and of giving away silly penalties. One real positive for the Tigers was Shaun Nona’s kicking game; he invariably got the ball to open space rather than into the hands of the Bears dangerous back three.


With nine minutes to go in the first half Jake Foster was hit hard and seemed likely to have to leave the field, however after receiving some attention from the trainers he elected to remain on the field. Two minute later Shaun Nona ran at the line with the ball in two hands, he dummied twice creating just enough indecision in the defence to open a slight gap. A reinvigorated Foster took the pass from Nona and was too big and strong for the Bears defence. Donald Malone converted and the scores were locked up at 6 all.


This was not the end of the scoring for the half though, with two minutes to go the Bears were penalised, Donald Malone calmly stepped up and slotted the goal and the Tigers took a slim 8-6 lead into the break.


Whatever Bears coach Jim Lenihan said to his players at the break seemed to have worked, they stormed into the second half and off the back of big runs from David Hala and punishing defence from Louis Fanene scored two quick tries, both thanks to Ryley Jacks. Josh Ailaomai was the first to benefit when he ran onto a crisp inside pass and scored beside the posts after two minutes. Then Tom Rowles finished off a try that was all Jacks. He made a jinking fifteen metre run before being tackled just short; however he squeezed out the pass to Rowles, who only had to fall over the line. Tyler Chadburn converted both tries and added a penalty and suddenly the Bears were out to 20-8 lead with fifty minutes gone.


The middle section of the second half was much like the middle section of the first half as the game lost a bit of its momentum due to errors and injury stoppages. Inspirational Tigers Captain Dane Hogan was off for twenty minutes with a deep cork, then halfback Joel Romelo, who tried desperately to stay on the field, but in the end had to admit defeat, came off with a sternum injury. Despite these two significant departures the depleted Tigers fought on, for one remarkable twenty minute period with Foisa Peni filling the role of halfback, possibly the biggest halfback ever seen in the Intrust Super Cup.


If you have not seen the Tigers second half tried then do yourself a favour and find the highlights, there are a couple of classics. Shaun Nona scored the first after a beautiful catch and pass from Christian Welch released fellow big man Foisa Peni, who reminded everyone of his trademark ball skills, and slipped a lovely pass to Nona to score beside the posts. Malone converted and the Tigers had narrowed the gap to 20-14

The next try was all individual brilliance, with seven minutes on the clock and the game in the balance Troy Giess took a pass at first receiver and burst 50metres down field. He surged through the marker defence, scorched down field, leaving Bears winger Zach Mackay in his wake, before fending off one defender and finally crashing over the line in the hands of two more defenders. This was sheer effort and determination; no one was going to stop Troy Giess on this run. The score had now closed up but the Bears still led 20-18 with time running out.

The final act of the game was one that befitted the game that had gone before it. As the clock on the scoreboard ticked over 78 minutes the competitions form hooker Tom Butterfield sent a bullet like pass to Shaun Nona who in turn sent a lovely cut out pass to Richie Kennar on the left wing. Showing the sort of effort and determination that had marked the Tigers effort all day Kennar crashed over despite the attention of four Bears defenders and still managed to squeeze the ball down.

This was a win that all Easts Tigers supporters can be very proud of.

Next week the Tigers return to Tapout Energy Stadium to face the Central Queensland Capras while the Bears travel to Ipswich to take on the Jets.

Easts Tigers 22 (tries to Foster, Nona, Giess, Kennar, 3 goals to Malone) defeated the Burleigh Bears 20 (tries to Chadburn, Rowles, Ailaomai, 4 goals to Chadburn).

Burleigh Bears: 1. Tyler Chadburn 2. Zach Mackay 3. Jamie Dowling 4. Connor Broadhurst 5. Kevin Gordon 6. Todd Seymour 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Mitch Sharp 21. Mark Ioane 10. Pele Peletelese 11. Ayden Lee 12. Jason Chan 13. Darren Griffiths (c) 14. Tom Rowles 15. Louis Fanene 16. Josh Ailaomai 19. 20. David Hala

Coach: Jimmy Lenihan

Easts Tigers: 1. Eddie Tautali 2. Richie Kennar 3. Donald Malone 4. Michael Kai 5. Matt Duffie 6. Shaun Nona 7. Joel Romelo 8. Christian Welch 9. Tommy Butterfield 10. Liam McDonald 11. Dane Hogan (c) 12. Jake Foster 13. Troy Giess 14. Francis Tualau 15. Matt Zgrajewski 16. Foisa Peni 18. Ashley Little

Coach: Craig Ingebrigtsen

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