Bears Break Tugun Hearts
By Kevin Braysher
BURLEIGH has clinched the 2012 Bycroft Cup with a 13-12 win over the Tugun Seahawks in golden point extra time.
Departing Bears captain Brad Bennett was the hero slotting the match winning field goal two minutes into extra time as Tugun fell in extra time of the grand final for the second consecutive year.
“It’s funny because he’s been practicing kicking them at training and I’ve been thinking ‘what for?’ because he couldn’t kick one there, then all of sudden he hits one sweet and it’s happy days,” an excited Bears coach Scott Cooke said after the game.
“I’m happy with the result but not real happy with the way we played.
“Once again our forwards were good, we can’t go anywhere without them and although we weren’t completing our sets defensively we were good so we’ll take it.”
Tensions were high and the match started with fireworks as two scuffles broke out inside the opening minute.
It set the tone for a match that offered little flair but plenty of high-quality, tough rugby league.
Tugun spent much of the opening twenty minutes attacking the Burleigh line but the Bears held strong in defence and eventually posted first points in the 27th minute when halfback Jacob Grant threw a terrific cut out pass to centre Casey Lyons.
They had a chance to extend their lead five minutes later when they were awarded a penalty directly in front of goal.
Instead they chose the tap, a decision that backfired as Tugun marched down the other end of the field and scored under the posts in their very next set of six.
Seahawks hooker Tim Maccan was the man who powered his way into the in goal to give his side a 6-4 lead at half time.
Maccan was the stand out for Tugun in the first half but in what was a big blow for the Seahawks the classy hooker went down injured early in the second half and didn’t return.
It was an especially big blow considering they had already lost powerful interchange forward Dan Backo to an ankle injury in the first half.
Things got worse for Tugun when Jacob Grant set up another Burleigh try in the 53rd minute.
Grant put up a pin point bomb into the left hand corner which was brought down by high-flying winger Kevin Nilan, who proceeded to offload to Mitch Seaton who scored in the corner.
The try was not converted but it gave the Bears a slender two-point lead.
For the next quarter of the game it was an absolute slugfest with neither team gaining an advantage.
Tugun finally made the breakthrough with a little over ten minutes to go with centre Darnel Clarke muscling his way over for a try that lifted the Seahawks.
The Seahawks were in control of the contest at this point and the large contingent of Tugun supporters were getting louder and louder as fulltime approached.
In the 73rd minute Bears prop Ali Brown was knocked unconscious when he tackled the legs of Phil Ramage as he kicked downfield.
Brown was stretchered off the field but Tugun still received a penalty for the illegal tackle; they took the two points and went out to a four point lead.
Burleigh hadn’t looked like scoring for quite some time, but with less than two minutes on the clock five-eighth and captain Brad Bennett, in his last game for the Bears before moving to the central coast, combined with Mitch Seaton to put Kevin Nilan over in the corner and level the scores.
Marty Mitchell had a kick at goal from the sideline to win the premiership but missed and sent the game into extra time where Bennett slotted the match-winner without giving Tugun the chance of even a single possession.
Coach Scott Cooke was as relieved as he was elated after his side’s remarkable get-out-of-jail win.
“When they kicked that goal and Ali was knocked out, I hadn’t given up but I thought it was a long shot that were going to get home,” he said.
“And then all of sudden we’ve swung it wide and Kevvy scores in the corner.”
Burleigh second rower Josh Campbell’s work rate was outstanding and he came up with some tremendous defensive plays, earning him the Pat Shepherdson Medal for man-of-the-match.
For Tugun it was another agonizing defeat, their second consecutive golden point grand final loss having gone down 34-30 to Bilambil in last year’s decider.
Prop forward and skipper Sam Rowlings, who was close to the best player on the field in a brilliant 80 minute performance, was understandably disappointed after the game.
"I'm proud of the boys but it's still disappointing. Two years in a row. The same sort of thing," he said.
"I couldn't have asked for much more from the boys today. It's just one of those things.
"It was just so close. We had a bit of illdiscipline and let them back into it.
"We need to play for 80 minutes and not let the other side get a sniff at all. If you do that, they won't get you."
BURLEIGH BEARS 13 (C Lyons, M Seaton, K Nilan tries B Bennett field goal) def TUGUN SEAHAWKS 12 (T Maccan, D Clarke tries P Ramage, D Clarke goals) at Pizzey Park, Burleigh.