Bears belt Dolphins, make final of Q-Cup


THE Burleigh Bears booked their first Intrust Super Cup grand final spot since 2005 with a 40-24 win over Redcliffe in the qualifying final at Dolphin Oval on Sunday.
In the Saturday elimination final, the Sunshine Coast Falcons sprung an 18-10 upset over the Townsville Blackhawks at Jack Manski Oval to get another step closer to the grand final.
Fringe NRL three-quarter Ryan Morgan stole the show with a hat-trick including the match-winner two minutes from time, as Saturday marks the Falcons’ second major scalp away from home in as many weeks.
The shoulder charge suspension handed down for Townsville centre Moses Pangai’s hit on Young Tonumaipea last week loomed large over this elimination semifinal, as the Blackhawks lined up numerous players out of position.
It probably showed in the end with countless late-game errors plaguing any scoring opportunity the hosts had created.
While Townsville were arguably the more dominant side for a bulk of the afternoon, the Falcons’ engine room again punched above its weight to largely match it with their in-form opposites.
Meanwhile, Burleigh were the underdogs coming up against the minor premiers at a ground where they had won just once in their past 11 outings, but a flawless first half saw them jump to a 28-0 lead that the Dolphins could not run down.
The Bears exuded intensity with every run and the decision-making was spot on in what was the best half of football they have played all season.
Coach Jim Lenihan said starting well was always going to be the key if the Bears were to secure the win and advance to the grand final.
Burleigh crossed the chalk seven times in total with centre Conor Broadhurst bagging a double and Parramatta Eels-bound halfback Jamal Fogarty kicking six goals.
For the homeside, Jack Ahearn, Brandon Lee, Zach Strasser and Joshua Beehag scored four-pointers and Q-Cup leading point scorer Darren Nicholls converted all four tries.

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