By ADAM WRATTEN
BURLEIGH has thrown the gates open for tomorrow's Queensland Cup rugby league derby against Tweed Heads.
Outplayed in their first clash, the Seagulls are gunning to avenge that early- season defeat, buoyed by the likely return of skipper Andrew Maroney and strong recent form.
A bumper crowd of more than 3000 people is expected after the Bears opted to make entry free for the 3pm game at Pizzey Park, Miami.
Coming off two losses, Burleigh is desperate to return to winning ways, while Tweed Heads is shooting for a finals spot.
Last week Tweed outgunned Easts at Langlands Park 40-14 to gain a share of fifth place, seven behind the Burleigh Bears, and coach Steve Murphy is keen to see how his side measures up against the competition pace-setters.
Tweed will be without winger David Stachan (knee) and Jay Hampson (broken wrist), but the likely return of Maroney is a boost.
"These games are wonderful occasions," Murphy said.
"We have got two teams here who love ripping into each other.
"We are both looking at feeder club roles for the incoming Gold Coast NRL franchise, so there will be plenty of jockeying for position."
He said Tweed's 38-18 loss to the Bears at Piggabeen back in April was his side's worst performance of the season.
"It was no surprise our biggest loss coincided with our worst game for handling errors," Murphy said.
"We have got to make sure we control the ball. We have come a long way since that game."
Burleigh has five players coming back from representative duty, captain Ali Brown, Adam Hayden, Martin Griese, Trent Purdon and former Seagulls player Balin Cupples.
Cupples bagged a double against his former team last game and will again be a danger for the Seagulls.
However, Bears fullback Reggie Cressbrook will miss the game through injury.