Tweed within a whisker of toppling Burleigh
By ADAM WRATTEN
COREY Bond's never-say-die approach typified Tweed Heads performance yesterday as his side came close to pulling off a dramatic come-from-behind victory against Burleigh.
Trailing 18-6 at half time, Tweed bounced back with a dominant second-half display against the Queensland Cup leaders only for Bear's halfback David Hicks to seal victory in the last play of this pulsating game which ended 22-16.
With more than 3000 people packed into Pizzey Park, it was former Tweed Heads player Balin Cupples who gave Burleigh the upper hand early on scoring two tries which proved crucial.
The victory was Burleigh's first in three games and puts them on 24 points one ahead of the North Queensland Young Guns. Meanwhile, Tweed drop to sixth spot after Toowoomba, who were on the same points as Tweed heading into the round, beat Ipswich 46-18.
Tweed Heads coach Steve Murphy said he though his side was on it's way to victory when it narrowed Burleigh's lead to two points with 12 minutes remaining.
"At 18-16 I really thought we would go on and win the game," Murphy said. "But to their credit they posted a try in the death and held on."
He said first-half mistakes proved costly.
"I was disappointed in the first half, we turned over way to much ball and you can't do that against the reigning premiers," Murphy said.
"That allowed them to dominate field position and they scored some good tries, while we conceded early points."
"But I was extremely proud of our second half performance, when I thought we got on top.
"It was just unfortunate a couple of things didn't go our way towards the end."
In the game, Cupples put the Bears ahead with a neat finish out wide in the first minute.
Tweed hadn't even touched the ball, apart from kicking off, at this stage.
A Damian Moar try four minutes later had the Seagulls on the board.
Moar picked up a great kick in behind the Burleigh line by skipper Andrew Maroney, who returned to the team after a lengthy absence with a knee problem.
But Cupples was at it again three minutes later when he scored out wide after Burleigh moved the ball the width of the field.
When Aseri Lang crossed for the Bears four minutes later it looked like it was going to be a long day for Tweed.
Interchange player Robert Apanui extended his side's lead mid-way through the half when he went in under the posts after a clever inside ball from Adam Hayden. The Bears took a 18-6 lead into the break. With the wind at their backs in the second half, Tweed matched their opponent's early intensity.
Winger Nathan Small got them back in the game with a good run to score in the 50th minute.
Tweed play Souths next week at Piggabeen Sports Complex on Saturday, while Burleigh play Central Queensland.
l Keep an eye out in Friday's Daily News for Tweed Heads coach Steve Murphy's weekly column.
BURLEIGH 22 (Tries, B Cupples 2, A Laing, D Hicks, R Apanui; Goals, T Leis) d TWEED HEADS 16 (Tries, N Small, C Bond, D Moore; Goals, B Davis 2).