Report by Kevin Braysher.
The Essential Coffee Burleigh Bears will be full of confidence as they chase their sixth straight win in what will be their final outing of 2017 this Saturday night.
After a tough first half of the year where they won just two of their first 11 games, the Bears have turned it around to become the form team in the second half of the season.
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In fact, if you look only at the results of every team over their last 11 appearances, the Burleigh Bears have the best win-loss record in the entire Intrust Super Cup with eight wins and three losses.
It’s a remarkable turnaround and testament to the pride of the playing group who have refused to give up on their season, even though the semi-finals have been out of reach for some time.
“I think a fair few of those sides in the six will be very happy that we’re not there this year,” Bears centre Connor Broadhurst said.
“Morale is good, things are going well and I think most of the boys know that we probably should be there in the finals if we could have had this solid, consistent team earlier in the year without all those injuries.
“To lift morale by going on a run like this is a pretty good way to finish the season and help us look forward to next year.
“Hopefully we do keep mostly the same team for next year and with a bit more luck on the injuries and all that, we should be there (playing finals) next year.”
Burleigh have one more chance to impress in 2017 and they will do it against the Easts Tigers at Langlands Park this Saturday evening.
While no team has a better win-loss record than the Bears in the second half of the season, the Tigers do have an equal record, with eight wins and three losses of their own.
The Tigers, who currently sit in third on 35 competition points, are also chasing a top-two finish, with the Redcliffe Dolphins just one-point ahead.
Burleigh, meanwhile, are playing with pride and confidence and will be looking to send retiring veteran Darren Griffiths out a winner in his final game.
“(Easts) are heading into the finals and we’ll be a bit of a challenge for them, having won a few in a row and knocking over a few teams in the top six,” Broadhurst said.
“They will be a tough side. They’ve got a fair bit of experience, I’d say they’ll get a fair few Storm players back like they have been lately as well – guys like Nate Myles and young Brodie Croft – they’ll be looking for some momentum going into finals, for sure.
“For us, it’s about enjoying our footy, sticking to our processes, making sure our defence is good and I think our attack follows after that.
“We’re sticking to our plan and we’ve been doing that well. When we do that, we seem to win. That’s mainly what it will be about, just sticking to what we’ve been doing over the last few weeks.”
Kick-off between the Bears and Easts is 6pm with the Colts at 4pm this Saturday at Langlands Park.