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QUICK WRAP: Bears vs Tigers
30 April 2023 - Burleigh play Easts in round 7 of the Queensland Cup at Pizzey Park, Gold Coast
Was the game worth watching?
It depends on your goals and expectations. If you want to be entertained, I’d pass. If you want to learn more about these teams, then sure (or you could just read on and save 90 minutes).
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The score was fixed at 14-6 through the twenty minutes either side of half time. Until Hope crashed over after a slew of set restarts in 56’, it didn’t particularly look like we had much of a game. Easts were struggling to make anything of the ball when they could hang on to it, and Burleigh had a decent enough lead, at least as a percentage of total points scored. The Bears responded quickly to Hope’s try and kept the Tigers at arms-length from the result. A strange mix of competitiveness without any real danger. Bears looked relatively comfortable for most of the afternoon.
22 errors, split evenly by the sides, was the defining stat of the day. Neither side managed to get a run of good sets going and had to take their chances when they presented themselves. With a nearly even split of possession and yardage, the Bears’ +4 breaks and +5 penalties conceded gave them the +1 try they needed to win the game and, more importantly, win the advanced stat counts.
Did you notice?
As mentioned in yesterday’s QW, Keano Kini is one of the fullback prospects that I’ve got my eye on.
Kini was promoted to the top 30 after never having even played Cup, and then locked in with the Titans until 2026 after three games. Gold Coast obviously see something in the 19-year-old Aucklander.
Let’s start with the tools. Footwork:
Ah, well, nevertheless.
I think we’ll have to weigh up a business decision on Kane Bradley versus a one-on-one tackle of Solomona Faataape forcing an error from Nat Mcgavin as being, at worst, a draw.
This was called back for being forward, which I don’t think was the right call on review, but damned if he didn’t get it out to his wingers through a mail slot.
Kini does well to get back into a position where Politoni could shovel on the offload and then makes some nice metres. Very unlucky to not draw the penalty from Tristan Hope. A quick play the ball probably gets the Bears over in that set.
Put it all together. While Kini scored an actual try, I think his involvement here on the right side is more indicative of his potential. Kini, two deep in the attacking shape, catches a massive lob pass from Hamilton, hits the gas into the gap and finds Kea Pere for the try.
Despite a couple of errors, Kini got involved and had the second best performance by TPR of anyone on the field, behind Ken Maumalo, who looks both enormous and too good to be playing at this level.
Kini is in the Titans’ extended squad for their Magic Round rendezvous with the Eels. Combined with the slow burn hype he’s gotten after this game, that suggests his first grade debut is getting closer - perhaps an in during Origin and/or to cover Brimson’s place in a backline reshuffle?
Jonah Pezet played today. You’d think with his recent NRL experience, playing for Easts would be like playing in slow motion. He made nothing particuclarly special happen in a poor offensive performance all-round for the Tigers. Of their three tries, one scores because of Faataape - who, incidentally, deserves a lot more attention - bowling over the defence after what was, to be fair, a nice shift left, one comes after approximately a million tackles in the Bears’ 20 with repeated set restarts and the last is as much poor defence from the Bears, including the business decisions cited earlier, as it is the ball from Pezet to Faataape.
With Pezet likely to be in and out of this team all season, it remains to be seen if the likes of Jacks, Wood and Hope have sufficient juice to carry this team a higher station or if the repeated disruptions to the lineup will keep them firmly in place.
Again, Solomona Faataape is good. Please pay attention.
As a player who often overplays his hand, I’m usually not a big Guy Hamilton fan but thought he was fine today. Hamilton and Politoni is a good combo for Burleigh, as Cup-level Dudes that are unlikely to be swept up into a first grade side any time soon, to maintain their momentum.
Compare and contrast this game with yesterday’s and the Tigers previous result against the Hunters (38-36 in round 3) and the eye test of all three results confirms the respective ladder positions of each team. The Bears are clearly a cut above the Tigers and in the premiership hunt (5-1). Easts look fine enough to compete for the lower places in the finals (4-2-1). The Hunters are probably going to be outside looking in, unless they can stage a few upsets (2-3-1). The Cutters are not good (0-7).
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