It’s a clash that neither side has to get themselves up for when Tweed Heads and Burleigh Bears go head to head, which we do on Sunday as part of rivalry round.
There’s a long rivalry between the two teams and the fact we’re both feeder teams for the Gold Coast Titans, with quite a few Titans player involved in this match, and we both go into the match in the top six in good form makes it more interesting.
But this time it comes around after both teams have had a bye because of the representative weekend.
I always find teams start a little flat and rusty after a weekend off mid-season, so it will be the team that can get into their groove that will be important on the outcome of Sunday’s game.
Both teams have struck injuries but will put up good line-ups. The Bears will be without forwards Blake Leary, Josh Ailaomai and Jai Whitbread who have been good for them this season, while we’ve lost skipper Cheyne Whitelaw and centre Brayden McGrady for the season and Bryce Cartwright broke his hand at Titans training this week.
The Bears, who have been the benchmark team along with the Townsville Blackhawks this season, always have good depth and that’s why they are on top of the ladder, both on 22 points. So we know how tough it is going to be on Sunday.
We’ve had Titans guys come in and out of the squad this year, although we’ve had Kiah Cooper, Brendan Elliot, Ryan Simpkins and Kane Elgey for a few weeks in a row now, and they have really bought into what we are trying to do here.
But it has been the nucleus of the non-Titans guys who have really created a strong culture in the team and have set the standards at training and in the games that has led to eight wins from our last nine games.
The win against Norths Devils before the bye was an important victory for us, coming straight after Cheyne was ruled out for the season with a knee injury.
It wasn’t our best game of the year, but we did some good things and enough to win against a pretty tough Norths side.
A lot of the other guys, especially Tristan Lumley who won the Channel 9 man of the match (photographed receiving his award below) , and Bryce who got the players’ player award after switching to the right edge after playing on the left all season for the Titans, stepped up.
We have to again against Burleigh. They beat us pretty comfortably in round three (32-12) when you look at the scoreboard but they scored two tries in the last six minutes after leading 22-12 and I thought it was our best performance, along with the loss to Norths, in the first five rounds when we lost all five games.
They were prepared to play a bit more footy than us that day and got the results but we did some good things against them and it was probably one of our first steps in the right direction. And we have quite a few changes to the team now.
The Bears and the Blackhawks are the best two sides we’ve met this season, no question. They’re consistently hard throughout the game and don’t give you much, so it’ a big challenge for us.
I hope we get a good contingent of Seagulls supporters there because there will definitely be quite a lot at Pizzey Park. The Titans are in Sydney playing Wests Tigers, so I’m hoping a few of their fans head down as well.
The derby always brings out that extra feeling in both teams but we have to be smart enough to stick to the structures and things that have been working for us this season and stick to what has worked well. That’s the key. I’m really looking forward to it.