The North Sydney Oval faithful were treated to a stellar comeback performance from the Bears winning by a field-goal in the closing moments as the Intrust Super Premiership side ran out on Bear Park for the first time in 2018.
With an added crowd of ex-players attending the annual Old Bears Association reunion, the side contested the first leg of the Jason Taylor Cup against fellow foundation club Western Suburbs.
As the match began, no one could have envisioned the exciting finish as the Bears conceded eighteen points in twenty-five minutes.
The Bears seemed unable to covert a number of attacking raids into points with poor handling stifling the play.
Meanwhile Magpies main playmaker Josh Drinkwater helped take Wests to the 18-0 lead.
However, the match turned at the thirty-minute mark when Magpies centre Mahe Fonua conceded possession after breaking away downfield, with a heroic tackle by Mawene Hiroti who chased his man down.
Within minutes the Bears forward attack got them within scoring distance for Rhys Kennedy to dive over.
Bears captain Billy Brittain was next to score from dummy-half after another strong set, diving over close to the line.
With Dean Hawkins’ conversion, the Bears finished the half with an eight-point deficit. In the second half, the Bears narrowed the gap further to 18-16.
Another barge over close to the line by Ky Rodwell and a successful conversion by Dean Hawkins seemed to keep the Bears in the hunt.
But as the final quarter approached a Magpies grubber kick landed in-goal for Lucas Price to score.
The score was now 24-16.
With ten minutes remaining a wonderful backline movement saw the Bears score and Dean Hawkins converted to cut the margin back down to 24-22.
The Magpies poor discipline was exposed when Norths were awarded a penalty for a late tackle on Dean Hawkins.
Young Hawkins converted the penalty with two minutes spare to make it 24 all.
Within the next set, Dean Hawkins made his mark with a match-winning field goal as the Mollie Dive stand erupted in loud applause.
NORTH SYDNEY BEARS 25 (tries: Rhys Kennedy, Billy Brittain, Ky Rodwell, Mawene Hiroti, conversions: Dean Hawkins 3, penalty: Dean Hawkins, field goal: Dean Hawkins),
defeated WESTERN SUBURBS MAGPIES 24 (tries: Joshua Drinkwater, Tu’imoala Lolohea, Watson Heleta, Lucas Price, conversions: Joshua Drinkwater 4). Tuesday team | match day team
Early in the day, the Bears Jersey Flegg Cup side produced a dominant performance over Wests Tigers leading 18-0 at halftime.
The Bears were all business conceding only one try to the Tigers in the second half to win 28-6.
NORTH SYDNEY BEARS 28 (tries: Ethan Abou-Ghaida, Kell O’brien 2, Tyrone Taukamo, Nicholas Mougios, conversions: Kieran Hayman 4),
defeated WESTS TIGERS 6 (try: Curtis Wilson, conversion: Connelly Lemuelu). Tuesday team | match day team
Although a home match for the Bears next week the Intrust Super Premiership side will travel to Central Coast Stadium to face the Mounties at 12:45 pm Saturday 21 April.
On the same day, the Jersey Flegg will face the Mounties at North Sydney Oval from 1:20 pm.
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