It was a blustery and chilly, yet sunny day at North Sydney Oval for our round 12 top of the table clash against the Bulldogs. We started the day with the Asquith Magpies Open Women’s team taking on Forestville Ferrets and we were pleased to see our female player pathway club get the upper hand and take out the win. After the game we welcomed on to the field our 2023 Tarsha Gale Cup Staff and Players to acknowledge another fantastic season completed in the junior representative competition, with an aspiring bunch of young ladies. More information and images will be released later this week.
Anticipation was high for the big game between the Bears and the Bulldogs and we all knew we were in for a big fight. The game kicked off and the Dogs looked fast and slick, leaving the Bears struggling to keep up and making easy errors. The Dogs ran in two tries before Bears finally got on the board with Junior Pauga racing down the far wing to add the first points for the red & black. The gusty wind was causing havoc for the kickers on both sides and the try went unconverted. At the change of ends, the Bears were trailing 4 – 22 and had a big task ahead of them for the next 40 minutes. Head Coach Jason Taylor settled the team down at half time, reminded them to hold the ball, play it strong and sort out their defense. And that’s exactly what the boys did.
The second half kicked off and this time the Bears were running into the wind. Within two minutes of kick off Bears were on the attack, Jesse Marschke picks up a great pass, scoots straight in under the posts and Ben Stevanovic converts from out in front. At the 50th minute, the ball sweeps to the wing again and Pauga shrugs off a Dog to put the ball down neatly in the corner. Only five minutes later and we are on the attack again, Toa Mata’afa charges through, swift pass to Pauga on the wing who dives for the corner as a Bulldog charges at him but Pauga secures the points in an athletic display of skill. Stevanovic lines up the kick from the sideline in very difficult wind conditions, nailing the curve and taking the points. The crowd are on their feet at this point and the win feels possible as the score sits at Bears 20 – Bulldogs 22 with twenty minutes still to go.
A massive defensive effort by the Bears keeps the Bulldogs to zero for the second half but the win is not secured as we still trail by four points. The red & black push on with an intense drive to succeed and the whole of Bear Park is right behind them. The crowd is raucous, and the cheers to bring the Bears home are loud. With four minutes to go, try machine Pauga gets a long ball from Marschke, palms off the barking dogs and claims his fourth try of the game! Bears take the lead for the first time and the score sits at 24 – 22 to the good guys. Not over yet! Bulldogs make a last play for the try line in the last seconds of the game but under the Bears strong defensive pressure drop the ball on the line and Bears take the win and the crowd are on their feet in applause! What a match and what a comeback. Bears retain top of the ladder and sit 3 points clear as we head into the halfway mark of the comp.
Click below to watch the match highlights >>
ROUND 13: BEARS V EELS
This week we head to CommBank Stadium for Friday Night Footy to play the Parramatta Eels. It’s a short turn around week having played Sunday which means JT and his trainers will be working extra hard to ensure the team are rested and ready.