As thousands of people packed into North Sydney Oval on Sunday to watch the mighty Bears take on the Jets in the final of the Frank Hyde Shield, a sense of nostalgia washed across the venue. A sea of red & black, with a good dose of Bluebags, filled the hill and the sun beamed down on Bear Park. The smiles on the kids faces as they kicked a footy, got their face painted or devoured a donut were almost as big as the adults who dared to stop Gary Larson, Mark Graham or even Barney the Bear for a selfie and a chat.

We kicked off the day with our first ever Bears Legends League Tag Gala. Five teams sweated it out on the field in a great show of sportsmanship and athleticism, culminating in a grand final between the Bears and a local touch footy team called the Jets. It was a close battle with the teams going try for try but the Bears were victorious and ex-player and North Sydney Bears Life Member Curtis Johnston eagerly accepted the Cup. Well done to all who competed. We will release images and a full review this week.

As the 3pm kick off loomed, the line to get into Bear Park snaked down to Percy’s and the ground had a buzz not felt since the 90’s. The Bears beers were flowing, the sausage were sizzling and the live band, “Escapism” rocked out across the green grass – how good were they! The legends of decades gone by joined us on field, forming a guard of honour to cheer on the NSW Cup teams as they ran out, Stand Aside blaring on the loudspeakers. The old Ken Irvine scoreboard was in action, with plenty of points scored by both teams.

The Jets got the jump with an early try straight after kick off but Bears responded with Will Fakatoumafi leaping for the corner in front of the O’Reilly Stand and the score sat at 4 – 4. Only moments later Fakatoumafi walked his second over the line after a swift pass from Marschke, Ben Stevanovic converted, and Bears took the lead. In a game that seemed to go try for try, Jets had the Bears on the run with some fast ball work along the hill line that saw Mansour score and Trindall convert. The Bluebags followed it up with another try 25 minutes in which saw out the points from both sides for the remainder of the half and the boys went to the sheds down 10 – 18.

Second half kicked off in the Bears favour and the crowd rose to cheer on the red & black. Fakatoumafi pocketed his hattrick only five minutes in after a long ball by Marschke and a catch and dive to ground the ball in the corner. The kick was waived away. Fifteen minutes of hustle and tussle between these two strong sides went by and it was Alfred Smalley who backed himself, found the gap and took the ball to the line. Stevanovic converted to give the Bears the lead again at 20 – 18. Unfortunately, the last 12 minutes of the game saw the Bears make some crucial errors, missed opportunities in attack and Jets ran in three tries end the game 36 – 20 to the Bluebags. The Jets retain the Frank Hyde Shield for a consecutive year.

Make no mistake, this was an epic game by both sides and the red & black fought right to the end. Having one nine out of the first eleven games, we have now sustained three losses. Jason Taylor commented post-game that he and his coaching team know the areas that need work and can see how to address them. He also reminded the fans not to drop their heads and to keep backing the Bears as their ongoing support and belief in the team will help to bring them home across the next ten rounds. Still a long way to go in this 2023 season and what a season it has been so far!

Click below to watch the game highlights >>


This Sunday we go again as we take on the Rabbitohs in the final of the Mario Fenech Cup at Coogee Oval. Souths are putting on a fun game day with food trucks, Young Henry’s pop up bars and kids’ activities, so get along and support the mighty Bears!

Check out Head Coach Jason Taylor’s team named for this weekend’s game >>

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