All week rain had threatened to unleash on game day, and yet we were blessed with another stunning home game at Bear Park for the final round of the Knock On Effect NSW Cup regular season. Kicking off the day with another first for the club and the district as we hosted local junior league U14 and U16 girls tackle games on the main oval. These young women are the first of their age groups to play all-female rugby league tackle competitions on North Sydney Oval and the quality of football on display was very high. A wonderful way to end the North Sydney District Junior Rugby League 2023 season.

The Raiders arrived early and with a sense of determination, knowing that the result of this game would mean top 5 finals series qualification or not. The green machine was ready to rumble. This was a very physically demanding game, with heightened emotions and one that would end with a total of 6 players on report, 3 sin bins and four penalty goals across the two teams. Over twenty minutes went by in the first half before anyone scored a point. Bears on the attack, sweep the ball at pace to the wing, finding Junior Pauga who uses his speed and strength to take the ball over the white line. Ben Stevanovic converts and the Bears lead 6 – 0. Only moments later, big prop forward Kurt De Luis breaks the defensive line and our captain, Zach Dockar-Clay is there to collect an offload and ground the ball just beside the posts. Stevanovic converts and the Bears lead extend to 12 – 0 with thirteen minutes left in the half.

The boys from the nation’s capital rallied with just over ten minutes remaining in the first half and lit up the scoreboard with a scoot down the sideline. The try is converted and the score narrows to 12 – 6. Only five minutes later the Raiders find a weakness in the Bears defense on the try line, bust across, convert and the scores are locked at 12 all. Bears go on to give away two penalties in the last two minutes of the half for a dangerous tackle, followed by a late tackle, resulting in the Raiders taking the two points right in front and heading to the sheds up 12 – 14.

The second half kicks off and the heat is on from the get-go. This time Bears take the two points from a crowding penalty and level the scores. Near on twenty minutes of fierce footy follows, tiring both sides. Raiders finally make a break and are legging it towards the try line when Pauga diffuses the attack, however leaving him on report for a dangerous tackle. A tussle breaks out and both teams are left a man down as two players are sin binned. This time, Raiders get the penalty shot and add two points to take the lead back. The boys in green follow this up swiftly with a converted try and the score line extends to 14 – 22. More penalties are blown, Raiders steal another two points and momentum is slipping away from the Bears. Only minutes later the Raiders drive over the white line again, convert and the lead extends to 14 – 30. The red & black are not giving up and you can feel the team’s desperation to pull the game back into line. Bears make a charge down field that sees Dockar-Clay drive over the line. The referee calls held up sparking upset among the Bears and Stevanovic is sin binned for verbal dissent. Less than two minutes later, Raiders take advantage of the lightened defensive line and using some fancy pass work nab one last try, defeating the Bears 14 – 36 and securing themselves a spot in the finals.

Not the ending we had wished for but a fantastic season by the Bears nonetheless, having secured the Knock On Effect NSW Cup Minor Premiership two rounds earlier. David Trodden, CEO NSWRL, and Yvette Downey, Head of Competitions NSWRL, were on hand to present the team with the Minor Premiers Shield post-game. A mighty achievement and a proud moment for our club!

Click below to watch the game highlights >>


NSWRL have now released the pathway to the Knock On Effect NSW Cup Grand Final. The finals series is a five-team competition between the Bears, Rabbitohs, Warriors, Raiders and the Sea Eagles. As minor premiers, the Bears move straight to the Major Semi-Final that will be held at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday 9th September, time is TBC. We will need all Bears members and fans to come along and cheer on the red & black for this big game!


While our Bears team gets a week off to focus on training, four of the Knock On Effect NSW Cup teams will go head-to-head at North Sydney Oval on Saturday in the first week of semifinals. Rabbitohs (2nd) v Warriors (3rd) at 11am, followed by Sea Eagles (5th) v Raiders (4th) at 3pm. The winner of the first game, Rabbitohs v Warriors, will go on to play the Bears at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday 9th September for a spot in the Grand Final.

Gates open at 10.30am as we kick off the day with the Panthers v Eels Jersey Flegg semi-final at 11am. The pies will be hot, the beers flowing, and tickets are only $10 per adult, kids U16 get in FREE. Bears members with valid 2023 members card get in for free too! Tickets can be purchased online via the link below or at the gate on game day (cash & card accepted).

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