Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
5 days ago
The North Sydney Bears Jersey Flegg team finals run came to an end on Sunday at Aussie Stadium. Up against the Roosters one of the greatest Jersey Flegg teams in history the Bears were primed for a big performance against the undefeated Sydney Roosters.
The Bears game plan was to complete their sets and kick deep and turn the big Roosters players around. Things went to plan early for the Bears and they played some solid football. The Bears only made a handful of errors in the first half, but the Roosters punished them with three tries direct from Bears' turnovers for a 17- nil half time lead.
The Bears defence was put to the test with the quick play the balls of the Roosters and their speedy outside backs. The Roosters were able a numbers of breaks but the Bears scrambled brilliantly in defence and Johnny Russell was a standout in defence, cutting down numerous Roosters breaks with some textbook tackles and kept the Bears in the game at half time.
After half time the Roosters were on fire and scored two tries shortly after the break. But the Bears never gave up and continued to put pressure on the Roosters' defensive line. Lee Te Maari (pictured) came off a perfect Bryce Poisel pass only to have the ball stripped from his grasp illegally, just short of the Roosters' line. From the penalty a short blindside backline movement had the Roosters defence in all sort of trouble and Nathan Wilson crashed over in the corner to have the Roosters' lead cut to 27-4.
From this point despite the best effort of the Bears, the Roosters flexed their muscles and ran in a number of tries in the final ten minutes of the game to run out winners 47-4.
Despite the loss, the Bears should feel proud of their efforts. Johnny Russell was a standout in defence, unfortunately he was unable to complete the game after sustaining a shoulder injury midway through the first half. Nathan Ward continued his fine form with a non stop performance in attack and defence. Brett Law worked himself to a standstill for the Bears and Tim Woodbine came up with a mountain of work, and assisted the Bears' forward with valuable metres from dummy half.