It was never a promising season for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
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NORTH QLD YOUNG GUNS 14 defeat BURLEIGH BEARS 10
Burleigh can no longer equal the record for most wins in a Queensland Cup regular season, following a dramatic 14-10 loss to the North Queensland Young Guns.
The defeat was just Burleigh?s second of the year, with the Young Guns responsible for leaving the sour taste on both occasions.
Consequently the Bears cannot match the 19 fixture wins by Redcliffe in season 2000, albeit when the schedule included two more games.
In the only other Queensland Cup season where teams have played 20 games (2001), Toowoomba had 18 wins in the regular season, but also pocketed a draw.
Despite the missed opportunity it is hardly panic stations for the reigning premier in any case, still three points clear at the head of the table.
The Bears will also offer for consideration that they were below strength in a tense and brutal match against a team which included both Travis Norton (pictured) and Josh Hannay.
Captain and prop Ali Brown was found guilty midweek of a careless high tackle and suspended, while five-eighth Adam Hayden was still carrying the effects of a hip problem.
Plenty of feeling was evident in pre-game discussions between supporters, arguing whether the Cup?s leading team could match it with a near-NRL strength outfit.
That sense of emotion was carried onto Pizzey Park, with reputations to uphold on both sides of the fence. At halftime the score was 6-all and the match was certainly living up to its billing.
Oddly enough one of the few non-NRL players in the North Queensland team helped swing the result in the Young Guns? favour. Breaking into the clear, teenager Dean Payne found Norton in support for a try midway through the second half.
It was then up to NQ to out-defend the best defensive team in the competition, a task which it completed amid a few nervous moments. Now on 19 competition points, the Young Guns have crept tantalisingly close to their first ever State League finals berth.
Amid the mayhem of the evening Burleigh winger Trent Purdon grabbed his 14th try of the season, placing him one behind Greg Inglis. Remarkably Inglis remains the competition pacesetter despite extended time in the NRL.
North Queensland next plays on July 2 against Souths Logan in Townsville, while Burleigh travels to QLD Group Stadium to face Ipswich the next day.
NORTH QUEENSLAND 14 (Mitchell Sargent, Neil Sweeney, Travis Norton tries; Josh Hannay goal)
BURLEIGH 10 (Trent Purdon, Aseri Laing tries; Reggie Cressbrook goal)
Special thanks to the QRL website for another fantastic article.
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