Church leads Tigers to victory

Former SP PNG Hunters Coach, Mathew Church successfully guided the Brisbane Tigers to their maiden Hostplus Cup victory against Burleigh Bears on Sunday.

The Tigers held off the Bears 22-18 in a hard-fought grand final match.

Matthew Church, who was the Coach for SP PNG Hunters from 2020 – 2022, steered the Brisbane Tigers to premiership glory in his first year at the club.

Tigers registered first on the scoreboard through Prop Tristan Powell 12 minutes into the game and Tigers took the early lead with a successful conversion. However, the lead was short-lived when the Bears Tony Francis crossed the line twice to give his side a lead 8 – 6 with missed conversions.

Just under eight minutes to go before the halftime siren went, Tigers Centre Kane Bradley leapt over the Bears fullback and grounded the ball in-goal to boost his side four points lead, with 12 – 8 at the halftime break.

Both teams came back firing in the opening exchange of the second stanza of the game and Tigers Max Lemman crossed over for the much-needed point to extend Tigers’ lead 18 – 8 with a successful conversion.

Seven minutes later, the Bears hit back with a try to Sami Sauiluma before Francis found the line for his hat trick of tries and conversions were again unsuccessful. The missed conversion affected their late surge with veteran Tyron Roberts only managing 1 out of 4 goal conversions.

Bears missed a few opportunities to score points. Tigers, on the other hand, did well generally in defence and in attack. They deserved the win.

Chruch said the team created history and it meant so much to him and the club. He said the victory left Board members in tears. It was an emotional time for the entire team.  

The grand final victory brought so much to the long-suffering fans and the team officials as the team broke the 32-year drought. 

Loop Sports