Lynch's Bears lose narrowly in the NRL State Championships

A wayward bounce in the game's final minute has denied local Jeff Lynch and his Burleigh Bears a NRL State Championship title in a thrilling finish at ANZ Stadium.

Lynch, who was drafted in to the team as a replacement for the ill Oliver Percy, performed strongly off the bench, but it was the Newtown Jets who triumphed, winning 20-16 on Sunday afternoon.

The Bears controlled the run of the play for much of the game's first 50 or so minutes, getting out to a 16-2 lead.

Lynch, a former Cowra Magpie raised in the area, made the most of his 34 minutes on the field, making 12 runs and gaining 130 metres, while sticking all 20 of his tackles.

However, the Jets, this year's Canterbury Cup winners, were persistent, absorbing the Bears pressure before coming up with some winning plays of their own.

Sione Katoa's two tries on the right side were crucial, the winger unleashing his athleticism to get over the line in spectacular fashion.

But with the scores at 16-14 in the game's final moments, the Jets topped that play with something even more astonishing.

Billy Magoulias, one of the heroes in the Jets' win against Wentworthville the week before, brought all of his chip-kicking savvy to bear on the moment, kicking over the top of the Bears line, seemingly for centre Ronaldo Mulitalo to run towards.

But while the kick, deployed in similar manner for the Jet's Will Kennedy the week before, would ultimately be successful, it wasn't the placement of the ball, but instead, its bounce that would scupper the Bears' day.

With full-back Kurtis Rowe, who barely put foot a wrong all day, and captain Luke Page running towards the ball, it seemed that Bears would shut down the Jet's offense and win back the ball.

But the ball wrong footed both players, with Rowe being caught flat footed and Page left running in the opposite direction, the ball falling into the arms of the Jet's Jackson Ferris, who scooped up the ball and ran forward for the easiest of tries under the posts, making the score 18-16.

Veteran Greg Eastwood, in his last game, added the two to cap off his career and a remarkable comeback for the Jets.

While the Bears will be kicking themselves after the loss, strong performances from Rowe, Jamal Fogarty and Anthony Don, the latter scoring two tries, ensured they had one hand on the trophy for much of the game.

If only for that bounce.

  • NEWTOWN JETS 20 (Katoa 2, Ferris 2 tries; Eastwood goal; Trindall penalty goal) def BURLEIGH BEARS 16 (Don 2, Fogarty tries, Fogarty 2 goals)