Breaking their 32-year drought, the Brisbane Tigers have created history, winning the 2023 QLD Cup against the Burleigh Bears by four points in a 22-18 victory that went down to the final play of the game.
The win has not only broken the club's premiership drought but sent off star fullback Corey Thompson in legendary fashion after an illustrious career in rugby league that included playing in the 2014 NRL Grand Final.
Tristan Powell would get the game underway for the Brisbane Tigers in the 12th minute before Burleigh Bears winger Tony Francis crossed for a double. The first came from a great pass assist from Gold Coast Titans youngster Keano Kini- the eventual Duncan Hall Medallist for player of the match.
Both clubs would score another two tries, but it would be Jonah Pezet's goalkicking that would give the victory to the Tigers, having converted all five chances, whilst Tyrone Roberts made one from four.
"Board members are crying... it's an emotional time... we found a way and we did it," Tigers coach Matt Church said via QRL.com.
"We've broken a drought. Our defence was just outstanding. We hunted them from the start and we just kept going. It was an 80-minute performance... we found a way.
"I thought our best footy could beat Burleigh's best footy. Neither side was at our best today but you get that in these games with pressure moments. We owned a few moments a bit better than them.
"Would've preferred it not to be that close but we've done that all year so why make the grand final any different."
"It means so much... our long-suffering fans, it's been 32 years," Church added.
"Just so proud of the group. If someone told me 12 months ago this could've been a possibility, I wouldn't have believed them. I'm choking back tears now."
The Brisbane Tigers hold off a last ditch effort by Burleigh to win the QLD Cup!
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) September 17, 2023
Unfortunate not to walk away with the victory, opposing coach Luke Burt of the Burleigh Bears spoke on the Grand Final loss.
"Full credit to the Tigers," Burt said disappointingly.
"They made the ruck ugly and that's the way they were going to win... they executed their game plan to perfection and we didn't.
"We needed to earn the field position. I thought we were a bit impatient. If we earnt the field position and played our shape, I thought we were going to be good enough. But to the Tigers' credit, they hardly made an error and made us come off our try line.
"No one goes out there to lose this match... they were all strong. The year the boys have had, I just can't fault anyone."