Coming into Thursday’s match, it was expected to be a close one between the then third-placed Bears and fourth-placed Sea Eagles.
But right from the outset the Sea Eagles began to run up the score, crossing the line three times before their opponents had a chance to respond.
On the edges the home team were devastating, and wingers Tomasi Ravula and Storm Rautor were the main beneficiaries, thanks to their forward pack seeming ability to cross the gain line with almost every carry.
From there they spread it out with some crisp passing helped along by the fantastic conditions, plus plenty of unselfish team play that made easy work of the Bears.
JJ Maui was a key part of the successful Sea Eagles offensive, and his sharp kicking game gave very little room for counter-attacking opportunities, with the Bears looking decidedly uncomfortable under his high balls.
Maui’s play looked even more impressive in comparison to the Bears, who were unable to take advantage of a number of penalties by failing to reach touch.
But despite the scoreline mounting against them, the Bears showed that they have the toughness and mindset to be a potential disruptor come finals time, as they refused to give in.
Time and time again the Sea Eagles would cross for a try, and the Bears would continue to respond, dishing out a number of big hits that sent their opponents rocking.
And although they shot themselves in the foot at times with sloppy penalty management, they put on a notable offensive performance in their own right.
Lock Andre Iro did his best Andre the Giant impression, smashing ball carriers in almost every contact situation, and managed to cross the line himself twice.
Although he collected two tries, at times it felt that Iro was underutilised by the halves, who occasionally went away from their big man close to the line, when he would have been most useful.
Out wide Sebastian Rapana was the standout of the backs, crossing for three tries and generally distributing well.
Thursday’s win was made all the more remarkable due to the fact that the two Papua New Guinea imports have still not represented the Sea Eagles.
They are expected to be ready to play this week’s opponents, the Tupapa Panthers, while the Bears will face current champions the Titikaveka Bulldogs, who had a bye over Easter weekend.