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Photo: Maria Girgenti - Madcap Photography

A HAT-TRICK from winger Justin Castellaro helped the Northern Pride to an opening round 36-0 win over the Sunshine Coast Falcons on Saturday.

Last year’s minor premiers put on a show for their home fans at Barlow Park – now known as ‘The Jungle’, with Castellaro opening the scoring in the fifth minute of the match.

He later went on to score the last try of the first half to give his side a 14-0 advantage going into to the break where coach Jason Demetriou would have been pleased with their defensive effort.

They completed their shut-out of the Falcons in the second – with Castellaro putting the icing on the cake in the closing minute of the match; pulling down a high ball to complete his hat-trick.

In a game played in wet conditions; it was always going to be a difficult ask for the newly renamed Falcons who were fielding a comparatively inexperienced side to the Pride.

The home side had NRL-experienced players including try scorers Ricky Thorby and Cameron King contributing well to the team; while the Falcons had five players making their debuts in the competition.

The Sunshine Coast turn their attentions now to their first home game next weekend against the Souths Logan Magpies and new coach in Ivan Henjak will be asking his players to build on the positives from their round one game.

The Pride will travel to Browne Park to take on a CQ Capras side which pushed the highly-fancied Burleigh Bears all the way in their opening round match.

It was also a tough trip away for the Sunshine Coast’s Cyril Connell Cup team; who went down 22-0 to the Pride earlier in the day.

However, their Mal Meninga Cup side were able to celebrate a 26-20 win, with Cory Parker scoring at hat-trick.

NORTHERN PRIDE 36 (Justin Castellaro 3, Davin Crampton, Ricky Thorby, Tyrone McCarthy, Cameron King tries; Shaun Nona 4 goals) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 0 at Barlow Park