Photo: Maria Girgenti - Madcap photography
The Northern Pride and Papua New Guinea Hunters will this weekend face off in a fascinating top-of-the-table Intrust Super Cup clash.
Both teams have started the season with three straight wins, setting the scene for an epic contest at Kalabond Oval, Kokopo.
The Pride’s most recent win came against Redcliffe at Barlow Park on Saturday night, with the home team doing just enough to keep the Dolphins winless this season.
After going into the half-time break at 6-6, the Dolphins skipped in front 12-6 after 47 minutes when Adrian Davies converted an Aaron Whitchurch touch down.
But the Pride responded with a Jack Svendsen try and Shaun Nona conversion to level proceedings at 12-12.
Nona slotted over a 61st minute penalty to give the home team the lead, before a Jason Roos try and another successful conversion inside the final 10 minutes sealed the 20-12 win for Jason Demetriou’s team.
NORTHERN PRIDE 20 (Justin Castellaro, Jack Svendsen, Jason Roos tries; Shaun Nona 4 goals) def REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 12 (Aaron Whitchurch, James Ackerman tries; Adrian Davis 2 goals) at Barlow Park.
Innisfail to host Cup clash
Pride Press Release:
Sea Swift Northern Pride have praised Innisfail Brothers Rugby League Football Club after the two organisations agreed to bring an Intrust Super Cup game to the Cassowary Coast for only the second time ever.
The Pride were scheduled to travel to Brisbane to face Norths Devils in Round 6 of the Intrust Super Cup on the weekend of April 5-6, but in a coup for the Innisfail rugby league community, the Pride have successfully won the rights to move the clash to the Far North.
Footy fever took over Innisfail last April when Northern Pride held an historic first ever game in the town against Tweed Heads Seagulls at Callendar Park.
Pride Chief Executive Officer Brock Schaefer said this year’s game, which will take place on Saturday, April 5 (5pm kick off), would not have been possible without the support of Innisfail Brothers Rugby League Football Club and the local community.
“There are few places as fanatical about their rugby league as the Cassowary Coast, and Innisfail in particular,” Schaefer said.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer the region a game of this magnitude and I have no doubt fans will witness a firecracker of a game.
“We can’t thank the football club and the local Innisfail community enough for their help in making this happen.”
Schaefer said the economic benefits to the region of Innisfail hosting a game in the world’s third best rugby league competition would also be of significant value.
“We know the knock-on economic effects will be huge for the whole Cassowary Coast region,” he said.
“This will be shown by the number of tickets we’ll sell to footy fans outside of the Innisfail region, who are travelling to the game and possibly spending their money on accommodation, hospitality, retail, tourism and other local activities.
“It has the potential to be a big money-spinner, which is great for everyone in the community.”
Another mouth-watering prospect on the day is the Cairns District Rugby League A Grade match between Innisfail Leprechauns and Cairns Brothers, which will kick-off immediately after Pride’s state league match at 7pm.
The two teams are player-coached by Pride legends Ty Williams (Innisfail) and Chey Bird (Brothers), who will go head-to-head for the first time in the CDRL.
“The fact that Innisfail will also be at home that night against Brothers, and fans will see a first ever showdown between Ty and Chey, will further make it a huge night for the town and our great game,” Schaefer said.
This will be the fifth time that Northern Pride have taken an Intrust Super Cup game outside of Cairns, and follows the successful hosting of these games in Bamaga (2011), Mount Isa (2012), Innisfail (2013) and Yarrabah (2013).
“Having taken Intrust Super Cup games around Far North Queensland in the past, our club has become very adept at hosting regional clashes,” Schaefer said.
“We will have players and development officers visit schools and community groups in the lead up to the game, and we think we will have a capacity crowd at Callendar Park.
“These games are hugely popular community events, but also deliver a tangible benefit to the local economy.”
Innisfail Brothers Rugby League Football Club President John Kremastos said his club was very excited about hosting another state league game in Innisfail.
“Innisfail is a parochial rugby league community and deserves matches of this quality,” Kremastos said.