Pride resist Gulls comeback
THE Northern Pride survived a second-half comeback from fellow high-fliers Wynnum-Manly to win 36-24 at The Jungle and retain top spot on the Intrust Super Cup ladder.
The Pride, whose side featured 13 of their 17 players born and bred in Far North Queensland, raced to a 30-6 halftime after a thrilling display of attacking football saw them run in six tries.
But the Seagulls mounted a spirited fight back in the second half, outscoring the hosts 18-6 in the final 40 minutes before falling short.
There was little evidence in the first stanza of the game being a close affair, in a clash between first and third on the ladder, as the Pride overwhelmed Wynnum-Manly.
With crafty Pride halfback Sam Obst in top form, the visitors had no answer to the host's attacking prowess.
Winger Justin Castellaro, in for the North Queensland Cowboys-recalled Kyle Feldt, scored two early tries, the second the result of a brilliant Obst kick on the first tackle which caught the Seagulls defence napping.
And when Tyrone McCarthy, Davin Crampton and Blake Leary all bustled their way over, the Pride found themselves 26-0 up with just 30 minutes on the clock.
Wynnum Manly finally got on the scoresheet through Jon Grieve, but Shaun Nona's superb dummy close to the line extended the Pride's lead at the break.
The visitors came out with much more purpose after the interval, with interchange forward Dylan Smith and five-eighth Ben Cronin both scoring to suggest a remarkable comeback.
However, Pride co-captain Jason Roos stemmed the tide and eased the host's nerves when he went over from close range on the hour mark.
The Seagulls were still not finished though, with Brisbane Broncos-contracted star Jordan Kahu flying high to touch down with four minutes left on the clock.
But it was all too late, and the Pride were able to celebrate a win in centre Brett Anderson's milestone 100th game for the club, while Leary also celebrated his 50th Pride appearance.
NORTHERN PRIDE 36 (Castellaro 2, McCarthy, Leary, Crampton, Nona, Roos tries; Nona 4 goals) def WYNNUM-MANLY SEAGULLS 24 (Grieve, Smith, Cronin, Kahu tries; Seamark 4 goals) at Barlow Park.
1. Hezron Murgha 20. Semi Tadulala 3. Brett Anderson (c) 4. Javid Bowen 2. Justin Castellaro 6. Shaun Nona 7. Sam Obst 8. Ben Spina 9. Jason Roos 10. Alex Starmer 11. Blake Leary 12. Tyrone McCarthy 13. Davin Crampton 14. Ryan Ghietti 15. Jack Svendsen 16. Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 18. Tom Hancock
Wynnum Manly Seagulls
1. Benaiah Bowie 2. Peter Gubb 3. Matt Grieve 4. Mitchell Buckett 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Ben Cronin 7. Matt Seamark 8. Ben Shea 9. Mitchell Moore 10. Tim Natusch (c) 11. Graham Clark 12. John Te Reo 13. Mitchell Frei 14. Jon Grieve 15. Stephen Coombe 16. Tanu Wulf 17. Dylan Smith