The Northern Pride chalked up another reason why they are the competition leaders and favourites when they beat the in-from Wynnum Manly Seagulls yesterday at BMD Kougari Oval.
The Cairns outfit has swept the months of June and July in convincing fashion and coach Jason Demetriou has the side primed for a deep run into September.
North Queensland Cowboys trio Javid Bowen, Kyle Feldt and Hezron Murgha all crossed over in the first half to put the Pride in front 18-0 as the teams went into the sheds.
Despite a spirited comeback from the home side the competition leaders would not relinquish their lead and they departed Brisbane with a 28-20 victory.
In the first half the Northern Pride showed why they are regarded as the team to beat. However in the second, the Seagulls showed that they have what it takes to be a real contender for the Intrust Super Cup.
The opening kick-off was an omen of sorts for the Seagulls as they kicked it out on the full. Cowboys winger Bowen was able to score on the opening set of six which would begin a terrific half for the visitors.
Fifteen minutes later, Pride general Sam Obst took the ball to the line and chipped for big targets Semi Tadulala and Feldt. The ball bounced back in the air and Feldt was able to pick it up and dot down in the right corner.
The winger would then score again minutes later in a play which reflected the level of confidence in both sides.
Wynnum had the ball in the Pride red zone and were working their attacking pattern towards their trusted left edge. Halfback Matt Seamark passed a ball to Ben Cronin who was playing out the back, however as he made the catch, the Pride’s Obst had flown out of the line and forced an error, which the halfback picked up and raced upfield. He found Feldt who flew 50m to cross in the left corner.
The Pride were really pressing on the home side at this stage and looked potent with each movement. Murgha would be the next beneficiary as he crossed in the left corner off a sweeping run that was too quick for the Wynnum cover defence.
It was not half Shaun Nona’s day with the boot as he missed all conversions in the first half. However he would pick up a penalty in front just before half time to give the visitors an 18-0 lead.
Shortly after the break Feldt and Murgha would leave the game due to leg injuries and their attacking prowess was notably missed for the Pride.
Wynnum from the beginning of the second half were full of running and their big forward pack started winning the important battle in the middle of the ruck.
Cornerstone Wynnum player John Te Reo provided a big impact when he was introduced in the second half. The former Brisbane Bronco helped turned the game around with strong shoulder contact and his trademark offloads in the tackle.
The stronger forward play gave room for future Cowboy Jake Granville to make probing runs behind the ruck and trouble the Pride defence.
Wynnum’s fight back efforts were rewarded with tries to Mitch Buckett, Peter Gubb and Chris McLean to bring the score tight at 18-16 with 15 minutes remaining.
However Pride captain Jason Roos quietened the Wynnum faithful when he broke the line and found Sheldon Powe-Hobbs for the try to extend the visitors’ lead to 24-16.
The home side weren’t done fighting yet, when Buckett scored a second. The centre has become a big target for Seamark with his chips to the left corner garnering multiple tries of late and yesterday’s effort was a full stretch in the air special.
Powe-Hobbs would seal the game for the Pride when he scored a late try to finish the game 28-20.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls celebrated their past players on the day and also milestones for Jon Grieve and John Te Reo, who have recently notched up 100 and 150 Intrust Super Cup games respectively.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Northern Pride at BMD Kougari Oval on Sunday, July 27 - 3pm
NORTHERN PRIDE 28 (Kyle Feldt 2, Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 2, Hezron Murgha, Javid Bowen tries; Shaun Nona 2 goals) def WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS 20 (Mitchell Buckett 2, Peter Gubb, Chris McLean tries; Matthew seamark 2 goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls: 1. Daniel Ogden 2. Peter Gubb 3. Matt Grieve 4. Mitchell Buckett 5. Benaiah Bowie 6. Ben Cronin 7. Matthew Seamark 8. Tanu Wulf 9. Jake Granville 10. Timothy Natusch (c) 11. Jon Grieve 12. Graham Clark 13. Mitchell Frei 14. John Te Reo 15. Stephen Coombe 16. Chris Mclean 17. Dylan Smith
Northern Pride: 1. Hezron Murgha 2. Javid Bowen 19. Lincoln Port 4. Kyle Feldt 5. Semi Tadulala 6. Shaun Nona 7. Sam Obst 8. Ben Spina 9. Jason Roos (c) 10. Alex Starmer 11. Blake Leary 12. Tyrone McCarthy 13. Davin Crampton 14. Ryan Ghietti 21. Latu Fifita 16. Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 17. Tom Hancock