Pre-season trials continued around Brisbane over the weekend in the XXXX Second Division with a double header played at Aspley Devils home ground on Friday night.
In the Open 1s, Aspley hosted the Mitchelton Panthers whilst the other game was played between Pine Rivers and the newly-formed Moreton Bay Pride.
Credit must be given to Aspley who have put on these pre-season competitions in the past and if it is any indication from the crowds through the gates, there appears to be a vested interest before the season starts.
In the opening game, Mitchelton looked the goods and certainly will be no push overs with a clinical 10-8 victory over the Aspley Devils. Led by halves Cameron Starkey and Andrew Skrzypa, the Panthers simply were too good in a fast paced four quarter game.
The visitors skipped away to a healthy 10-0 lead in humid conditions in front of a healthy ground that saw some very physical defence by both sides.
Aspley under the watchful eye of English-born coach Stu Wilson, were a more competitive side in the third quarter. A well needed spark by halfback Guss Law, saw the ball moved out through the backline to find a flying James Swan who ran in the Devils first try.
The Devils again found the whitewash through powerful centre Tovia Sua who crashed over after the Devils capitalised from a drop ball from the kick off by the Panthers. In a see sawing last quarter both sides threw everything at each other, but it was Mitchelton’s defensive mettle that would prove to be the catalyst in taking the spoils. Final score Mitchelton 10 defeated Aspley 8.
In the other game, it was all one way traffic to a rampant Moreton Bay Pride who easily disposed of a lacklustre Pine Rivers 54-0. The newly formed Pride were merciless to a hapless Bears side that were outclassed both physically and skilfully.
In a damaging and physical battle, the Pride never looked like getting out of second gear as they ran in nine unanswered tries against the lighter Bears side. Centre Ryan Lambert was simply devastating outwide for the Pride as was prop Aaron Healy and second rower Chris Miliko.
The Pride opened the scoring through centre Lambert after some flimsy defence saw him stroll in untouched. Soon afterwards a thundering run by reserve Brett Beattie saw him easily go over and plant the ball down after punctuating the brittle Bears defence. At 12-0, it appeared that the Bears might be in for a long night.
Pine Rivers, desperately trying to hold the Moreton Bay attack, were made to pay again after some feeble attempts at tackling the bigger Pride pack and it was left to Jacob Aiono who carved his way up the middle and go in to score.
Lambert was to go in again for his second of the night with a powerful run that could only see the Bears look on as he made no mistake touching down. Lambert’s goal kicking would prove to be another nail in the Bears’ coffin as he slotted some cracker goals from the sideline.
After the halftime break it was Lambert’s centre partner James Pyle who got in on the action with a scintillating try to see the Pride racing away to a blistering 30-0 lead.
The Bears did try to salvage a bit of pride and passion in their jersey with second rower Dean Willis and halfback Adam Pratt trying hard in attack and defence respectively, however it was never going to spark a resurgence so late in the game.
Further tries to the Pride through lock Richard Salu and Hamish Hunt made the scoreboard click over and with the score blowing out to 54-0 it was simply too big and too strong to a Moreton Bay side that certainly will give this year’s competition a real shake.