The Intrust Super Cup premiers came to Ipswich last night to tackle the in-form Ipswich Jets.
A desperate Pride were determined to get their season started after three losses and to end their Ipswich hoodoo that has seen him not win in the city since 2009.
The game commenced under grey skies and a heavy track, the conditions that would have had the Pride’s big forwards looking forward to slowing up the Jets’ mobile forwards and speedy backs.
The Pride kept their shape until the 13th minute, when electric Ipswich speedster Marmin Barba scored try number five for 2015 and got the Jets off to a flying start.
Next it was Nemani Valekapa’s turn to score and take his season tally to five and keep pace with Barba.
If the Pride were thinking Barba and Valekapa, then they would quickly be thinking Anderson too.
Pride playmaker Sam Obst grubbered behind the line, only for Carlin Anderson to come forward in the wet to scoop the ball up, jink and take off towards the sideline. Once clear he burnt off the Pride to kick infield for electric rookie Brandan McGrady, who beat Javid Bowen to the ball in a thrilling foot race.
With an injured Chris Walker off the field, the Pride took advantage and posted their first points of the match through Bowen after a well-constructed play to the left.
The Pride pegged the lead back further when a smart grubber behind the line saw Luke George win the race to the ball for a 16-8 scoreline.
That man Barba was then back to haunt the Pride again with try number two, and just to further damage the Pride’s recovering confidence, he converted to take the Jets to 22-8.
After another great play from Anderson, Ipswich added to their tally when Josh Seage swooped on a grubber from Dane Phillips for a 26-8 half-time lead.
It capped off an amazing half of football, in pouring rain, which saw the Jets in a commanding position.
In the second half, the Pride got away to a great start with Bowen scoring his second try, proving the northerners had plenty of fight left in them.
A surging Pride team dominated all facets of the game in the second half, with Linc Port and Hezron Murgha scoring two more second half tries to get the Pride within four points at 26-22.
Incredibly, the Jets only had 35 percent of the ball in the final 40 minutes, yet kept digging deep to turn the premiers away from their line right up until the final whistle in a dramatic finish.
IPSWICH JETS 26 (Marmin Barba 2, Nemani Valekapa, Brandon McGrady, Josh Seage tries; Marmin Barba 3 goals) def NORTHERN PRIDE 22 (Javid Bowen 2, Hezron Murgha, Linc Port, Luke George tries; Cameron King goal) at North Ipswich Reserve.
Ipswich Jets: 1 Carlin Anderson 2 Marmin Barba 3 Chris Walker 4 Nemani Valekapa 5 Brandon McGrady 6 Josh Cleeland 7 Dane Phillips 8 Josh Seage 9 Matt Parcell 10 Rod Griffin 11 Sam Martin 13 Keiron Lander 14 Troy O’Sullivan 15 Kurtis Lingwoodock 16 Billy McConnachie 17 Liam Capewell 18 Gerico Cecil
Northern Pride: 1 Hezron Murgha 2 Linc Port 19 Semi Tadulala 4 Luke George 5 Javid Bowen 6 Ryan Ghietti 7 Sam Obst 8 Ben Spina 9 Jason Roos 10 Patrick Kaufusi 11 Vaipuna Tia Kilifi 12 Graham Clark 13 Tom Hancock 14 Cameron King 15 Jack Svendsen 16 Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 17 David Murphy