CAPRAS coach Lionel Harbin lamented poor discipline, costly turnovers and a spate of inexperience - but believed Central Queensland rebounded quickly after its demoralising first half.
Harbin said Melbourne Storm-contracted Ben Hampton was a “class above the rest” leading the Sunshine Coast Falcons to a comfortable 36-24 win at Browne Park on Saturday night.
"They were a good quality side, but the game was there for us to take," Harbin said.
"Ben Hampton was a class above everyone and you could tell why he has earned himself a contract in the NRL."
Despite both sides having similar penalty and error counts, Harbin highlighted the inconsistent ball handling by his team which curtailed any meaningful pressure in attack.
"Dropped balls came back to hurt us," he said.
"In the first half we scored a couple of tries but we turned it over in the first tackle and were punished for it."
Harbin lauded the return of Reece Baker's never-say-die attitude with a resilient game at fullback.
"He brought a lot of energy to the team and he will be better for the run," he said.
A consistent Hayden Buckman was another to earn the coach's praise after scoring a double at wing.
"We had a couple of individuals who were really good for us," Harbin said.
"Bucky had a really good game for us and it was pleasing to see him capitalise off Matty's (Minto) good vision."
Sunshine Coast played merciless in the opening 40 minutes to enter the break 30-14 ahead.
Central Queensland came out firing after halftime with youngsters Buckman and Jake Ainsworth crossing the paint.
"Our second half was really good, we defended well," Harbin said.
"Shaun Collins played great at left centre and defensively shut down their play a few times."
Led by five-eighth Minto, the Capras kept peppering the Falcon's line in the dying minutes, but had any potential comeback snuffed out by a runaway try.
"We are scoring tries, but we aren't stopping them at the moment," Harbin said.
"We need to be able to defend our errors."
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 36 (Travis Robinson, Callum Klein, Jake Turpin, Rueben Baillie, Ben Hampton, Jye Ballinger tries; Ryan Hansen 3, David Oakes 2, Jacob Samoa goals) def CQ CAPRAS 24 (Hayden Buckman 2, Jake Ainsworth, Dan Randall, Gerard Tema tries; Ian Webster 2 goals) at Browne Park.
CQ Capras: 2. Jake Ainsworth 3. Shaun Collins 4. Dan Randall 5. Hayden Buckman 6. Matt Minto 7. Ian Webster 8. Gerard Tema 9. Josh Mitchell 10. Gavin Hiscox 11. Garrett Field 12. Guy Williams (c) 13. Corbyn Kilday 19. Mark Johnstone 15. Rajan Opetaia-Halls 16. Dean McAdam 18. Clinton Mooney 1. Reece Baker
Sunshine Coast Falcons: 1. Sam Young 2. Hymel Hunt 3. Travis Robinson 4. Callum Klein 5. Tony Tumusa 6. David Oakes 7. Jake Turpin 8. James Ackerman 10. Ryan Hansen (c) 11. Joe Stimson 12. Rueben Baillie 13. Jacob Samoa (c) 14. Ben Hampton 15. Johnny Vuetibau 16. Mboya Adams 17. Jye Ballinger 19. Jay Lobwein
This first appeared on the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin: Returning demons haunt Central Queensland Capras