Brisbane Natives made sure they got their season back on track with an emphatic 32-18 victory over premiership leaders Pine Rivers in the Northside 1 Ted Beaumont Trophy at the weekend.
With the Indigenous side sitting firmly in fourth spot this was a must win for the Ricky Bird led side that came back from the dead to seal a well-deserved victory in front of their parochial spectators.
Pine Rivers did however look the better of the two sides in the opening stanza as they skipped away to an early 12-0 lead courtesy of two stellar tries from Purralala Pearce and fullback Gaven Michelsen.
Both tries were masterminded by brilliant five eighth and captain Jacob Laack who was superb with the boot all afternoon in a losing side.
In true Natives style though, the Indigenous team seem to have an uncanny knack of coming back at you with that never say die attitude.
Big hitters Joe Malone, Paul Sandow and David Kyle made sure that it would be up to them to return serve on the scoreboard and played a dominant role in making some easy yards up the middle with some punishing bursts.
Malone is a warhorse for the Natives who gives his all week in week out and in this game he led from the front in a heroic display that could easily see him playing on for years to come.
With Pine Rivers priding themselves on rock solid defence, it took the Natives three repeat sets of six to finally crack their line and a determined run by livewire centre Cedric Georgetown saw him dive over to score the Natives first try.
With halftime looming, the Bears seemed to look complacent and again their defence was showing signs of cracking under pressure which finally saw Ivan Harrison go in for the Natives, barging his way over the line.
With the siren sounding, both teams were involved in a melee in the in goal which resulted in try scoring hero Harrison dispatched to the bin for ten minutes.
In a highly entertaining first half the Bears were holding onto their slim lead at 12-10.
As the spectators were getting their breath back after the first half, the second half would also start off at a million miles an hour. After the Bears had dominated the first half, the Natives had come out more hungry and more determined for what was going to be the comeback of all comebacks.
Inspirational Natives Five Eighth Ricky Bird still has what it takes to play rugby league with a near perfect display on the field. His tactical kicking and pinpoint passes were reminiscent of his Intrust Super Cup days with the Ipswich Jets.
With the Natives in a try scoring mood, it only took four minutes into the second half for them to score courtesy of a great solo run by fullback Ron Conlan. With the conversion converted, the game had a new leader at 16-12.
The Natives new found form can be simply put down to one player, Anthony Gadd. The Natives should be indebted to the hulking second rower. Gadd’s unstoppable attacking prowess is truly remarkable.
It would be Gadd who had his hand in the Natives next try in a classic backline movement that saw one of his trademark cut out passes find a flying Francis Renouf who went in to score one of the tries of the game.
But just as the Natives looked like sending the bears back home with their tales between the legs, the Bears fought back brilliantly to score a memorable try by wrecking ball Viliami Taungatua who smashed his way through the Natives defence to score a well-deserved try.
Potter adding the difficult conversion saw the Natives still leading 26-18.
But just as the punters were heading for the turnstiles, hero of the day Anthony Gadd again showed his tower of strength by adding one more try to the Natives score right on fulltime as he literally piggy backed four Bears players with him over the line to crash over and seal a truly remarkable comeback to edge out the Bears in a classic encounter 32-18.
In the earlier games, the mighty St Joseph’s Saints notched up a magnificent 24-12 victory over a spirited Brighton Roosters in the Open 3 North division. For the Saints, Scott Bowman was a class above steering his side around the paddock and he was superbly joined by lock Cliff Tofilau who never stopped working in defence. Brighton were best served by Gary Tommassi and Kane Shorrock who caused a few headaches out wide.
In the Open 2 North game, the impressive and unstoppable Moreton Bay Pride were near clinical in an absolute whitewash thrashing Deception Bay Juniors 70-16. The Pride are definitely one step ahead in this competition and their attacking weapons of Ryan Lambert and Tito Tovio were a class act. A brilliant try to Lucas Maloney for the Pride was simply jaw dropping. For Deception Bay, Chris Hayburn and Don Currie were notable achievers in a losing side.