Intrust Super Cup Round 17 Highlights - Northern Pride V Easts Tigers at Barlow Park, Cairns. 5.30pm Saturday July 4, 2015.
TERRIFIC TRIO PRODUCE GUTSY SHOW OF PRIDE
Rhys O’Neill – The Cairns Post
THE Melbourne Storm have the Big Three and the Northern Pride may just have found their own Titanic Trio.
Young props Sheldon Powe-Hobbs, Jack Svendsen and Dave Murphy have combined to ensure a ridiculous injury toll and the controversial send-off of co-captain Brett Anderson were mere speed bumps to a 24-12 win over Easts on Saturday.
With the closest thing to a giant cowboy being at the rodeo, the Pride were relying on their emerging trio to step up against a Tigers side with their own Intrust Super Cup finals ambitions.
What they got was a performance that could prove the making of the next wave of NRL talent in the Cairns club’s gutsiest win of the season.
Powe-Hobbs, 23, has a reputation as an explosive bench gun but proved much more than that in a tireless blend of power and passion.
Svendsen, 21, also found another gear, while Murphy, 19, returned to the blockbusting form that saw him tagged as the league’s biggest surprise packet in the opening months.
Not even the dismissal of Anderson for an alleged king hit early in the second-half could take the gloss off the Pride’s ninth win in 12 starts.
“We play our best footy when we don’t have many Cowboys back,” Svendsen said.
“It was tough going up against a bigger side like Easts, they are always physical.
“I thought we prepared really well during the week at training.
“When Ando went off we had to stick together and work hard and that’s what that game came down to.”
The Pride led early following Keelan White’s impression of a 90kg bowling ball, bullocking several Tigers defenders out of the way to land his first ISC try under the posts. Winger Luke George went over minutes later before comeback kid Justin Castellaro latched on to a deft first-tackle chip to make it 16-0 with 30 minutes left.
Anderson’s send-off for an off-the-ball incident threatened to railroad the hosts as returning hero Shaun Nona set up Michael Kai for the first of his two tries moments later. Tully junior Nona soon added a clever 40/20 and when fullback Linc Port dropped a kick return and Kai pounced, the Tigers had a sniff against 12 men with 15 minutes to go.
Yet this Pride team of young tyros again lifted, proving the Cowboys allocations are a bonus, not a necessity.
Coach Joe O’Callaghan hailed his side for delivering in a week that was capped by rookie and late call-up Lachlan Parmenter injuring his hamstring in the final training run on Friday night.
That led to an SOS being sent out to Brent Oosen, summoned back from working at Mission Beach to play his first match for three weeks.
“I thought we were sensational,” O’Callaghan said. “It’s been one of the more interesting weeks in league that I’ve been involved in.
“The team changed about five or six times. Ando getting sent off probably summed the week up – it was one challenge after the other.
“But other than the grand finals, that’s the best win I have been a part of.”
NORTHERN PRIDE 24 (Linc Port, Justin Castellaro, Luke George, Keelan White tries; Justin Castellaro 4 goals) def EASTS TIGERS 12 (Michael Kai 2 tries; Shaun Nona 2 goals) at Barlow Park.
Northern Pride: 18. Semi Tadulala 2. Linc Port 3. Brett Anderson (c) 4. Justin Castellaro 5. Luke George 6. Ryan Ghietti 14. Sam Obst 20. Jack Svendsen 9. Jason Roos (c) 10. Sheldon Powe Hobbs 11. David Murphy 12. Graham Clark 13. Tom Hancock 15. PJ Webb 19. Cameron King 17. Brent Oosen 16. Keelan White
Easts Tigers: 1. Donald Malone 2. Maeli Seve 3. Whetu Austin 4. Michael Kai 18. Shane Neumann 6. Shaun Nona 19. Brentt Warr 8. Foisa Peni 9. Tommy Butterfield 10. Liam McDonald 11. Dane Hogan (c) 12. Jake Foster 13. Troy Giess 14. Francis Tualau 15. Matthew Zgrajewski 16. Brenton Horwood 17. Billy Walters