The Northern Pride produced a gutsy 24-12 win against Tweed Heads at Piggabeen yesterday to keep the side in top six contention.
Pride coach Joe O’Callaghan said his players would use this week’s bye to regroup and take stock before a crucial month of big games for the Intrust Super Cup champions.
The win at Tweed Heads made amends for the previous week’s shock 17-8 loss to the Magpies at Tully.
Second rower Vaipuna Tia Kilifi was instrumental, scoring two tries while veteran Sam Obst also played well.
“I thought each of the guys really stood up and were accountable,” O’Callaghan said.
“We maintained the pressure well today, stayed patient finals and got into the grind. I’m most pleased about keeping Tweed to 12 points.
“The guys are pretty banged up now in the sheds.
"The bye has come at a really good time for us."
After that break, the Pride will face Burleigh (home), Mackay (away), Redcliffe (Innisfail), Norths Devils (away) and CQ Capras (home).
The Pride are on 22 points, a win behind fifth-placed Easts (24 points) and the six-placed Mackay Cutters (24 points).
Linc Port, who was one of three players asked by O’Callaghan to be more accountable during the week after a mixed effort against Magpies, answered the call.
He sealed the win in the 73rd minute with a 30m sprint to the tryline.
“Aside from being strong in defence I also liked the way we scored our tries,” O’Callaghan said. “They were real ‘team’ tries and had some teamwork to them.
“Overall it was a good performance and I’m proud of the boys.”
The Pride led 14-6 at halftime after first half tries to Javid Bowen and Tia Kilifi.
Tweed reduced the margin to two points with an early second half try, but Kilifi’s second and Port’s solo effort sealed the win.
NORTHERN PRIDE 24 (Vaipuna Tia Kilifi 2, Linc Port, Javid Bowen, Sam Obst tries; Justin Castellaro, Javid Bowen goals) def TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 12 (Blake Anderson, Matt Srama tries; Blake Anderson 2 goals) at Piggabeen Sports.
Tweed Heads Seagulls: 1. Ali Grant 2. Nathanael Barnes 3. James Wood (c) 4. Kalifa Faifai-Loa 5. Leva Li 6. Shaun Carney 7. Matt Srama 8. Matt White 9. Sam Meskell 10. Oliver Percy 11. Matt Robinson 12. Blake Anderson 13. Sam Saville 14. Ricardo Parata 15. Dane Clarke 16. Ben Ridge 17. Jai Ingram
Northern Pride: 1. Hezron Murgha 2. Linc Port 3. Brett Anderson (c) 4. Justin Castellaro 5. Javid Bowen 6. Ryan Ghietti 7. Sam Obst 8. Jack Svendsen 9. Jason Roos (c) 10. Ben Spina 11. Vaipuna Tia Kilifi 12. Graham Clark 13. David Murphy 14. Cameron King 15. Tom Hancock 16. Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 20. Patrick Kaufusi