The Northern Pride pushed their way into the Intrust Super Cup top six on Saturday after securing a 16-4 win over the Burleigh Bears.
It was a good game for the Pride’s Hezron Murgha who scored his side’s opening try in his 100th Cup game for the club.
Coach Joe O’Callaghan was full of praise for his fullback, calling him “a god,” in the post-match press conference following the win.
Murgha may not see it that way, but after cracking 100 games for the Intrust Super Cup club on Saturday night, the fullback is not far away from bumping up his status from Yarrabah role model to more biblical proportions.
Players from the remote indigenous community weren’t meant to make it this far – until Murgha showed them it was possible.
Starting out as a fringe member of the outside backs, the 29-year-old has progressed to star ISC fullback, to Cowboys contract-holder, and now back again.
Regardless of what 2016 holds after his North Queensland deal expires, Murgha has been the man to inspire a generation.
“To take on that role, if you had asked me when I started playing footy if I’d crack 100 or get an NRL contract, I’ve just been blessed,” he says.
“I’ve been to the lowest point of footy and the highest – everything, ups and downs.
“I’ve come a long way.
“Joe will tell you that when I first came to the club my head wasn’t on.
“But him and JD (former coach Jason Demetriou) helped me with that stuff off the field and got me to where I am today.
“Last year with the state and national (titles), that’s got to be the highlight of my career.”
NRL honours have sadly lapsed, the sliding doors of a knee injury timed with the emergence of fellow Cowboys talent slamming shut any chance of adding more sparkle to Murgha’s resume.
“I always wonder how Hez would have gone without (injuring) that knee in 2013,” O’Callaghan says.
“The fact he’s come back and gone through a rehab like that a couple of times now and put together 100 games, I think that’s sensational.”
Murgha, though, isn’t dwelling on the past.
“That’s part of footy,” he says of the injury that sidelined him for almost a year.
“You can’t think what was, you just have to do your best.
“It’s an honour and a privilege (to play 100 games).
“I would like to thank my family for their support.
“There are a few boys that are still in that shed that have been here since day one with me – that’s special.”
Murgha’s role in Saturday night’s 16-4 win over Burleigh proved he is still the man to wear the No.1.
For all his brilliance in attack, it was a moment late on when he put his body on a collision course with three Bears rivals to prevent a potential match-turning play that summed up Murgha.
“I have a huge amount of respect for him,” O’Callaghan says.
“Everyone knows what Hezzy does with ball in hand but it’s that little thing he does with a couple of minutes to go that he probably doesn’t get credit for.
“He really put his body on the line.
“I came out a few weeks ago after the Tully game and I called for my back three to take more accountability and efforts like that from Hezzy show that he wants to play in the finals.”
NORTHERN PRIDE 16 (Hezron Murgha, Linc Port, Brett Anderson tries; Justin Castellaro 2 goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 4 (Talor Walters 2 goals) at Barlow Park.
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. Patrick Kaufusi 11. Vaipuna Tia-Kilifi 12. Graham Clark 13. Ben Spina 14. Cameron King 15. Tom Hancock 16. Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 17. David Murphy
1. Talor Walters 2. Connor Broadhurst 3. Jamie Dowling 4. Tyron Haynes 5. Dimitri Pelo 6. Christian Hazard 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Pele Peletelese 9. Chad Redmond 18. Waka Wanahi 11. Louie Fanene 12. Sam Swift 13. Darren Griffiths (c) 14. Jamie Anderson 15. Ayden Lee 16. Mitch Sharp 17. Josh Ailaomai