The Northern Pride were in fine form against the Central Queensland Capras on Saturday night; celebrating their last home game at Barlow Park with a 46-18 win.
The Pride hit the ground running with their first try coming after just three minutes and that was just the start for the home side. Fans saw a try-a-thon in the first half with the halftime score reaching 42-6.
Pride coach Joe O’Callaghan said as the team couldn’t finish higher than sixth and couldn’t drop out of the top six; the match was more about getting the team as motivated as possible for a win.
“It was a bit worrying about some of the younger guys getting complacent, but it was great to see them have such a good hit out for our last home game and before the finals this weekend,” O’Callaghan said.
“It was hard in the second half for the team to stay mentally tough. We only had 11 players due to sin binning; but I was pleased overall with the team’s effort.
“I would also give full credit for the Capras, they came out much harder in the second half and really dominated.”
Things looked ominous for the Capras at halftime, but the visitors put in a good effort to ‘win’ the second half, with tries to youngsters Jake Ainsworth and Sam Smith. The CQ side will be hoping both these players have gained valuable experience this year to take into next season.
With the Pride having so many players retiring at the end of the season, O’Callaghan was happy for the team to give them a proper home send-off.
“It was great to see the boys doing to for their team-mates. The boys made sure it was a good send off and was a great overall team effort,” O’Callaghan said.
The Pride will be hoping they can continue this form as they face a tough assignment next Sunday when they come up against the Ipswich Jets in the elimination final at 1.35pm in the televised match.
O’Callaghan said the team will be preparing as normal and focusing on playing good footy.
“The two times this year we played the Jets, we lost by four points in Ipswich and we beat them in Cairns. I think there isn’t too much between the two teams,” O’Callaghan said.
“This is what you train for all year and this could be the last time some of these guys play. I don’t think the boys will be lacking motivation.
“The Jets are playing very exciting footy and we will just have to prepared for what they throw at us.”
NORTHERN PRIDE 46 (Linc Port 4, Luke George 2, Vaipuna Tia-Kilifi, Tom Hancock, Jordan Biondi-Odo tries; Javid Bowen 5 goals) def CQ CAPRAS 18 (Jake Ainsworth, Dan Randall, Sam Smith tries; Dean Allen 2, Ian Webster goals) at Barlow Park.
Northern Pride: 1. Linc Port 22. Semi Tadulala 3. Brett Anderson (c) 21. Javid Bowen 5. Luke George 20. Ryan Ghietti 7. Sam Obst 9. Jason Roos (c) 10. Patrick Kaufusi 11. Vaipuna Tia Kilifi 12. Graham Clark 13. Tom Hancock 14. Jordan Biondi-Odo 15. Brent Oosen 16. Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 17. David Murphy 18. Keelan White
CQ Capras: 1. Reece Baker 2. Jake Ainsworth 5. Dan Randall 4. Sam Smith 18. Dylan Webber 7. Mark Johnstone 8. Gerard Tema 9. Ian Webster 10. Gavin Hiscox 11. Tyson White 12. Rajan Opetaia-Halls 13. Guy Williams (c) 14. Corbyn Kilday 15. Nathan Young 16. Josh Johnston 17. Josh Mitchell 6. Dean Allen