Pride, Aspley share points in tough match
As far as rugby league games go, this would have to be one of the most brutal encounters witnessed in a while.
A dramatic 28-28 draw was played out in the Open 1 Northside Division between Aspley Devils and Moreton Bay Pride at Kirkby Road that literally went down to the wire in a sensational finish.
In an open and entertaining game which spoke volumes for the quality of rugby league played outside Premier Division, both teams showed why they currently sit in the top four for this Division.
Aspley, led by Nikolao Misipati, Alex Tukavkin and Augustine Law, were faultless for the home side as they starred throughout. It would be the Devils who were first to see points in the game with a clever backline movement that saw five-eighth Dylan Hughes produce a beautiful cut-out pass to find centre Quillan Malaki who’s power and pace easily got him over the tryline.
The Devils fullback James Swann’s sideline conversion had the home side leading early on at 6-0.
With the Pride dishing out some ferocious punishment in defence led by Junior Peni, Chris Fonoimoana and Sam Patelesio, it was not enough to stop a charging run from five metres out by Aspley’s Michael Malaki, who somehow managed to pop out a ball to his brother in waiting Quillan Malaki who went in for his double of the afternoon.
However, the Pride still making dents in the Devils with their punishing defence, could not stop a determined Tukavkin who jinked and weaved his way to score beside the posts in a great solo effort.
With Law and hooker Jordan Malone running the show for Aspley, it was not enough to halt the Prides first try as wrecking ball Zion Tivalu took no prisoners in a charging run that saw him go in to score the visitors first try.
In what seemed like a mirror image, the next try would be replicated, this time by Junior Peni who through sheer power out muscled five defenders to crash in and score under the sticks.
At 18-12, you could definitely smell a close game on the cards and when a melee erupted in centre field, the Devils continued to play to the whistle and scored a neat try of their own in the corner.
Again, Swann landing a perfect sideline conversion to see the home side leading 24-12.
Some inspiration by Pride coach Josh Smith saw him lay down the law and make some notable replacements which proved to be a masterstroke, as Andrew Harris inched his way over to score a fantastic try on the stroke of halftime.
With the conversion successful both sides earned the well-earned break with the Devils hanging on to a 24-18 lead.
The second half could not have got off to a better start Pride as they started where they left off in the first half. Winger Stott Sadnuku was rewarded for a fine backline move that saw five-eighth Ewan Coutts produce some razzle dazzle to eventually find his winger who squeezed into the corner.
With both sides tiring from the physicality of this game, there was still enough spark to enlighten the huge crowd on hand. A beautiful 80m burst upfield by Devils replacement player Richard Ana was breathtaking to watch as his turn of speed was phenomenal, but he was cut short five metres out by a copybook grass cutting tackle by Pride fullback Rodwell Faapito which brought a roar from the crowd.
The next play the ball would however see hooker Malone dive over for a sneaky try to pip the home sides noses just in front at 28-22.
Aspley coach Faraimo Malaki was nervous as a massive hit by the Pride pack would see the Devils lose the ball in their own quarter and put them in a perfect scoring position.
With exactly one minute remaining on the clock, the Pride did the unthinkable and from a standing start, front rower Jake Skelton charged his way over despite the attention of the Devils defence to score a sensational try.
With Warr having the weight on his shoulders to land the goal that would see a draw as the final result, his attempt just skimmed the upright to see one of the best games of the season in Open 1 Northside that will surely take some beating as far as entertainment value goes.
Final Score: Aspley Devils 28 drew with Moreton Bay Pride 28.