The Northern Pride sent their departing coach Joe O’Callaghan off in winning form with a 30-16 win over the Central Queensland Capras at Browne Park on Saturday.
With both teams out of finals contention, it was still going to be tough contest as the two teams fought to finish of their seasons with a win.
In all, O’Callaghan has been with the North Queensland club for four years, two years as assistant coach and two years as the head coach. Next season, he is moving on to pursue other areas; but he was happy to end his time with the club on a high.
“We were just two points off making it to the finals which was a bit disappointing, but it was good to go out on a win,” O’Callaghan said.
With the regular season coming to an end for another year, the Pride finished off in eighth spot; but their coach was pleased with how the team performed in the back end of the season.
“I have been impressed with the boys for the last five weeks; we have won four of our last five,” O’Callaghan said.
“We had a loss to Redcliffe in Round 20 which ended our finals race. We could have gone backwards, but the boys didn’t give up.
“We beat Burleigh and PNG who are top six sides and I couldn’t be more pleased with them.”
Given the side were not going to play finals, O’Callaghan was pleased with the attitude his side brought into their final match of the season.
“It’s a two-and-half hour charter flight; I thought the boys might have been slow to get going and knowing they couldn’t make the finals, I was extremely proud,” O’Callaghan said.
The first half was one-way traffic with Pride gaining a 12-0 lead going into the halftime break.
However, the Capras fought back and scored the first points of the second half before letting the Pride run away with the game.
Two late tries reduced the deficient, but a tough day with the boot saw the CQ side miss all four of their conversion attempts which meant the closeness of the game was not reflected on the scoreboard.
O’Callaghan was not the only one to feature in their last game at the Pride, with fullback Linc Port – who scored two tries in this game – also moving on next season where he has signed with the Easts Tigers.
“Linc has been great for us, he will be going to the Easts, but it was good to see him finish off winning at the club,” O’Callaghan said.
Pride winger Khan Ahwang scored a try and was perfect with the boot, kicking five out of five conversions to break the record for most points in the regular season at the club which is now 204.
“Khan has been great all year, he was rewarded with breaking the record for most points which was 200 set back in 2012,” O’Callaghan said.
He also finishes at the third highest point scorer for the competition this year.
NORTHERN PRIDE 30 (Linc Port 2, Khan Ahwang, Sheldon Powe-Hobbs, Colin Wilkie tries; Khan Ahwang 5 goals) def CQ CAPRAS 16 (Junior Kirisome 2, Brandon Manase, Chanel Seigafo tries) at Browne Park.