Halfback Guy Hamilton put on a show to guide the Falcons to a 37-16 win over a hard-working Northern Pride at Sunshine Coast Stadium today.
In a side missing a number of their Melbourne Storm stars – Hamilton stood up and took control on the match when it counted.
However, it was a hard-fought match for the most part with the Pride showing glimpses of what they can do on the field in patches – but again letting themselves down in crucial moments.
They got over the line a number of times, but were denied tries on three occasions, including in the opening minutes of the match when they thought they were the first on the board after fullback Bradley Stephen crashed over.
However, the video referee correctly overturned the decision as contact was made on Falcons defender Matthew Soper-Lawler in the air in the lead-up.
It was then the Falcons turn to attack and they made the most of it when Intrust Super Cup debutant Chris Lewis made a bust down field and turned to Hamilton who was in support to run the rest of the way to score.
Lewis – who was part of last year’s NSW Cup premiership-winning Illawarra side – seemed to enjoy the move to the Sunshine State and had several key involvements throughout the afternoon.
The Falcons extended their lead with a successful penalty goal from Hamilton in the 17th minute and were out to a 14-0 advantage when Hamilton again featured by scoring his second try.
However, that four-pointer (which came off the back of a good run from forward Liam McDonald) was against the run of play with the Pride having worked hard to build pressure. They had fought back and were twice held up over the line before they could finally, officially crack the Falcons defence.
Stephen was rewarded for his effort and scored in the 36th minute after a great offload back on the inside from Javid Bowen.
With Khan Ahwang’s successful conversion – they were within touching distance of the Falcons 14-6, but they undid their good work when they allowed the home side to cross just before halftime through Justin Olam.
Olam proved too fast and strong for the defence after receiving a great out ball from who else but Hamilton.
Trailing 18-6 at the break; the Pride again fought their way back into the game when Ahwang went over in the corner after a great double-pump at the line from Jordan Biondi-Odo fooled the defenders before he released the ball for Stephen who then produced a great flick pass to his winger.
They were in again after a great run from Patrick Mago. The big forward – who was one of their strongest performers in the game – passed back on his inside to speedster Gideon Gela Mosby who did the rest, while Ahwang’s conversion narrowed the scores to 18-16.
However – that was to be the end of the scoring for the visitors with the Falcons then taking their game up a notch to dominate the rest of the half.
Forward Tui Kamikamica came into his own as the game progressed and helped lay the platform for two of the Falcons following three tries – the first of which came via Alex Copelin after they went the (very) short side to surprise the Pride.
Olam scored his double soon after, while Jye Ballinger rounded out the scoring plays after running in support of Hamilton who could do no wrong in the match and regathered a chip ahead for himself before passing out wide to his centre who sealed the win.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 37 (Guy Hamilton 2, Justin Olam 2, Alexander Copelin, Jye Ballinger tries; Guy Hamilton 6 goals; Guy Hamilton field goal) def NORTHERN PRIDE 16 (Bradley Stephen, Khan Ahwang, Gideon Gela-Mosby tries; Khan Ahwang 2 goals) at Sunshine Coast Stadium.