There were jubilant scenes at Browne Park last night as the CQ Capras opened their 2018 Intrust Super Cup campaign with a spirited victory.
Five-eighth Blake Goodman was the home-side hero, piloting a field goal over with just three minutes left on the clock to seal the 15-14 win over Easts Tigers.
It capped a memorable day for the Capras, whose Under 20 Hastings Deering Colts and Under 18 sides also scored wins over the visitors.
Coach Kim Williams was understandably proud of his side's gutsy performance, but also that of the two young brigades.
“You can't help but be pretty happy with that,” he said post-match. “I just said to our guys certainly the wins are great, but it's the way all three teams went about it.
“Each of the teams was behind at some stage and had to fight back for the win.
“I think you can see we're building something within this club that's hopefully pretty special.”
It was certainly special for the first-graders, who had not enjoyed a victory since Round 14 last year.
Williams had stressed the need for his side to start the game well and his players responded.
Forward Bill Cullen (who has returned from a stint with the Raiders) crashed over for the first try of the match in the second minute to set the tone for what was a strong opening stanza for the Capras.
Fullback Zeik Foster, who was one of the team's best, won the race to a perfectly weighted grubber kick from Goodman to extend the lead to 12-0 halfway through the first half.
Easts hit back with a try several minutes later to make it 12-4 and they continued to build pressure on the Capras, who held firm, diffusing a number of attacking raids.
The score remained 12-4 at halftime, but it was Easts who struck early in the second, scoring out wide to make it 12-10.
They wrestled the lead from the Capras with about 13 minutes to go ahead 14-12, but with seven minutes to go in the match, centre Connor Broadhurst kept his cool to convert a penalty to lock the scores at 14-14.
It was the Capras who then took their chance, with Goodman landing the field goal to secure the two competition points.
The defensive lapses that plagued the Capras in the latter half of last year and even in their three pre-season games this year were not there, with the players muscling up in numbers. They even held Easts up several times over the line.
Williams applauded the efforts of powerhouse forward Dave Taylor, who produced some strong carries at vital stages, made big metres and looked dangerous with the ball.
The coach said his side had ticked a lot of boxes in the win and the result would help build confidence moving forward.
“I know it's only Round 1, but it's been a while coming so we're certainly going to enjoy it.
“The important thing is not to get carried away with it and realise what got us there was the hard work they put in on the field and through the pre-season.
“Hopefully, we can back it up next week.”
CQ CAPRAS 15 (William (Bill) Cullen, Zeik Foster tries; Connor Broadhurst 3 goals; Blake Goodman field goal) def EASTS TIGERS 14 (Linc Port 2, Brett Greinke tries; Scott Drinkwater goal) at Browne Park.
Intrust Super Cup Round 1 Highlights: Capras v Tigers