Valleys laid down an early marker defeating a gutsy Brisbane Natives 46-18 in their Rugby League Brisbane Northside Open 1 clash at Emerson Park on Saturday.
The newly revamped Rugby League Brisbane competition went into full swing last weekend, with a new beginning, high hopes and a host of clubs all vying for a first up win to set an early pace.
It is too early to make any bold predictions, however the Diehards, led astutely by five-eighth Jake Fahey and hooker Beau Mclean, certainly have set a cracking pace early on.
It would only take one minute and 17 seconds for the Diehards to set the digital scoreboard into activation mode, as the reliable winger Quentin Pepe took a superb pass from Fahey to wrong foot the Natives defence and plant the ball over in the corner.
In absolutely sweltering conditions, a second Pepe try further increased the Diehards lead to 8-0 in front of what was a very parochial home crowd for Old Boys day.
Valleys kept rolling and led 14-0, but Natives were not ready to be outdone by the home side and were well served by inspirational captain Caleb Boyd who was near perfect at fullback.
Natives reduced the deficit to 14-6 after prop Jordan Bani found open space to crash in beside the sticks, finally getting the visitors on the scoreboard.
The Diehards were soon back in control, however, with Hayden Yusia linking up with halfback Brock Nelson to force his way over the line taking the lead out to 18-6 at halftime.
Valleys started the second half exactly the way they started the first half with a try to hooker Beau Mclean just two minutes after play resumed.
Another Diehard try would come just one minute later, however Natives, who were bleeding and down on troops, found strength from within and responded with a cracking try of their own.
Enter Natives captain Caleb Boyd. The lightning quick fullback took a well-executed pass from hooker Jesse Cumner and with his blistering speed, dived over to score.
At 28-12, the game could still have gone either way, however the difference between the two sides was Diehards winger Guk Riec who just wouldn’t take his foot off the throttle.
The flashy flanker scored the try of the game, with his eye catching in-and-away beating three defenders to slice through a yawning gap before leaping into the air over the whitewash in a fantastic solo display.
Tries to Fahey and Mclean ensured a big win for the home side while a second Caleb Boyd special proved to be one last parting shot for the visitors.
* Mike Simpson is the Rugby League Brisbane correspondent for the QRL