The trials presented by Mother Nature have failed to halt the momentum of the Northern Pride who surged to their third win of the season in the Hastings Deering Colts, beating Mackay in their clash at Barlow Park last Saturday.
Norths Devils also continued to impress and maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 42-18 win over the Mustangs with junior Queensland representative Eddie Blacker crossing for a hat-trick, while Gerome Burns kicked five conversions.
Up north, the Pride’s win will be added to the standings to determine who takes home the newly revived Noel Ford Memorial Shield.
The Pride were quick out of the blocks with captain Patrick Gallen crashing over from short range in the fourth minute before five-eighth Evan Child capitalised off his side’s early monopoly of possession as he fooled the defence with a neat dummy to make the scores 12-0.
Mackay responded soon after through an unconverted try to centre Jacob Schill, but an arm wrestle would ensue, with the wet weather wreaking havoc on ball control.
It would take until the 42nd minute for Mackay to cross again through Hayden Pace to close the gap to 12-10.
With the game in the balance, Pride halfback Jack Campagnolo took charge for his side, scoring 10 minutes before fulltime. His conversion maintained his perfect record with the boot to seal an 18-10 win for his side.
Torrential rain has impacted heavily on the northern based teams in the early stages of the season and it’s been no different for the Pride who have missed countless training sessions and had their preseason disrupted; missing their final trial and having opening round game against Wynnum postponed.
Pride coach Dave Scott said that while the continuous rain has been unsettling to his side’s preparations, he acknowledged it was part and parcel of living up in North Queensland.
“We haven’t been able to train properly for the last three months because it’s been very wet, so it’s hard to get quality sessions in, but you just get through it with these boys and we know what we get in the far north,” Scott said.
With the Hastings Deering Colts undertaking a new state-wide format in 2018, coach Scott has lauded the revamped competition and believes it is integral for the development of young players, especially in a rugby league heartland like Cairns that has produced the likes of Origin greats like Nate Myles and Justin Hodges.
“People talk about Queensland being the mainstay of rugby league in Australia and for me, in the far North, the game is massive – so keeping these boys here in Cairns is only going to be beneficial for their development,” he said.
He also believes the alignment of the Hastings Deering Colts with the Intrust Super Cup has allowed for a broader range of players to access the pathway to elite level rugby league.
“These late developers and potential athletes that would have otherwise been lost to the sport will actually stay in the game longer, so this competition is now a real clear pathway as 15 teams and more players entering the talent pool to be identified and picked up,” Scott said.
Elsewhere in the Hastings Deering Colts, Wynnum continue to defy their disrupted start to the year with a dominant win on the road against Ipswich.
Easts also produced a strong performance to overcome the Falcons, while Souths Logan were never headed as they defeated the Burleigh Bears 24-10 at Pizzey Park.
While the Pride have the bye this weekend; Bishop Park will play host to the match of the round as the top of the table Thunderbolts face off against the Norths Devils, while the CQ Capras will look to maintain their early season momentum when they host Ipswich at Maurie Webb Park.