Lowe and behold: Ethan helps Pride down Devils
Ethan Lowe pumped out an 80-minute non-stop performance for the Northern Pride, while the Norths Devils suffered a third successive loss when the teams met in round 12 of the Intrust Super Cup.
Previously 18th man for the Queensland State of Origin team, Lowe was demoted last week from the North Queensland Cowboys.
He put his hand up for an NRL recall with a strong showing in Cairns, including an eye-catching line break in which he busted several tackles and offloaded for teammate Graham Clark to score.
It was far from a one man show however, as the Pride set about establishing a 17-0 halftime lead, before eventually emerging 29-10 winners.
The only period when the Pride were threatened on the scoreboard was the 10 minutes after halftime, as the Devils ran in tries in the 42nd and 45th minute to close the gap to 17-10.
The second of those tries, to fullback Jack Ahearn, came from a quick tap when the bearded opportunist caught the Pride napping.
Not to be outdone, the home side put the result to bed with two entertaining tries of their own.
First speedster Gideon Gela-Mosby snatched an intercept, then Murray Tualagi ran length-of-the-field and hurdled a defender.
Playmaker Jake Clifford was on song with the boot this week, nailing four-from-five conversions and a field goal, as well as pinching the opening try of the match for a 13-point personal haul.
It was an unhappy excursion to the tropics for Norths resulting in them being leapfrogged on the ladder by the Pride.
The Devils also lost their two previous encounters against Ipswich and Mackay, having been a front-runner of the competition just a month ago.
Now they are in stark danger of sliding out of the top eight, and have conceded an average of almost 30 points per game in their last three performances.
Starting hooker Calum Gahan lasted just eight minutes before succumbing to injury, while Broncos fringe squad member Gehamat Shibasaki was cleared to return to play after suffering a head knock in the second half.
Next Saturday the Pride host Souths Logan at 6pm at Barlow Park, while Norths are away to the Sunshine Coast Falcons in the only Sunday match of the round, kicking off at 3pm.
NORTHERN PRIDE 29 (Jake Clifford, William Bugden, Graham Clark, Gideon Gela-Mosby, Murray Tualagi tries; Jake Clifford 4 goals; Jake Clifford field goal) def NORTHS DEVILS 10 (Alex Bishop, Jack Ahearn tries; Todd Murphy goal) at Barlow Park, Cairns. (updated May 27)
Photos courtesy of Gordon Greaves.