The QRL Media Year in Review series continues with Northern Pride.
The northern club were one of the standout performers in the Intrust Super Cup in 2018, but for the most part were able to go about their business quietly until making the finals.
However, it seems their form heading into the 2018 finals series, and the key omission of young gun half Jake Clifford eventually took its toll on Northern Pride and despite his return from the Cowboys for their elimination match; the Tigers proved too good in a comprehensive win.
With the 2018 Intrust Super Cup season having drawn to a close QRL Media have decided to take a look back through the year for all 14 clubs to see what went right, what went wrong and what the club are likely to focus on going forward into the 2019 season. Stay tuned to QRL.com.au in coming weeks for more club Year in Review articles.
More Intrust Super Cup Year in Review Series:
The Season By-The-Numbers:
Final Position on Ladder: 4th
Regular Season Win %:
- Won: 13
- Draw: 1
- Lost: 9
Home and Away Record:
- Home: 8-3
- Away: 5-6
- Conceded: 404
- F/A: 70
Players in Focus:
Standout Player: Jake Clifford
Try Assists: 6
Line Break Assists: 6
Average Run M: 59m
Average Kick M: 204m
Forced Drop Outs: 22
Notable Player Mentions:
Highlight: Round 14: Jake Clifford kicks the winning goal to claim come-from-behind victory over competition front runners Burleigh Bears.
Intrust Super Cup Round 14 Highlights: Bears v Pride
- Ty Williams – Intrust Super Cup Coach of the Year
- Jake Clifford – Intrust Super Cup Rookie of the Year, Queensland Under 20s and Junior Kangaroos selection, NRL debut for North Queensland Cowboys in Round 19
- Enari Tuala – Junior Kangaroos selection
- Will Budgen – Queensland Residents selection, North Pride Players' Player and Northern Pride Members Player of the Year
- Murray Tualagi – Queensland Under 20 and Junior Kangaroos selection
- Darryn Schonig – Northern Pride best forward
- Brett Anderson – Northern Pride Player of the Year and Best Back
- Peter Hola – Junior Kiwis selection
- Emry Pere – Junior Kiwis selection
Key Factor: Finals fadeout
The Pride were one of the form teams in 2018, finishing the season sitting in fourth position on the Intrust Super Cup ladder. However, it seems their form heading into the 2018 finals series and the key omission of young gun half Clifford during that time eventually took its toll.
They entered the 2018 finals series on the back of a 16-6 defeat to Redcliffe Dolphins and a 10-10 draw with Tweed Heads Seagulls in Cairns. The Tigers had also entered the finals series following a 48-18 defeat at the hands of the Burleigh Bears.
Cowboys coach Paul Green released Clifford from the his 17 to allow him to gain finals experience, but after the Tigers crossed for their first try in the third minute, it was one-way traffic as they went on to score a further 26 unanswered points to secure a 32-0 victory and knock the Pride out.
Looking ahead to 2019:
Heading into next season, the Northern Pride will be wanting to re-find the form that saw them win the 2014 Intrust Super Cup premiership.
The club have recently announced the signings of Easts Tigers half Brayden Torpy and his brother, Bulldogs forward Cameron Torpy. The Pride look to have retained most of their squad for the 2019 season, and will be under the guidance of 2018 Coach of the Year Ty Williams.