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Capras and Pride share points in first draw of 2021

The Central Queensland Capras and Northern Pride have played out the first draw of the 2021 season, with both sides sharing a point after finishing 18-18 at Browne Park last night.

The Pride managed to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit to maintain their unbeaten start to the season, with coach Ty Williams saying that while his side still had plenty of room for improvement, he was pleased with their ability to stay in the game.

“We are very happy to be leaving Browne Park with one point,” Williams said.

“We weren’t at our best, but at the back end of the match we showed some real ticker to actually get a point of the game so there’s a few positives to take out of it.”

For the Capras however, the side will lament the fact they have been unable to score a second half try in their opening two rounds.

After an evenly matched opening exchanges, the Capras managed to break the deadlock when winger Maika Tudravu crossed in the 14th minute to give the Rockhampton based outfit a 4-0 lead.

Halfback Jack Madden then made it tries in back-to-back games to begin his 2021 campaign, extending the Capras lead to 10-0 midway through the half.  

The Pride then had a try of their own with 10 to go in the first half when second rower Tom McGrath nabbed his first career try to bridge the gap to four points.

However, Capras were then able to extend their lead with bench forward Charles Sheppard crossing the line with halftime looming.

Treymaine Brown’s second successful conversion for the half meant the Capras headed into the sheds with a 16-6 lead.

The second half started much like the first, with both teams getting through plenty of work in the middle of the field, before Pride winger Shawn Bowen finally got the first points of the half, scoring in the 65th minute to make it 16-12.

The Capras were able to extend their lead to a converted try thanks to a successful penalty goal in only four minutes later from Brown, giving them a crucial six-point buffer heading into the final 10 minutes of the match.

The Pride refused to go away in the closing exchanges however, with former North Queensland Cowboys and Manly Warringah Sea Eagles hooker Jayden Hodges crossing the line with seven minutes left to go.

Halfback Tom Steadman then knocked over the vital conversion to tie the game up at 18-18 with five minutes remaining. 

A tense final five minutes played out with neither side able to clinch the victory at the death.

Williams said he was pleased with his side’s composure to rally from a double-digit deficit and credited the contribution of recruit Hodges.

“We created more than enough chances to score points in the first half but just didn’t execute, so I just said to the boys to keep applying pressure and then we were able to score late in the game,” Williams said.

“Jayden [Hodges] was involved in a couple of big moments in the game, he scored the try at the end, but also set up the try for Tom McGrath as well.

“He played some big minutes tonight and I thought he showed his leadership skills to help us get back into a position to have an opportunity to level the game.”

Capras head coach Williams said that while he would have loved to see his side capitalise on their halftime lead, he was pleased with his team’s overall effort and believed the club was moving in the right direction moving forward.

“I feel like in the past as a club, we have slackened off for 10-15 minutes and a team will put three or four tries on us, but tonight I thought there was really good effort from the players for nearly the entire 80 minutes,” Williams said.

“I started as head coach in the second week of January and the players are still probably getting their heads around the way I want them to play, but I feel like they’re making lots of progress in the right direction and we’re getting closer to becoming a team that wins more often than not.”

The Pride will next look to continue their unbeaten run so far this season when they take on the Wynnum Manly Seagulls after the Easter break.

Still chasing their first two points of the season, the Capras head to Moreton Daily Stadium after the Easter break to face the Dolphins.