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Northern Pride keep finals hopes alive against Ipswich

The Northern Pride have kept their finals hopes alive, blowing apart the Jets with a comprehensive first half in the Hostplus Cup's Turn to Me Round.

With the club's Old Boys watching on, including premiership-winning captain Jason Roos, the Pride showed how they have made their home ground a fortress in the last round of the regular season, as they went on the hunt for win number 102 from 144 games.

Both the Ipswich Jets and the Northern Pride came into this round with motivation.

The Pride are chasing a finals berth - needing a win and Wynnum Manly to lose in their Sunday clash with the Burleigh Bears - while the Jets were summoning a win to honour captain Nat Neale, who was playing his last game.

The Jets have always found Cairns a difficult ground to find a victory, with just three wins since 2008.

An Ipswich weakness that has stood out this year is their first half performances - they have let in 31 tries in the first 20 minutes of their games this season and their right-side defence has also suffered.

The Pride targeted both weaknesses perfectly to move to 6-0 in the second minute, when they attacked and went to their left.

The Jets started with a forward pass trying to move the ball out their half, giving the Pride prime real estate. From there the Pride put on a second phase masterclass as the Jets unsuccessfully chased.

Paea Pua dug into the Jets line but was able to attract defenders and get the ball out the back. Evan Child went left and Ewan Moore got Will Partridge another try to bring about number nine in 10 games.

Chris Ostwald continued the trend when he went out from dummy-half and came back inside to Nick Lui-Toso, who scooped it under the defence to Ash Little to run away and score a try.

Then it was Lui-Toso on the receiving end of a pass from his front row mate to expose poor Jets defence and stroll through, giving the Pride a 16-0 lead after 23 minutes.

The Pride were then lining up to stick the knife into the Jets defence when Little went himself and scored with little fuss to take the score to 22-0.

If you thought it couldn’t get easier for the Pride, Brendan Frei took on the Jets and scored again.

At half-time the Pride were up 28-0 and had played near the perfect half while the Jets couldn’t hold the Pride out.

The Pride had also held the Jets scoreless in a first half for the second time this season.

It was the Jets' worst start to a game since they were down 22-0 at half-time against the Blackhawks in Round 9.

The Jets showed some intent to move the ball and keep the Pride guessing when Neale, Lachlan, Cooper and Tyler Coburn combined to score the Jets' first try in two halves of football, having not scored since the first half against Norths last round.

The Jets started the second half with a try through Coburn, who ran off a Cooper offload and scored near the posts, running down the Jets right hand edge.

The Pride then became the 14th team the Jets have conceded 30-plus points to when they scored their sixth try through Ben Hampton.

The Jets moved the ball further from side-to-side until they settled in the middle of the field; then it was Josh Williams who saw some spacing issues in the Pride defence and got over under the posts to give the Jets their second.

Williams has been tireless for the Jets this season and was rewarded with his first try in the Hostplus Cup in his first starting game at hooker.

The Pride moved back to what worked in the first half, big men moving off their hooker Little. The Pride No.9 showed all his trickery when he looked to go right but came back to the left and found Frei to score his double.

Ipswich half Lachlan Cooper took advantage of some offloading as the Jets worked their way up field and then dummied his way through to score his fourth try for the Jets.

The Jets had clawed back some credibility in the second half but come up short in this trip to the Northern Pride, 40-18.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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