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Sunday finals see Capras post comeback, Devils steal it late

Central Queensland Capras haven’t played finals footy since 2009, coincidentally playing this weekend’s Finals Week 1 opponents the Northern Pride.

When they last played, they lost to the Pride 22-10 in the preliminary final and today they were hosting their northern rivals in an elimination final at Browne Park.

While the Pride have had a consistent finals appearances and past winners of the competition; this was their first appearance since 2018.

The first 10 minutes was a classic final settling in period with both teams dancing around each other searching for a weakness.

When a chink in the Capras defence did present itself, it was Pride fullback Julian Christian that took full advantage to bring about the Pride’s first try.

A high tackle took the visitors down field and then it was the Pride front row that took over. Nick Lui-Toso settled mid-field and gave the Pride a massive left field spread of attack. Then it was Paea Pua who found Christian to part the Capras defence and score untouched.

The Pride forwards didn’t just lay the work for the next try, they scored it when second row Connelly Lemuelu scored his fourth try in game number 10 for the Pride.

The Pride then went from side to side and finally found Lemuelu in a hole on the right.

Pride were keeping the ball alive and finding space that the Capras couldn’t plug.

The Pride forwards marched down the field and left Capras laying wounded all over the field.

The Pride went in for their third try with Christian getting into dummy half and grabbing a double in the finals.

Two penalty goals saw the Pride go to halftime up 22-0.

Pride’s first half form had been tremendous and follow their recent pattern of fast start, with their past two first halves producing a 50-0 scoreline. However, it was the second halves that would have the Pride worried.

The Capras were second half specialists last week against Souths Logan Magpies, scoring 28 points to come back and win, while the Pride let in 18 points in the second half against Ipswich Jets.

Six minutes into the second half, the Capras showed they had taken inspiration from their final round game as they scored their first try of the game.

It wasn’t ever going to be anyone else but the Capras try scoring wiz Brandon Roberts to get their first points on the board.

The Capras shortened everything up and went down field through their forwards and dummy half scoots when they were in good ball areas it was the short side attack that found four points when Roberts scored try number 18 in game number 18.

Their second try was less glamourous than Roberts, but Lachlan Hubner – who has been one of the best for the Capras all season displaying effort and hard work – that got the home side their second try after going to dummyhalf and finding a way over the line.

A scoreline of 22-0 became 22-16 when Hubner scored his double after diving under the posts again with the Capras creating a disrupted defence with offloads.

It had been an unbelievable 23 minutes of the second half when Capras prop Tyler Szepanowski added to his four tries this year and found number five when the Capras locked it up 22-22.

The Capras took the calm approach to the frantic opening of the second half when they took the two points and took the lead for the first time in the game 24-22 with nine minutes to go.

Bailey Butler took the pass and celebrated a great Capras win with four of the five tries being scored by forwards and under the posts the Capras had gone at the heart of the Pride and ripped it out.

The Pride had been up 22-0 and let the Capras score 30 points in the second half to post a finals win.

Jayden Corrigan with the ball for Norths Devils. Photo: Jason O'Brien / QRL
Jayden Corrigan with the ball for Norths Devils. Photo: Jason O'Brien / QRL

In Sunday's other match, the Norths Devils prevailed in a seesawing match at Pizzey Park, pipping the minor premiership winning Burleigh Bears.

The Bears had the lead going into the halftime break with Guy Hamilton booting a field goal as his side went to the sheds leading 13-6. 

However, Tyrone Roberts was true with the boot kicking a penalty goal in the 69th minute which proved to be the difference, with the teams trading the lead throughout the second half.

The Devils will join the Redcliffe Dolphins in having the weekend off next weekend, while the Bears and Capras will feature next weekend in Finals Week 2. 

Read about Saturday's Hostplus Cup matches below:

Stay tuned to for more information about the Hostplus Cup finals series. 

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