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Round 17 Saturday wrap: Pride run riot against Capras

Northern Pride winger Robert Derby and centre Tom Chester both scored doubles in their side's big win over Central Queensland Capras in Cairns.

Up 24-0 at half-time, Pride did not let up and finished the game 34-6 victors.

Pride coach Eric Smith, who welcomed his first baby - a daughter - this week, said he was a very happy coach. 

"It was great... it was our best defensive effort this year," Smith said.

"I just think the way we went about our defence, we were a real tough defensive unit... the amount of times we scrambled and saved tries, the desperation of our defensive line... I am super pumped about how we went about our defence today.


"We know that with our football, we can score points. We wanted to make a real statement today defensively against a good team. Capras, they're hard team to beat. They don't go away, they're a real good grinding team, and have some class in there with some NRL players as well.

"I thought we actually went after the Capras... we wanted to initiate contact, be more physical. We weren't being standoff-ish like we were last week. 

"In the first 20 minutes of the game, we got to two kicks, completed two sets, we were camped on our own end, just defending. I think that is what set up the game for us... we were able to defend for 20 minutes. Then we got the chance to get the footy back and we were able to score and put more pressure on. Defending our line seemed to energise us a bit. Some really great signs there, so I'm pumped for the players."

Smith said he was pleased the team stuck to their game plan, based off their preparation this week.

"I know we've got points in us... I thought in attack today, we stuck to a game plan as well," Smith said.

Tom Chester. Photo: Dom Chaplin/QRL
Tom Chester. Photo: Dom Chaplin/QRL

"We've seen some areas on the left edge where we can get some joy around Anthony Milford and putting Dane Aukafolau, our back rower, in, so we saw some areas there where can get some joy and I'm really happy with the boys and how they stuck to that process and we got some joy down that left edge.

"Normally the right edge has been doing a fair bit in attack, but today the left edge stuck to what our game plan was so I'm really pleased."

Smith said despite the big win, there were things his side could work on in the back end of season 2024.

"That's two weeks now where we've probably put ourselves under too much pressure with our error count... it was wet today, but not an excuse... as strong as our defence was, we don't want to keep testing it as much as we did today, and put pressure on our defence as we get closer to the back end of the season," Smith said.

"Attack is one of our most improved areas, in regards to the points we're scoring, but sometimes, it can be our kryptonite at times... we can cough up a few errors which puts us under pressure so that's something we can be more consistent with, keeping our error count lower... making the right selection, or right decision, with our attack at times. 

"But again, we want to keep building on our defensive stuff. We know in the back end of the year, big games are won through defensive efforts... we need to build off today's effort.

"Really happy though. Whenever we defend well like that, I'm a really happy coach.

"The players are growing as a group and getting a whole lot better a being able to stick to a game plan when it changes each week, based on what we preview from the opposition."

Pride and Capras in BMD Indigenous Round. Photo: Dom Chaplin/QRL
Pride and Capras in BMD Indigenous Round. Photo: Dom Chaplin/QRL

Capras coach Lionel Harbin said "in the first half there, it's like we didn't come with a good attitude to defend and the Pride made us pay". 

"They're a really good attacking side and that showed on the scoreboard," Harbin said.

"The way we responded in the second half as a team was a positive. We really wanted to shift our focus at half-time to our D and have a bit more intent there, come out with a better attitude and we did that. But the game was pretty much gone after that first half.

"I just thought the Pride gave us a really good lesson and showed us what is needed to go deep into the competition... they defended really well and made it extremely hard for us to score points and played a really nice direct style of footy, so we need to takeaway that make sure we're going up to PNG next week with a better attitude, especially defensively."

Elsewhere, despite Tweed Seagulls striking in the first minute of the game, Mackay Cutters came away with the two points.

Townsville Blackhawks scored eight tries to Western Clydesdales' two to secure the win in their Round 17 clash.

Tully, known to be one of the wettest places in Australia, certainly lived up to this reputation; close to 200mm of rain was recorded in the 24 hours before kick-off, causing the picturesque Tully showgrounds playing field to be wet and slippery.

Tully. Photo: Greg Shannon
Tully. Photo: Greg Shannon

Despite this, about 1000 people turned out the catch the Cup game, which was a home game for the Clydesdales. 

Coach Jason Alchin was full of praise for the local Tully community.

“It is great that we can bring games to regional areas and I think every side should do it at least a couple of times a year, it’s good for the game," Alchin told local Greg Shannon.

Tomorrow, Souths Logan Magpies and Wynnum Manly Seagulls will fight for the Mitch Cronin Cup.

Sunshine Coast Falcons and Ipswich Jets face off.

Norths Devils and PNG Hunters will battle for the two points at Bishop Park.

And Brisbane Tigers and Redcliffe Dolphins will clash to round out BMD Indigenous Round.

All games can be watched at





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