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QCup Rd 22: Northern Pride secure minor premiership

While few doubted it already belonged to them, the Northern Pride officially secured the Intrust Super Cup minor premiership after posting a 44-12 win over the Burleigh Bears at Barlow Park.
QCup Rd 22: Northern Pride secure minor premiership
by rleague.com

While few doubted it already belonged to them, the Northern Pride officially secured the Intrust Super Cup minor premiership after posting a 44-12 win over the Burleigh Bears at Barlow Park.

While the score-line seemed to indicate they achieved their goal easily; for the most part, it was a much closer ball game - especially in the first half, where both teams struggled to score.

There were errors from both sides and the Pride had the best of the opportunities early, with back to back chances, but Burleigh displayed good defence to hold them out during multiple attacks on their line.

However, as he has done so many times already this season - experienced campaigner Semi Tadulala broke through to post the first try of the match after pushing through some desperate defenders.

Played in hot conditions - the errors from both sides cost them momentum - but ultimately it had the biggest effect on the Bears who worked hard to get into good position before releasing the pressure with dropped balls or poor fifth tackle options.

Both teams also had tries disallowed by the video referee before the break, before forward Ethan Lowe ran in what felt like an inevitable try for the home side following a mountain of pressure to take a 12-0 into halftime.

While Burleigh coach Carl Briggs would have been pleased with his side’s defence in the first half, he would have been concerned that their heavy workload was going to take its toll later in the match - and it did.

XXXX man of the match Justin Castellaro (who made his Intrust Super Cup debut last year, but was playing his first game for the Pride this season) scored the first try of the second half after being on the receiving end of some good hands following a run from Davin Crampton.

The home side were in again via Tadulala, before a Pride knock on gave the Bears great position which they capitalised on via Steve Michaels who received a clever pass from five-eighth Tyler Chadburn who went the short side.

However, that did little to halt the rhythm of the Pride, who ran in four more tries, including a hat-trick for Tadulala - a points-scoring blitz which was only interrupted by a try to Bears late addition Anthony Don, who scored off a great offload from skipper Darren Griffiths.

The first match televised from Cairns this year - the win will see the Pride finish on the top-of-the table for the first time in the club’s history with two rounds to spare, with their previous best result being a top two finish in 2009 and 2011.

Northern Pride 44 (Semi Tadulala 3, Justin Castellaro, Wayne Ulugia, Felise Kaufusi, Ethan Lowe, Davin Crampton tries; Shaun Nona 6 goals) def Burleigh Bears 12 (Steve Michaels, Anthony Don tries; Jordan Rankin 2 goals) at Barlow Park.


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