Northern Pride hand Hunters a 30-6 bashing in round 12


NORTHERN Pride proved too strong at home for the South Pacific Brewery-sponsored Hunters yesterday, coming away with a 30-6 win in Round 12 of the QRL Hostplus Cup.
Pride wasted no time going on the attack, thanks to an early penalty conceded by the Hunters in the kick-off set.
Suddenly camped on their own goal line, the Hunters looked like they had defended the set until Pride fullback Julian Christian took possession on the last, feigned a kick to the left and turned back in towards the ruck to link with Matthew Egan in support. The Hunters’ cover defence couldn’t close the space in time as the Pride halfback opened the scoring with a try.
The Hunters responded in kind, targeting the ruck area in yardage to collapse the middle and advance quickly up-field into position for a left-side shift on the last.
Wartovo Puara Jr and Mark Tony did well to hold up the defence before getting Brandon Nima into space, only for the Hunters’ centre to be held up over the line with a superb defensive effort from the home side.
Some bruising defence from the Hunters’ Junior Rop and Pride’s Nick Lui-Toso tried to swing the momentum, but both teams absorbed the pressure well as the game looked like settling into a grind.
That was until Christian injected himself on the last again, this time scooting from dummy-half down a short side and grubbering back inside for Will Partridge to score in the 13th minute.
After watching his fullback produce two big plays for Pride’s first two tries, prop Lui-Toso took it upon himself to be next to score for the home side.
Next it was Gideon Gela-Mosby’s turn, coming off the back fence to take advantage of a fatiguing Hunters defence with a solo try in the 37nd minute, giving his side a 20-0 lead at halftime.
After completing consecutive sets to begin the second half, the Hunters quickly found themselves on Pride’s tryline.
Some power running and a few late offloads had the home side scrambling but again they somehow managed to hold the ball up when Emmanuel Waine crashed over the line only to be denied.
Late tries to Will Partridge and Ewan Moore arguably came against the run of play.
A try in the 76th minute to Gilimo Paul ensured that the Hunters finished the game on a high noted.
“We were beaten to the punch,” head coach Matthew Church said.
“We were out-enthused through the middle.
“Our communication was poor around the ruck and we just couldn’t turn it around.
“That was disappointing for us after showing real improvements in the last few weeks,” he said after the match.
Results: Sat, June 18 – Dolphins 24 Capras 24, Tweed Heads 22 Cutters 24, Wynnum Manly 20 Falcons 12, Blackhawks 30 Tigers 18, Magpies 18 Jets 26; Sun, June 19 – Bears 54 Devils 18, Pride 30 Hunters 6.