Pride take fall at hands of keen, young Cowboys
THE ambitious Pride have been handed a wake-up call ahead of their Queensland Cup defence, with their young neighbours handing them a 24-4 spanking in their biggest pre-season trial.
The Pride suffered a frustrating case of deja vu against the Cowboys under-20s at Barlow Park on Saturday, with poor execution returning to devil their game.
The lack of polish was evident in their game early in the 2010 season and cost the Pride a slow start, from which they battled hard to recover.
Adamant they would not suffer the same fate this year, the Pride have spent much of the off-season honing the players’ core skills, leaving coach David Maiden frustrated with his team’s effort on Saturday.
"I think we showed enough in attack, we had poor execution in the end," Maiden said.
"Our final passes were letting us down as they did at the beginning of last year.
"It’s something we’ve been concentrating on at training, so it was disappointing to see that happen.
"Having said that, I thought we had some pretty good shape and we had blokes putting themselves into good lines, it was just that final execution and that’s the frustrating thing.
"I think we only got to a kick twice in the second half and you can’t expect to compete against someone like the Cowboys 20s when you’re just defending the whole time."
The youngsters, who made the National Youth Competition finals last year, look the goods and provided the Pride with a stern test.
But the Queensland Cup premiers were their own worst enemies in the wet conditions, failing to adapt their game to a sodden Barlow Park surface.
"They controlled the football and kicked into corners really well and they pinned us down," Maiden said.
"We did enough to get out of there at times and then we went away from the game plan and we didn’t work over the channels that we wanted to and that makes it hard.
"So we need to get smarter at working to a game plan but there were plenty of positives to come out of it."
Several of the Pride players had their first hitout of the year and while the execution was lacking, there were some exciting signs for the team.
"There’s plenty to work on still. If you don’t execute well and you don’t pass, that’s chemistry," Maiden said.
"Working together closely will get that better and we’ve still got another trial next week and we’ll be fine tuning that.
"That’s what trials are for, they’re here to fine tune
everything. I expected a little more and the guys are disappointed in themselves.
"But knowing that the basics are there and we’re not that far off is the pleasing thing."
COWBOYS UNDER-20s 24 (Alex Elisala 2, Zac Santo, Nathan Norford tries; Kyle Feldt 3 goals) d NORTHERN PRIDE 4 (Ty Williams).
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Muddy clash: The Pride's Brett Anderson passes while under pressure from the young Cowboys.