Premiers retain Pride in Queensland Cup
THE Pride have picked up where they left off in the Queensland Cup, racking up a 36-10 win against the Central Comets in their premiership defence opener in Rockhampton.
The win was the Pride’s 13th in succession in the state league and they look to have lost little of the steel they found at the back end of last season after racing to a 36-0 lead against the Comets before conceding two tries in the dying minutes of the match.
The winning streak matters little to coach David Maiden, who knows last year’s record will count for nothing as opposition sides bid to knock off the defending premiers this year.
The scoreline belied the closeness of the first half, with the Pride forced to scramble in defence to prevent the Comets from levelling the scores early.
"It was a great defensive effort that laid the platform," Maiden said.
"There was one period there in the middle of the first half where we were 6-0 up and we did seven sets in a row on our line.
"The boys really scrambled well and got back and chased for each other and then after that set, Roosy (Jason Roos) kicked a 40-20 and we scored in the next set of six."
Browne Park is one of the toughest places in the league to play but the Pride’s commitment to the effort areas of the game set the tone for the match and helped shut the home side out.
"It’s a pretty hostile crowd but to the guys’ credit they really took the crowd out of it early by being intense and right in their face and scoring early," Maiden said.
"It was 12-0 at halftime, it was a tough old arm wrestle and they kept the crowd out of it by just keeping their noses in front.
"I was very proud of them, it was one of the most satisfying wins I’ve had as a coach in terms of their
The Pride’s gritty first half led to the flood gates opening early in the second and they set up a 36-0 lead before fatigue set in and errors led to the Comets’ tries.
"In the last five minutes there were a few uncharacteristic errors there and I’m a little bit disappointed with that," Maiden said.
The nature of the team effort was reflected in the players’ player votes, with several names making the ballot won by Pride debutant Ryan Ghietti.
The Pride open their home campaign on Saturday against Wynnum-Manly at Barlow Park.
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Fiery start: Northern Pride’s Chey Bird gets the ball away from his try line against the Central Comets as the reigning premiers opened their account in the Queensland Cup in 2011 with a win. Picture: ALLAN REINIKKA