Northern Pride loses for first time in 19 games
NORTHERN Pride coach David Maiden expects to learn about the character of his players this week after their record-breaking run was ended by the Mackay Cutters yesterday.
The reigning Queensland Cup premiers succumbed to their North Queensland rivals away from home 22-18 after throwing away a 12-0 lead at halftime.
It was the Pride’s first defeat since Round 13 last year and ended a 19-game unbeaten run.
Maiden said it would be interesting to see how his players reacted to the defeat.
"It’s a test of character how we rebound from this," he said.
"If you look at it and see we lost 22-18 it looks like just a loss, but how we lost was disappointing and that’s the concern.
"We’ve got to regroup from this and understand what we did wrong today."
Running into a stiff breeze, the Pride physically dominated their opponents in the opening 20 minutes and were 6-0 ahead after back-rower Blake Leary ran 30m to score under the posts.
The visitors doubled their advantage when Luke Harlen muscled his way over soon after and looked set for a comfortable afternoon at the office.
But halftime did the Pride no favours, with the Cairns side turning in a diabolical 40 minutes of football after the break.
A 50 per cent completion rate, ineffective tackling and penalties kept the Pride locked in their half and allowed the Cutters back into the contest.
Two tries to former Pride player Clint Amos and further four-pointers to Michael Comerford and Zac Dalton gave the Cutters a 22-12 lead.
A Brett Anderson try out wide with five minutes left kept the Pride in the game, but another handling error two sets later ended hopes of a miracle comeback.
Maiden said the Pride had no one to blame but themselves for the loss.
"To get beaten like that, to beat ourselves, is disappointing," he said.
"Something happened there at halftime.
"We were in control, we were comfortable, we were good enough to win that game, but in the end we didn’t."
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Hard yards: The Pride's Rod Jensen tries to break the tackle of Cutters players Lewis Balcomb and Michael Comerford. Picture: TOM LEE