Plucky Northern Pride sew up grand final rematch
IF it didn't already, then visiting Barlow Park must now rank as the toughest road trip in the Queensland Cup after the Northern Pride's gritty 24-18 victory over Norths Devils on Saturday night.
The win means the reigning premiers have not been beaten at Barlow Park since round two last year and leaves them second on the table ahead of this week’s away game against ladder-leading Tweed Heads.
Pride coach David Maiden said his players wanted to turn their home ground into a fortress.
"That’s something we want to continue and is something the guys are really conscious of I believe," he said.
"This is our house and if you ever come here you’re going to have to earn those points.
"There’s a never-say-die attitude with them and that’s a credit to the guys."
But the Devils pushed the Pride all the way on Saturday night and were denied a chance to level the score when Dunamis Lui’s effort in the final seconds was ruled a double-movement.
The 2010 grand final rematch did not disappoint, with both teams looking capable of winning the game at different stages.
The Devils dominated field position in the opening 10 minutes and were rewarded with the first try when second-rower Troyden Watene crashed over.
But their lead was short lived, with the Pride replying with a sweeping backline move that ended in a four-pointer to winger Mark Dalle Cort.
The see-sawing nature of the contest continued for the rest of the half.
A dummy-half scoot from Javarn White caught the Pride defenders on the back foot and allowed the Devils fullback to score under the posts.
But the Pride made sure they were level at break when a series of short passes unlocked the Devils’ defence for halfback Ryan Ghietti.
The home team grabbed the lead for the first time early in the second half when a perfectly timed inside ball sent forward Joel Riethmuller over, but the visitors responded quickly through winger Daniel Ogden.
The Pride, however, weren’t to be denied, with Brett Anderson crossing for what proved to be the winning try in the 60th minute after a brilliant pass from Ghietti.
Pride fullback Chey Bird was perfect with the boot and finished with 4-4, stretching his streak of successful conversions to 31.
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Running game: Pride's Jason Roos passes to a teammate during their gritty 24-18 win over Norths Devils at Barlow Park. Picture: MIKE WATT