Northern Pride put in their place
NORTHERN Pride coach David Maiden won't wield the selection axe despite the reigning Queensland Cup premiers slumping to their third straight loss against Wynnum Manly in Brisbane on Saturday.
The Pride blew a 16-0 halftime lead to go down 30-28 after conceding five second-half tries, including two within 10 minutes of the restart.
No one was more frustrated by the defeat than Maiden, but the premiership-winning coach doesn’t plan on making many changes for Saturday night’s home clash against Easts.
He said availability and injury would be the only reasons for him to alter his 17.
"There’s certainly no panic stations," Maiden said.
"When we held onto the ball I thought we looked pretty good, but seven from 14 completions in the second half isn’t going to win you any game of footy.
"It was very frustrating. We had a couple of guys making their debut or playing their first or second game for us and I thought they did a great job.
"It was more our senior guys who made some unaccustomed errors that put us under pressure.``
Running with a strong breeze in the first half, the Pride looked in control when forwards Lancen Joudo and Mark Cantoni crossed for early tries.
The Pride appeared to have scored again when winger Hezron Murgha backed up a bust from five-eighth Mick Wilson but were denied by a contentious knock-on call from the referee.
Any disappointment, however, was eased when halfback Ryan Ghietti finished off a Ricky Thorby charge three minutes before the break.
The Pride looked on track to register a big win, but the Cairns-based side undid all their good work in the second half.
Their goal-line defence, which was almost impregnable in the early rounds, appeared wafer thin as Seagulls winger Jason Moon and hooker John Te Reo crossed for soft tries.
Murgha’s 50m individual effort in the 51st minute helped increase the Pride’s buffer to 10 points, but they soon trailed 30-22 after conceding the next three four-pointers.
Wilson kept his side in the contest when he regathered a grubber kick and scored near the posts with four minutes left, but there was to be no miracle escape for the Pride.
Wynnum Manly 30 (Jake Granville, Shea Moylan, Jason Moon, John Te Reo, Kurtis Lingwoodock tries; Josh Jerome 5 goals) d Northern Pride 28 (Hezron Murgha, Mick Wilson, Ryan Ghietti, Lancen Joudo, Mark Cantoni; Chey Bird 4 goals).
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On the ball: The Pride Mark Cantoni looks to score against Wynnum Manly in Brisbane on Saturday. Picture: SCOTT POWICK/SMP Images.