Win moves Pride to 2nd
A CLINICAL opening 40 minutes from the Northern Pride set up a comfortable 36-20 victory over top-six rivals the Ipswich Jets at Barlow Park on Saturday night.
The victory was the Pride’s 11th of the season and moved the reigning premiers into second on the ladder ahead of Redcliffe courtesy of a superior for-and-against.
A top-two finish at the end of the season would guarantee the Pride’s survival into the second week of finals, but coach David Maiden wasn’t thinking that far ahead after Saturday night’s victory.
He said the Pride couldn’t afford to become too preoccupied with ladder positions.
"We’ve got to start finetuning the way we play to make sure we’re in peak condition come finals time," Maiden said.
"And we’ve still got a couple of wins to go to actually make sure we play finals.
"The ladder position will take care of itself if we get our offence right.
"I think defensively too we were a bit off at times tonight and to be fair it was probably when we took our foot off the pedal. But if you want to be a top one, two, three side you’ve got to make sure you’re ruthless the whole 80 minutes."
The Pride had that killer instinct in abundance in the first half as they stamped their class on the contest.
After an evenly contested opening, the Pride broke the game open in the space of two minutes. Five-eighth Mick Wilson kick-started the charge by snaffling an intercept to run 50m and score under the posts.
The Jets kicked out from the restart and paid for their mistake when Pride halfback Ryan Ghietti stepped through flimsy goal-line defence to also plant the ball near the sticks.
Fielding their strongest pack of the year, the Pride began dominating field position and it was replacement forward Ricky Thorby who found the line next to stretch their lead to 18-0.
The Jets hit back through hooker Michael Fisher but Thorby ensured the Pride went into the break 24-6 in front when he crashed over for his second four-pointer near halftime.
Jets centre Donald Malone kept his side in the contest when he shrugged off a couple of would-be defenders to make it 24-10 five minutes after the restart.
But Pride hooker Jason Roos ensured the visitors’ celebrations were short-lived by muscling his way over and increasing his side’s buffer to 20 points.
The Jets threatened a miracle comeback when fullback Luke Capewell and Malone scored the next two tries.
But the Pride sealed the win when winger Michael Bani scored in the corner after a cross-field kick.
In more good news for the Pride, Maiden reported winger Brenton Bowen’s surgery to remove a benign tumour on his optic nerve last week was a success.
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Too easy: Pride halfback Ryan Ghietti goes over for a try in their 36-20 win over Ipswich Jets at Barlow Park on Saturday night. Picture: TOM LEE