The Easts Tigers sounded a warning shot that will be heard around the competition this afternoon as they defeated the Northern Pride 24-18 at Suzuki Stadium. Bolstered by NRL players Javid Bowen and Ethan Lowe and coming off five successive wins the Pride certainly weren’t humiliated. They scored the first three tries of the game with young half Jack Campagnolo opening the scoring in the 11th minute followed by a double to Shawn Bowen in the 13th and 17th minutes to lead 14–0 after 18 minutes.
The Tigers then scored twenty-four unanswered points, including three tries in the first half to claw their way back to 18-16 down at halftime.
The Tigers were strong across the paddock with captain Jake Foster, who was a key figure in organising the clubs inaugural indigenous day jersey and celebrations, playing like a man inspired and being constantly dangerous down the left edge.
Scott Drinkwater had a sublime day (just as he did last week against Ipswich) and put on another fullback master class, scoring two tries and playing a part in both of the Tigers other tries. He provided the match winner Shane Neumann in the 66th minute when he launched a high bomb down the short side, followed through, leapt high and batted the ball back for Neumann to swoop.
The two side finished having scored four tries each with the kicking of Billy Walters (4 from 5) compared to Campagnolo (1 from 4) being the difference.
Brett Greinke and veteran Shane Neumann (who goes to third place on the clubs list of games played, behind coach Sipple) were among a plethora of well performed Tigers. Former South Logan Magpie Marion Seve made a solid debut for the Tigers after a mid-season transfer from the Broncos to the Storm.
This was a high quality game with a low error rate, few penalties and two form teams giving it their all. The Pride did not make many errors however their tendency to turn over possession in their first set after scoring proved costly.
For the Pride Jordan Biondi-Odo and Campagnolo were to the fore, along with Sheldon Powe-Hobb who made a significant impact off the bench. Ethan Lowe almost provided the match winner for his side when he made a clean break through the Tigers right edge, however his inside pass to fullback Jack Murphy went to ground and the opportunity was lost. The Tigers were far to professional to give the Pride another chance and wound the last 90 seconds off the clock to secure what could be a vital two points.
Both teams face tough road trips next week; the Tigers to Mackay and the Pride to Papua New Guinea.