NORTHERN PRIDE 24
Tries: Jared ALLEN (15m), Justin CASTELLARO (57m), Gideon GELA-MOSBY (61m), William BUGDEN (66m), Gideon GELA-MOSBY (70m)
Goals: 2 Conversion (67m) (71m)
MACKAY CUTTERS 4
Tries: Nathan SAUMALU (44m)
Mackay Cutters have begun the rebuild after replacing their coach and losing several players. A tough pre-season sorting effort has seen the promotion of some local lads who were leaders in the local league. How they handle the contest with a side sprinkled with NRL upcomers will be an excellent addition to a side that underperformed last season.
Who to Look Out for:
Gideon Mosby-Gela will be out to reinforce his NRL credentials as he fights to take one of the wingers’ jerseys off the established stars in the Cowboys. After 6 tries in the Auckland 9s, he has shown his ability to finish off an attack and his amazing final try in the tournament that combined a dropped ball being kicked before it contacted the ground, followed up with an amazing effort to beat two opponents to the ball, lit up the tournament. Now in the full game, he is intent on getting to the highest level and doing the Darnley Island group proud.
Jordan Pereira has moved from the wing into the centres and now will aim up to lift his contribution and exploit his speed to cut through the line. If he can continue to improve, he has the ability and size that may see him attract the eyes of the NRL.
How they will win:
Mackay needs to have a strong start to the season, last year they hosted the first game and went down to the Capras. This opponent is tougher; however, no team is out of reach of the other in the ISC and so they have this opportunity to turn some heads. The team must work together to compensate for the difference in individual player quality. Not that they are poor players, but many of their upcoming opponents are blessed with NRL quality players. I do not think they will do it, but their effort and attitude will go a long way in determining how they will go this season.
Northern Pride have an excellent squad and will be hunting around the final six. They need to take the away games like this and crate a fortress back in Cairns for them to return to the finals. Their biggest problem could be the loss of their Cowboys contracted players to the senior side due to injury and performance. Speed in the back three and a solid pack give them the grounding to make every game a serious contest
Prediction: I have a lot of faith in Steve Sheppard in bringing the Mackay Cutters into contention, but the Northern Pride have a variety of exciting players who will be too much to handle. Pride by 8.
1.Yamba Bowie 2. Jack Joass 3. Setaimata Sa (c) 4. Jordan Pereira 5. Nathan Saumalu 6. Nicho Hynes 7. Cooper Bambling 8. Braden Uele 9. Jake Eden 10. Nick Brown 11. Andrew Davey (c) 12. John Faletagao’i 13. Jack Blagbrough 14. Aaron Booth 15. Jacob Pottinger 16. Lona Kaifoto 17. Gareth Moore
Coach: Steve Sheppard
1. Khan Ahwang 2. Gideon Gela-Mosby 3. Luke George 4. Justin Castellaro 5. Marcus Jensen 6. Jordan Biondi-Odo 7. Jared Allen 8. Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 9. Ryan Ghietti (C) 10. Will Bugden 11. Graham Clark 12. Patrick Mago 13. Ben Spina 14. Connor Jones 15. Troy Kapea 16. Darryn Schonig 17. Nathan Wales 18. Colin Wilkie 20. Frederick Koraba
Coach: Ty Williams
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