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8 May, 2021

Pua on debut helps Pride run down Souths Magpies.

Northern Pride debutant, Paea Pua impressed in his first game for the Northern Pride scoring early in the second half to claw back a first half deficit.

By Peter McCullagh

Paeu Pua on debut - PHOTO Peter McCullagh web

In a thrilling match at Barlow Park the Northern Pride met a surging Souths Magpies and eventually ran out winners after coming back from 8 points down at half time.

Paea Pua, until Tuesday of this week was signed with NSW Club Mounties, having come of the bench in 5 appearances already this season.

The Northern Pride returned from a break in the season naming a strong team to tackle the visiting Souths Magpies at Barlow Park on Saturday night.

A large and partisan crowd turned out to watch the matchup, with both teams, spiced with NRL contracted players.

The Magpies named a strong side with five players under contract with the Brisbane Broncos whilst the Pride side featured three.

Whilst the Pride had the better of the contest, the Magpies capitalised on early mistakes to place the home side under pressure.

The game featured end to end, free flowing football much to the delight of the large and very vocal home crowd.

Pride centre, Grant Anderson opened the Pride account after eight minutes of entertaining football crossing out wide. The conversion attempt was waved wide.

Ball handling errors early in the tackle count did impact upon the attacking drive of the Pride, with spilt procession costing them an almost certain try.

The Magpies counter-attacked immediately with Creedence Toia racing 70 metres down field before being run down, causing the turnover.

After 25 minutes of fairly entertaining football, the Magpie struck back, with half back Albert Kelly crossing out wide unopposed to run around and ground the ball under the posts.

The conversion was straight over the black dot and the Magpies were 2 in front.

Less that five minutes later Albert Kelly crossed for his second under the posts and the Magpies were on a roll.

The half-time siren was a relief to the Pride, struggling late in the half to control the ball for the full tackle count and facing a surging Souths. Pride were down 12 points to 4 at the break.

The Pride controlled much of the play immediately after the resumption of play, building pressure with  hit and miss 5th tackle options.

Deep in attack Pride five eight Tom Steadman placed the Magpies’ defence under pressure with a high ball they allowed to bounce.

Pride full back, Jayden Corrigan cleaned up to cross for the Pride, his fourth try for the season.

Minutes later with the Pride lifting, newcomer to the team, Paea Pua on debut crossed to level the scores.

Steadman converted his first for the night and the Pride put their noses in front.

Magpies’ centre, Creedence Toia was rewarded for his strong game with a try with 15 minutes to go, placing his team back in front and putting them in sight of an upset victory.

With 10 minutes remaining the scores were then levelled after Steadman slotted a penalty in front of the posts, giving the Pride the momentum and confidence required to close the game out strongly.

Three minutes later Evan Child playing in the centres for the Pride crashed through the defence to put the Pride back in front and surging towards full time.

After the restart, the Pride big men were making easy metres, before the Magpies conceded another penalty allowing the Pride to build attacking pressure.

With minutes remaining, Pride captain, Chris Ostwald crossed to put the game out of reach for the visitors. The try was converted, and the margin was 10 points.

Pride five eight, Tom Steadman was astray with the boot tonight. Usually accurate with an 87% conversion rate this season, he could only manage 3 from 6 attempts. The Pride finished the game 26 – 16.

New pride signing, Paeu Pua from the NSW Mounties, could not believe the week he had.

Arriving in Cairns Tuesday morning, joining his first training that afternoon, through to debuting and scoring.

“I’ve been trying to get up here since round 2, had to wait for a release.

“What a start,” Pua said.

Northern Pride Coach Ty Williams described the signing of Pua as a “work in progress”, having identified him prior to Christmas.

“A few things had to fall in place with regard to him getting up here. We had to be patient with it, and credit where credit’s due.

“He rocked in Tuesday, fitted in well, he’s only going to get better for us.”

With regard to the game and the Pride’s win on the night Williams was happy with the focus of his team.

“I like the way we stuck in there after South scored in the first half. We found something again in the second half.

‘I think the bench did a really good job after half time to get us back in the game.

“When we chucked Ozzie (Chris Ostwald), Nico (Nick-LuiToso) and Hola (Peter Hola) back out there, we upped the tempo and went really hard at them and got the result we were chasing in the end,” he said.

The Northern Pride have the next two weeks on the road playing Tweed Seagulls and then in Round 8 Mackay Cutters.

Souths Magpies next week return to Davies Park playing the PNG Hunters before travelling in Round 8 to Rockhampton to meet the CQ Capras.

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