Hooker Cameron King scored a try on debut for the Northern Pride, who started the 2014 Intrust Super Cup season with a 36-0 shutout of the Sunshine Coast Falcons at Barlow Park in Cairns on Saturday night.
One of five Toyota Cowboys NRL squad members in the Pride’s squad of 17, King crossed in the first half after coming off the interchange bench in the seven-try victory.
Centre David Crampton, who spent the first half of pre-season training with Paul Green’s North Queensland squad, was the creator of King’s try while Cowboys front-rower Ricky Thorby also started the year by getting his name on the scorers’ list.
Winger Justin Castellaro bagged a hat-trick after starting the Pride’s night with a fifth-minute try following a sweeping backline move.
The Ivan Henjak-coached Falcons were only 4-0 down when King touched down in the 24th minute and were still in touch at 14-0 behind at half time.
However, a try to David Crampton early in the second half boosted the Pride’s lead beyond three converted tries and they finished off the Coast with three tries in the final 10 minutes.
In Mackay, the Cutters’ defence of their premiership began with a 40-12 loss to Easts on Saturday night.
The Cutters started slowly, conceding five tries in the opening 20 minutes, and never looked like clawing their way back from that deficit.
Cowboys triallist Doug Hewitt was one of two consolation try scorers for Mackay who only fielded a handful of last year’s grand final squad.
NORTHERN PRIDE 36 (Justin Castellaro 3, Davin Crampton, Ricky Thorby, Tyrone McCarthy, Cameron King tries; Shaun Nona 4 goals) def SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 0 at Barlow Park.
EASTS TIGERS 40 (Eddie Tautali 2, Richie Kennar 2, Maeli Seve 2, Shane Neumann, Hymel Hunt tries; Cody Walker 4 goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 12 (Justin Tavae, Doug Hewitt tries; Liam Taylor 2 goals) at Stadium Mackay.