The gap on the ladder between the Toyota Cowboys’ two Intrust Super Cup affiliates continues to grow following round six action on Saturday night.
While the Mackay Cutters lost 12-8 to the Tweed Seagulls at Stadium Mackay to leave the reigning premiers near the bottom of the table, a double from Innisfail's home town hero Brett Anderson helped the Northern Pride to a 24-22 victory over the Norths Devils in a top-of-the-table Intrust clash.
Returning to the familiar surroundings of Innisfail’s Callendar Park, the former Leprechaun scored tries on either side of half time to keep his team in the hunt against a Devils outfit that made the most of the early running.
The Devils, who went into the game boosted by the inclusion of Bronco Jarrod Wallace, raced out to an early 10-0 lead to stun the northern locals.
Anderson got the Pride on the board at the 20-minute mark, but it was the Devils who extended their lead by half time to 16-6 following a clinical finish.
The former Cowboys and Storm centre crossed for his second try 10 minutes into the second half to narrow the Devils’ lead to six points.
Both teams then traded four pointers, before Pride forward Blake Leary backed up from a try of his own with a second significant contribution in the space of a few minutes.
His bustling run and offload to Ben Spina set up a game-changing try for the Pride, with the successful conversion levelling the score at 22-all with 19 minutes remaining.
It wasn’t until a 69th minute penalty goal that the Pride were able to play from in front – and they held the lead until the final whistle to notch up win number five for the season.
As expected, Cowboys forward Ricky Thorby was a late inclusion for the Pride.
He was joined by Cowboys NRL teammate Kyle Feldt, who replaced fullback Matthew Wright.
The Jason Demetriou-coached Pride now assume the outright lead on the Intrust Super Cup table heading into an away trip to the Easts Tigers, who have cooled their heels with the round 5 bye.
Meanwhile in damp conditions in Mackay, Cowboys squad member Zac Santo scored for the Cutters who matched the Seagulls’ two tries for the night, with two goals from Gold Coast Titan Beau Henry eventually proving to be the difference.
Ex-Cowboy Kalifa Faifai Loa scored in the second half for Tweed to give them an eight-point lead with Mackay’s final try – to Chris Ulugia – coming too late to salvage a win for the Cutters.
NORTHERN PRIDE 24 (Brett Anderson 2, Ben Spina, Blake Leary tries; Shaun Nona 3, Kyle Feldt goals) def NORTHS DEVILS 22 (Rogan Dean 2, Dylan Galloway, James Sharkie tries; Todd Murphy 3 goals) at Callendar Park, Innisfail.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS 12 (Kalifa FaiFai Loa, Damian Sironen tries; Beau Henry 2 goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 8 (Zac Santo, Chris Ulugia tries) at Stadium Mackay.