Intrust Super Cup: Rd 12 report
The Northern Pride moved back to the top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder as the returning Hezron Murgha inspired a 26-10 win over Burleigh Bears in Cairns on Saturday night.
Murgha, now contracted to the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys, had not played since July 2013 following an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury, but in a memorable 80-minute return, the Yarrabah fullback thrilled the home crowd with a try in the last minute to complete the Pride's fightback after the visitors had taken a 10-8 half-time lead.
The Pride looked to be surging to a comfortable win when they led 8-0 after 19 minutes, thanks to a Shaun Nona penalty goal and Blake Leary's converted try.
However, with both sides making handling errors in the wet conditions, it was the Bears who soon struck back with a try from centre Brad Tighe in the left corner.
On 35 minutes, Burleigh, under returning head coach Jim Lenihan, took the lead, with winger Zac Mackay converting his own try to head into the sheds 10-8 ahead.
Pride came out with much more purpose in the second stanza, and the hosts were rewarded just after the hour mark as Javid Bowen finished off a fine Joel Riethmuller offload.
Their lead went to 20-10 when co-captain Jason Roos dummied from close range to dive over and it was Murgha who had the last word to cap a perfect injury comeback, touching down from an inch-perfect Nona grubber on the full-time siren.
Meanwhile, the Mackay Cutters lost ground on the top five when they were beaten 42-22 by Souths Logan in Brisbane on Sunday.
The Cutters were always behind after a try by Canberra Raiders Junior Origin representative Brenko Lee opened the scoring for Souths Logan in the third minute.
It was 20-0 to the Magpies before a bit of Liam Taylor brilliance put first points on the board for the Cutters, with the winger bursting two tackles down the right edge to find the line.
Trailing 26-12 at the break, back-to-back tries for centre Niko Mataia brought the Cutters back to just four down but the home team closed out the match with three straight tries to end a three-game losing streak.
NORTHERN PRIDE 26 (Hezron Murgha, Javid Bowen, Blake Leary, Jason Roos tries; Shaun Nona 5 goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 10 (Brad Tighe, Zac Mackay tries; Zac Mackay goal) at Barlow Park.
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 42 (Jordan Rapana 2, Ramon Filipine, Brenko Lee, Jack Ahearn, Kurt Baptiste, Shane Duck, Phil Dennis tries; Jordan Rapana 3, Luke Archer, Jack Ahearn goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 22 (Niko Mataia 2, Liam Taylor, Brent Warr tries; Liam Taylor 3 goals) at Davies Park.