The Intrust Super Cup remains in the tropics thanks to the Northern Pride who followed up Mackay’s victory last year by winning the 2014 grand final in ultra-convincing fashion at Suncorp Stadium today.
Completing one of the competition’s best ever seasons, the minor premiers, who had six contracted Toyota Cowboys in their lineup, thrashed Easts 36-4 in front of just over 7,000 fans to clinch the club’s second premiership.
They will now try to capture the inaugural national championship against NSW Cup premiers Penrith on NRL grand final day at ANZ Stadium in Sydney next Sunday.
Cowboys winger Javid Bowen scored in both halves for the Pride, while late call-up Kyle Feldt also grabbed a four-pointer as well as playing a key role in Davin Crampton’s try that helped the Cairns-based team to an 18-0 half-time lead.
Two quick tries after the break propelled the Pride to a 30-0 lead with 30 minutes remaining and from that point they rarely looked troubled as they raced away with a 32-point victory, the biggest winning margin in Queensland Cup history.
In a spiteful ending to the season, both sides finished with just 11 players on the field with Cowboys duo Ricky Thorby (punching) and Ethan Lowe (dissent) among the four players despatched by referee Clayton Sharpe.
Fellow Cowboy Joel Riethmuller was put on report in the second half after standing on Easts back-rower Troy Giess.
After enjoying the majority of possession during the early exchanges, the Pride opened the scoring in the 15th minute through Feldt, who was given a trouble-free run to the line after receiving a pass from back-rower Tyrone McCarthy.
The Pride continued to pile on the pressure and converted their early ascendency into further points with a quick-fire backline shift to the left enabled winger Bowen to cross in the 21st minute off a Hezron Murgha short ball.
Playing at right centre, Feldt was involved again for the third try.
Running back on an angle towards the line, his charge was halted just shy of the stripe but he managed to dish an offload to halfback Sam Obst who found Davin Crampton running full steam towards the posts.
The second 40 started with Brett Anderson crossing in the corner after lead-up work from Duncan Hall Medal winner Shaun Nona.
A final-tackle break by Blake Leary, who set up Ryan Ghietti on his inside for try No.5, made the game safe with half an hour left.
The Tigers avoided being kept scoreless 15 minutes from full time when winger Jarrod McInally crossed to take the score to 30-4.
Kenny Bromwich and Ricky Thorby watched the remainder of the grand final from the sideline after both players were sent to the sin-bin for fighting with seven to go and then Lowe was marched for backchat to reduce the Pride to 11.
The heated words continued after another scuffle four minutes from full time which resulted in Tigers skipper Steven Thorpe being sent off for dissent.
Bowen touched down for the final try, again from Leary’s good work, in the final act of the season.
Northern Pride 36 (Javid Bowen 2, Kyle Feldt, Davin Crampton, Brett Anderson, Ryan Ghietti tries; Shaun Nona 6 goals) def. Easts Tigers 4 (Jarrod McInally try) at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Half time: Pride 18-0. Crowd: 7,135. Duncan Hall Medal: Shaun Nona.