THE Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles picked up where they left off last season with a hard-fought win over grand final rival Northern Pride.
Just as in last year’s season decider, the Sea Eagles had too much class for the Pride, winning their round-one Queensland Cup clash 16-6 at Barlow Park in Cairns.
Sea Eagles hooker Cameron Joyce described the game as a war of attrition as both teams struggled to control the ball in torrential rain during the second half.
“It was a tough trip,” he said.
“It’s a long day. You have to fly on the same day that you play.
“We do things to aid in that. But I think all the boys and the coaching staff are happy with it.”
The Sea Eagles got off to a good start, thanks to a try to captain Dennis Sandow. Manly backrow duo Darcy Lassick and Jamie Buhrer also scored in their Queensland Cup debuts.
The Pride managed to strike back through centre Mark Dalle Court to give the Sunshine Coast a 16-6 advantage at halftime.
As the second half began, a tropical storm swept over Barlow Park and both teams went scoreless in the second 40 minutes as they tried to come to grips with the slippery conditions.
While Joyce described it as a no-frills win, it was likely to be one that pleased coach Brandon Costin as his team started its premiership defence with a win on the road against one of the competition’s toughest teams.
One of the most impressive aspects was the performance of the team’s newcomers, dampening predictions the Sea Eagles would struggle to cope with several key losses in the off-season.
“Lassick and Buhrer are good players. That’s why they’re in the system they’re in,” Joyce said.
“I think they both played solid games. Both played a lot of minutes.
“I’m pretty sure they’d be happy to show their worth and get a try. That’s not everything, but they all went well.
“I don’t think anyone stood out more than anyone else but no one played poorly, that’s for sure.”
The Sunshine Coast sits third on the premiership ladder, behind the Ipswich Jets and the Central Comets.
The surprise of the round came from the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls and the Burleigh Bears, who played out a nil-all draw in Brisbane.
SUNSHINE COAST 16
Dennis Sandow, Darcy Lassick, Jamie Buhrer tries; Dennis Sandow 2 goals.
NORTHERN PRIDE 6
Mark Dalle Court try; Ryan Stig goal.
Northern Pride backrower Joel Riethmuller is taken down by the Sunshine Coast defence at Barlow Park, Cairns.