Tigers pull off stunning comeback against Pride

By Michael Nunn (QRL correspondent)

After four losses in a row the Brisbane Tigers have found the win they were craving, shutting down the Northern Pride – a side that just last week upset the table-topping Bears.

The Tigers were back at Langlands Park on Sunday looking for the home win that could resurrect a season that has taken some hits in the last month.

The Pride meanwhile would have been acutely aware that they don’t have the best record on the road, having lost their last four in a row. Today would have been a great chance to turn that trend around.

On equal points on the ladder before the round began, both teams were not at last chance yet but one more loss and you’re starting to do some finals maths.

It took 15 minutes for the Pride’s Will Partridge to score what will be on the dais for try of the year.

The Tigers were moving through their set and placed a nice kick into the corner that bounced at fullback Julian Christian’s feet.

The Pride fullback spotted some space down the short side and took the chance – Christian went upfield and passed in-field to Bernard Lewis, Lewis fired it across to Partridge who scored on the opposite side of the field and kept his great try scoring strike rate with nine tries in 10 Cup games for the Pride.

The Pride had gone 100 metres and showed great attacking intent.

Six minutes later and the Pride were at it again.

The second try lacked the finesse of the first but called on the blunt force of Paea Pua. The Pride were in ideal attacking position under the posts with options on either side.

Pride captain and hooker Chris Ostwald assessed and then found Pua who simply out-powered all the Tigers to put the ball down and give the Pride a 12-0 start.

From there the game stalled with both teams unable to attack like they would have liked but no more points meant defence was winning and it wouldn’t take many more points to win the game.

In the 54th minute, Tiger Bennett Leslie scored his 14th try in game 69 but it was on the back of some of his forward Tiger mates.

Jack Svendsen played 56 games for the Pride but there was no mistaking his role today as he took it forward and flopped it back for William Samuel. It was then over to the Tigers’ halves when Jayden Nikorima found Darren Nicholls who passed inside to Leslie to score a well-constructed try.

The chain of passing and forward momentum got the Tigers back in the game at 12-6.

It was the ball again doing the work down the Tigers left hand side. Svendsen was laying the concrete the try would be built on when he took it in to the posts.

The Tigers were then able to find Jonah Pezet on the left with his fullback Tony Pellow outside him. The three on two now had the Pride scrambling to cover and when Solomona Faataape got it to Bernard Gregorius it was looking good for the Tigers, now only behind by two points.

The Pride hadn’t scored since the 20th minute and were holding onto a skinny lead with 17 minutes to play.

If things were looking good for the Tigers before, they suddenly become glorious when Gregorius scored his second try.

Pezet launched a monster bomb that swirled around Christian. The Pride fullback fumbled the kick and as it bounced away from him, he lost it again, only for Gregorius to pick it up and score in the corner.

The Tigers had turned 12-0 into a 14-12 lead with 12 minutes to play.

The drama wasn’t over yet however when Tiger Solomona Faataape went to the sin bin with eight minutes to play. The Tigers would have to hold on while down a man.

And that’s exactly what they did, recording a great win that restores some much-needed confidence in the Tigers’ season.

Tigers centre Dan Russell brings 78 games of Cup experience and four Tests for PNG and today he was pivotal in his side coming back from 12-0.

“There was no panic … when you’ve lost four in a row, you’d think at 12-0 we would be a bit down but we always feel like we can score points,” Russell said.

“We started the season so well then have had a lull in the middle and that can become a habit when you’re losing but I think this win can be a catalyst for us to win a few in a row.

“It’s a great win and we just got back to what we do really well.”

The Tigers will look to maintain this form and strengthen their finals push next week when they took on the Souths Logan Magpies.

The Pride meanwhile will hope to get their season back on track when they take on the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in Innisfail.

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