Jake Clifford replacement Jack Campagnolo has received a timely confidence boost ahead of the finals, racking up 14 points in a 38-10 win by Northern Pride against the CQ Capras.
The Italian World Cup train-on squad member had experienced three losses in his first four games after coming into the Pride side at halfback, replacing gun youngster Clifford.
Last week against the Sunshine Coast he missed eight tackles and ran for just 16m.
It was a much different affair this time around, as the Pride led from start to finish at Stan Williams Park, Cairns.
Strike weapons Ethan Lowe and Gideon Gel-Mosby opened the scoring for the Pride, who led 10-0 before Chanel Seigafo crossed for the Capras’ first points.
Campagnolo had the kicking duties and nailed five conversions from seven attempts.
The 20-year-old, who also plays for local side the Tully Tigers, then crossed for the Pride’s first try of the second stanza, extending a 20-6 halftime lead.
A hearty victory entrenches the Pride further in fourth spot, with other top six aspirants Sunshine Coast and Tweed Heads suffering defeat on the same afternoon.
Their eighth win of 10 home games this year also gave a much-needed boost to their for-and-against column, amid some eager competition.
CQ started the match minus big name signing Dave Taylor after he lasted just 11 minutes in the previous week’s game.
It appeared Capras winger Jace O’Neill picked up an injury against the Pride to rub injury into insult, subbed off by coach Kim Williams with 15 minutes to go in the first half, though he did replace Seigafo again in the last 10 minutes.
NORTHERN PRIDE 38 (Gideon Gela-Mosby 2, Ethan Lowe, Brett Anderson, Tom Hancock, Jack Campagnolo, Jordan Biondi-Odo tries; Jack Campagnolo 5 goals)
def CQ CAPRAS 10 (Chanel Seigafo, Jerry Key tries; Connor Broadhurst goal) at Stan Williams Park.