It was a comprehensive 50-10 win from the Sunshine Coast Falcons as they outplayed the Northern Pride, running in an impressive 10 tries to two and notching up a half century in front of a home crowd.
Despite the big score, it was the consistent effort from all of his players that impressed Falcons coach Eric Smith even more than the scoreboard.
“Everyone did their job this week,” Smith said.
“Across the park every single player knew what they had to do and they went out there and executed it… that was exactly what I wanted from them.
“We really wanted to get our completion rate up this round; we spoke at length in the lead up about getting off to a better start – it’s something we have been lacking in the past few games.
“Today we started with completing eight consecutive sets and scored three tries.”
In a round that saw the players and officials donning red socks, the Falcons were red hot in the initial stages of the match, putting on 12 points in as many minutes.
In a show of wonderful community support, Red Socks Round was introduced by the QRL in support of young Queenslander Grayson Little, who has a rare condition that requires bone marrow transplants and blood transfusions.
It was a different Falcons side in both attack and defence from the very first moments of Round 5, with the home side demonstrating a significant improvement in both line speed and defensive intensity, denying the Pride both football and field position in the first 20 minutes.
The Falcons’ first points came in just the fifth minute, beginning with a great cut out pass from Nicho Hynes and finishing with Sandor Earl in the corner.
In the following set a penalty handed the Falcons easy metres and Justin Olam capitalised on the opportunity, muscling his way over the line just two plays later taking the score to 8-0 after ten minutes.
Earl was not to be outdone, swiftly following up his first effort with another try in the corner.
Todd Murphy, celebrating his 100th Intrust Super Cup game, was not at all himself with the boot, missing his third conversion attempt in a row leaving the score at 12-0.
In a welcomed return to the side, Lachie Roe made his presence felt in the middle before forcing his way over for a try in the 30th minute.
It was a case of fourth time lucky for Murphy who, much to the home crowd’s delight, slotted his fourth conversion attempt of the day; the score was 18-0 after 32 minutes.
In the shadows of the first half Falcons back rower Chris Lewis crossed the line and Murphy converted, taking the score to 24-0 with just minutes left to play in the first.
A mistake from the Pride just minutes into the second half gifted the Falcons the ball just 20 metres out from the try line.
Athletic winger Jon Reuben made short work of another Hynes’ cut out pass and continued the home side’s scoring run with a dive for the line; Murphy failed to convert, leaving the score at 28-0 after 43 minutes.
In the 47th minute, the celebrations of Murphy’s 100th Intrust Super Cup match started early when the nimble halfback left the opposition in his wake throwing multiple dummies on his way to score a fantastic individual try; he converted his own try, extending the Falcons lead to 34-0
The next points were the result of a superb backline effort from the Falcons, where multiple players touched the ball in its journey to the edge where a waiting Earl placed it down for his third try of the game; Murphy converted to take the score to 40-0 in the 55th minute.
The Pride scored their first points of the game in the 61st minute through Dominic Biondi; the conversion was successful, taking the score to 40-6.
The ball found its way to the opposite end of the field just minutes later and Reuben was sharpening his aerial skills yet again in an impressive effort that further increased the home side’s lead to 44-6 with just 13 minutes left to play.
The Falcons continued the celebrations a set later as Murphy crossed for his second; Murphy also converted the try, notching up the half century of points for the home side at the 69th minute.
The Pride’s Connor Jones made an immediate impact after replacing Kurt Baptiste, as he crossed the line for the visitors in the 74th minute; the conversion was unsuccessful, taking the score to 50-10.
Smith had plenty of praise for his troops but made special mention of his fullback, hooker and some of his big men.
“Although Sandor and Jono scored give tries between them, it was Nico Hynes who threw that last pass each time,” Smith said.
“I really thought he was outstanding today at fullback…..and Tino Faasuamaleaui and Lachie Roe were both brilliant off the bench.
“It was Tino’s first game of the year as well, so it was great to have him back.
“Harry Grant was great through the middle and Darryn Shonig really set the stage, with his very first hit of the match.
“There was plenty of talk during the week about Darryn coming up against his former side in the Pride, but he handled it perfectly and really led the way.”
The win was the Falcons’ fifth in a row.