Matt Harris, Queensland Correspondent
Burleigh fullback Henare Wells has come within one try of tying the all-time record for most tries in an Intrust Super Cup match as the Bears thrashed Sunshine Coast 60-6 in Round 16 action over the weekend.
The former Sydney Roosters under-20s player has put in some eye-catching performances already in 2014 but nothing to compare to the extraordinary feat at Pizzey Park on Sunday that was just one shy of the record held by Chris Walker and Anthony Zipf, who each scored seven tries in a game for Toowoomba and Norths respectively.
Burleigh's big win has them sitting just one win outside the top five in seventh position with last year's minor premiers, the Northern Pride, sitting pretty at the top of the table four points clear of Tweed Heads who continued their run of success with a 32-28 win over Ipswich.
Mackay kept their faint finals hopes alive with a 20-4 home win over the PNG Hunters, Souths Logan got the better of the Capras in Gladstone 30-22, Wynnum Manly easily accounted for Norths 52-12 and in the television match of the day on Sunday the Pride ran riot run riot over a toothless Easts Tigers, recording a convincing 44-20 victory at Langlands Park.
Coming off five wins in a row, Easts had a number of key names out due to the Melbourne Storm commitments with Cameron Munster, Tim Glasby, Felise Kaufusi and Hymel Hunt all missing.
The home side also had to deal with injuries to Grant Giess and Jacob Ling during the match and were already without influential five-eighth Cody Walker.
In contrasting circumstances, the Pride were aided by having six Cowboys players in their side with Robert Lui, Javid Bowen, Hezron Murgha, Kyle Feldt, Ricky Thorby and Joel Riethmuller all on show.
Although the lack of personnel had the Tigers on the back foot prior to kick-off, the Pride were ruthless in the opening hour of the game, running out to a 44-0 lead before the Tigers could cross the line.
Tigers winger Jarrod McInally bagged a hat-trick inside the final 20 minutes to add some respectability back to the scoreboard but the Pride rarely looked troubled throughout the match.
A swift breeze at Langlands Park created havoc for both sides with the Tigers' opening kick-off going out on the full, allowing the Pride an early chance at posting points.
The visitors couldn't score from their first foray into attacking territory, but they soon crossed after Robert Lui rolled a grubber behind the line to force line drop-out and from the resulting set the Pride halfback weaved his way over the line to hand the visitors an early 6-0 lead.
Lui was involved again for the Pride's second try after he threw the final pass that saw Davin Crampton run through a hole in the defensive line to make it 10-0 in the 22nd minute.
Back-rower Blake Leary extended the lead for the Pride when he powered over the line from close range. Leary had Javid Bowen to thank for the try after the Pride centre caused the Tigers' defence to retreat after a 70-metre run down the sideline. Shaun Nona guided the conversion between the posts to take the score to 16-0 just short of the half-hour mark.
The afternoon became worse for the home side after winger Jarrod McInally spilt a Lui cross-field kick in the 32nd minute allowing Jack Svendsen to plant the ball over the line. After a quick consultation with the video referee, on-field referee Peter Gough awarded the Pride their fourth try of the match with Nona converting to take the score to 22-0.
The Tigers tried unsuccessfully to claw their way back into the contest in the remaining minutes of the first half, but with 63 per cent of first-half possession, the Pride had all the answers and held onto their 22-point advantage heading into the break.
Things went from bad to worse for the Tigers in the second half, conceding another try after only four minutes. Lui and Nona combined to assist Leary who crashed over for a double to hand the Pride a commanding 28-0 lead.
The Pride were simply faultless and scored again after Nona rolled a grubber behind the Tigers' line allowing skipper Brett Anderson to dive on the ball to claim a try as the scoreboard started to look ugly for the home team at 32-0.
Kyle Feldt made it 38-0 minutes later by racing 65 metres unopposed after a loose ball from the Tigers was scooped up by Lui with the halfback dishing off to Feldt who scored under the posts.
Feldt and Lui were involved again for the Pride's eighth try of the afternoon after Feldt athletically plucked Lui's cross-field kick from the air and offloaded to Davin Crampton who scored his second try. Shuan Nona converted to take the score to 44-0 in the 57th minute.
Three minutes later the Tigers finally crossed through Jarrod McInally, although Don Malone couldn’t add the extras keeping the score at 44-4.
McInally made it a quick-fire double after an enthusiastic kick-chase by the Canterbury Bulldogs-bound winger enabled the 25-year-old to cross to chalk again. Malone made no mistake with the conversion to help add some respectability back to the scoreboard as it read 44-10 to the Pride inside the final 15 minutes.
The two quick tries helped spur the Tigers back into gear as they attacked the Pride's defensive line on the hunt for a third try. The Pride seemingly seemed content with their lead started to slacken off and conceded another try to McInally after he plucked a Jacob Fauid kick from the air and snuck over in the corner to take the score to 44-14.
Don Malone scored another late try for the hosts to make the score 44-20 with seven minutes to go, but that was as close as the Tigers would come as the Pride held on for a convincing 24-point victory.
Northern Pride 44 (Blake Leary 2, Davin Crampton 2, Robert Lui, Jack Svendsen, Brett Anderson, Kyle Feldt tries; Shaun Nona 6 goals) def. Easts Tigers 20 (Jarrod McInally 3, Donald Malone tries; Donald Malone 2 goals) at Langlands Park, Brisbane. Half-time: Pride 22-0. XXXX Man of the Match: Robert Lui.
For full results and the updated Intrust Super Cup table click here.