Northern Force get the job done in classy debut
RUGBY LEAGUE: Northern Force stamped itself as a contender in the Northern Districts Rugby League competition after a dominant display against 2016 grand finalist Gin Gin.
A large crowd witnessed the NDRL's newest team - made up from Miriam Vale Magpies and Agnes Water Marlins players - wear down the favourites in the second half at Miriam Vale.
Ricky Noy and Luke Hedges each scored two tries while John Smallcombe and Mitchum Dawes crossed the line once in the 36-12 result.
Force coach Mick O'Sullivan said there were good signs despite limited preparation and an 11th-hour bid to attract players in order to have a big enough playing pool to cover for players who do shift-work.
"To be honest we had the team to win, but my only concern was that we only really trained together the one time," O'Sullivan said.
The lack of match fitness was another concern, but O'Sullivan said the mood in the change-room before the game indicated the players what they had to do.
"It was a very relaxed dressing room before the game and the players knew that they were in for a tough game," O'Sullivan said.
It was anyone's game in the first half with no indication as to which team were to break the shackles in the second half.
"The first half was grinding and we knew our fitness is not where it should be," O'Sullivan said.
Northern Force clicked into gear in the second half and O'Sullivan could see the self-belief rising.
"It was a good confidence-booster," O'Sullivan said.
"Our combinations were scratchy at the start, but they started to get going as the game went on.
"Ricky Noy and James Bagnall played well in the halves and our hooker William Fenell was our player of the match."
Tim McIntosh slotted through four conversions and O'Sullivan said there are more players to return.
"We were missing players who were not available," O'Sullivan said.
"Because there are lot of shift-workers, they don't know their rosters until early in the week."
In the other NDRL match, Avondale had a 26-6 win against Burnett Heads.
Northern Force take on South Kolan in Bundaberg this Saturday from 4.30pm in round two while Burnett Heads and Gin Gin will go head-to-head as both clubs attempt to win their first game.