A RESURGENT Central Queensland Capras outfit held off a dominant second-half rally to seal a 22-14 win over the Burleigh Bears at Browne Park yesterday afternoon.
The Capras made an ominous start to their Intrust Super Cup
title defence by outmuscling the Bears in a nail-biting season opener.
Jason Hetherington's side were on course for a dominant victory after racing out to a 10-6 lead, only for the Bears to level the score in the final two minutes of the first half.
In a match played in sweltering conditions, it was the Capras' new signings who stole the show, with Javarn White and Russ Aitken playing starring roles.
White and Chris Stolk crossed in the first half to keep Capras in contention at the break.
"We always said Javarn was going to be a strong competitor and a winner - he's a great addition to our side," Hetherington said.
"His talk, energy and enthusiasm really helped the boys out on the field."
The Bears nudged the Capras at second half kick-off with the visitors looking more comfortable in the conditions as their mobile forwards dominated the Capras pack.
On their rare attacking opportunities down Burleigh's end, the Capras made it count sending Tarrant Marriner across the line in the 66th minute to put the home side in front.
Aitken, made a solid fist of his first outing in the blue and maroon jersey, capitalising on a Burleigh defensive error to score left of the post.
In a cruel twist of irony given the Bears toppled the Capras in the 2014 season opener, Matt Minto launched a dagger into Burleigh hearts with a 70th minute penalty kick to secure the win.
"In a bit of adversity they lifted up to the challenge and kept working hard to secure the win," Hetherington said.
"I'll admit it wasn't pretty but there wasn't a weak link on the field, especially in defence."
Hetherington lamented some early-season cobwebs after his side's performance but was happy to walk away with the win.
"A lot of the errors we made are easy fixes and the boys are dedicated enough to overcome them," he said.
"We had a lot of debutants and Ray (Ebsworth) was one I have to give a big pat on the back too.
"He works hard on his game at training and is really dedicated to wearing the Capras jersey."
Intrust Super CupRound 1
CQ CAPRAS 22 (Javarn White, Tarrant Mariner, Russ Aitken, Chris Stolk tries; Matt Minto 3 goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 14 (Siuatonga Likiliki, Dimitri Pelo, Brad Tighe tries; Connor Toia goal) at Browne Park.