Errors mar Capras win
IT WAS a trial in the true sense of the word with the CQ Capras giving coach John Harbin plenty to work on during the coming week.
At this stage of the season the games are all about players getting minutes on the park and becoming battle-hardened for the coming Intrust Cup season.
In that respect, the match was perfect as the Central Queensland Indigenous All Stars provided solid opposition on Saturday night at Browne Park and were a shade unlucky for the score to blow out to 32-18 after being outscored by 20-6 in the final quarter.
What will concern Harbin is the error rate as his Capras team was as guilty as the All Stars OF coughing the ball up and even missed out on scoring a couple of tries as players lost control of the football as they tried to ground it.
Due to the afternoon heat, the game was played in four quarters with the Capras "winning" all but one of each spell.
However, in the first half it was their defensive qualities that kept them ahead after Mal Darkin dived over in the corner after the Capras moved the ball quickly through a couple of sets of hands to set the winger up.
The sideline conversion attempt missed the target.
The All Stars could easily have got back on terms soon afterwards after a speculative kick ahead caught out the Capras defence with All Stars winger Gary Prior leading the chase.
However, with Prior trying to get a hand on the ball, the bounce beat everyone and the score remained 4-0.
After having a fair share of the territorial advantage, the All Stars were rocked close to the interval as fullback Reece Baker took advantage of a loss of concentration in the All Stars defence to run through a couple of weak tackles and score.
The score of 8-0 at the main break was hardly convincing, especially as the All Stars enjoyed their best spell of the game in the third quarter.
They were led by co-captain James Waterton who produced a big hit, which he obviously enjoyed, sparking his team mates into action.
Steven Williams went into the corner after the Capras defence was subjected to intense pressure, repelling the All Stars in successive sets of six. Waterton added the extras to make it 8-6.
A good run from Ben Faulkner from deep put the Capras back on attack and, after a quick play-the-ball, the move went to the right where Russell Webber supplied the finishing touch.
Inspirational captain Tim Glasby's only blemish on an otherwise fine display came when he had the chance to put the Capras further ahead only to lose the ball in the tackle as he dived for the line.
Just before the three-quarter siren, the Capras were made to pay as Elgin Congoo muscled his way through to score with Waterton converting from the sideline.
From there it was all the Capras as an Alan Rothery run resulted in Cheyenne Motu getting on the scoresheet before Sai Vatabua capitalised on good lead-up work by halfback Gavin Duffy and converted by Daniel Pickering.
Shortly afterwards, Pickering scored to make it 26-12 before Caleb Littleboy kept the game alive, spinning over the line to score with Waterton again adding the extras.
But a great individual try from Faulkner ended any chance of a late revival.
Capras coach John Harbin admitted there was a lot to work on before next weekend's match at Mackay.
"It was very scrappy," he said.
Harbin was also concerned with the penalty count as the Capras were called up on 17 occasions by one official and just three times after the referees changed over.
"We didn't do anything different from what I could see," he said.
However, Harbin said his team received a good workout and he was happy with the defence, especially in the first 40 minutes.
He was also happy with the crowd which he estimated at close to 1200 spectators.
"We played some good football in the last quarter," he said.
While Duffy played well, the halves lacked a bit of cohesion.
"It was very hard as the game never flowed," he said.
Harbin noted the performances of Glasby, Faulkner and Mitch Zornig while cameo displays from Alan Rothery and John Clayton were also a bonus.
"I thought our two wingers (Darkin and Pickering) went well," he said.
All Stars spokesman Justin Loomans said it was great to be at 12-12 at three-quarter time but was critical of the style adopted by the All Stars team.
"I told them at half time they had been selected for their skills," he said.
Instead of throwing the ball around and making the Capras work, they produced a more orthodox display, opting to run the ball up to the Capras.
Admittedly, Andrew Dale put in a typical wholehearted display, but too often the talented runners were isolated and left on the fringes of the action.
Prop Clifton Tildora also put in a good showing while Loomans agreed Waterton was a standout.
"I think everyone played well and tried their hardest," he said.
However, Loomans agreed the error rate was too high in the All Stars team.
"Dropped ball on the first or second tackle were far too many," he said.
Loomans also felt there was too much whistle to allow the game to become a spectacle.
"Unfortunately for a trial game it wasn't allowed to flow," he said.