The Devils unleashed a mix of old and new on the Central Queensland Capras tonight to continue their winning start to the Intrust Super Cup season.
Norths’ 36-16 win at Browne Park was built on strong defence and positive steps in attack for a team starting to gel for new coach Rohan Smith.
The Devils stormed to an 18-4 lead after 24 minutes with tries to recruits Michael Sio, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown and Jack Ahearn.
The Capras fought back to 18-12 at halftime before Norths scored three tries in the second half to Paul Ulberg, Sam Tagataese and Gary Riccardi.
All three of those players have been with Norths prior to this season, highlighting the mix of established players and new faces that have driven the Devils to the top of the ladder after two rounds.
“There were some pleasing elements to that win including our attack early in the game when we put together some encouraging sets,” Smith said.
“The Capras came back hard at us particularly late in the first half so we knew we had a fight on our hands.”
The Capras scored after the halftime siren before the Devils skipped away two minutes into the second half when winger Ulberg pounced on a clearing kick from Riccardi, toeing ahead to score a valuable try.
The Capras hit back four minutes later when former NRL player Dave Taylor was involved in a raid that led to Chanel Seigafo scoring to claw back to 24-16. The Devils didn’t concede a point for the final 34 minutes, clearing out when Broncos forward Tagataese scored yet again.
Tagataese, Taunoa-Brown and skipper John Palavi were again strong for the Devils while the spine of Sio, Riccardi, Ahearn and Todd Murphy forged an effective combination.
The versatile Sio showed his professionalism, moving into the hooking role after the loss of Alex Bishop and Calum Gahan to injury.
And Murphy showed why he was a Broncos-contracted player with a classy performance, kicking all six conversions while combining well with Riccardi whose 74th minute try was reward for another quality effort.
Tonight marked the Devils’ 12th consecutive win against the Capras and their seventh straight at Browne Park.
The visitors had to contend with the size of Taylor but he was contained with Smith shifting centre Chevi Ellis in one spot in defence to combine with powerful forward Oshae Tuiasau.
Riccardi also contributed some timely tackles to ensure the former State of Origin forward did not break open the Devils.
The Devils face Souths Logan Magpies at Davies Park next Sunday.