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Devils surge into Mal Meninga Cup final

Undefeated Norths Devils moved within reach of their first Mal Meninga Cup premiership in seven years with a semi-final win over Mackay Cutters today. The Devils’ path to the grand final wasn’t straightforward – they cruised to a 26-0 lead in the first half at Davies Park before Mackay fought back in a 32-24 result. Souths Logan Magpies won the other semi-final, racing in three late tries to overcome Tweed Heads 40-22 at Davies Park. Next Saturday’s Under 18 grand final at Bishop Park shapes as a bruising clash – the Magpies tested the Devils five weeks ago in a close match at Davies Park. The teams include more than a dozen players contracted by the Broncos, Cowboys and Roosters. Devils coach Troy Bishop said today’s second half would benefit his team as they aim for Norths’ first Mal Meninga Cup since 2011’s 28-10 triumph over Townsville. “We’ve had a really good season so I was pleased to see that resilience today when we needed it,” Bishop said. “We had to dig deep and we showed some character. We know we could face similar pressure in the final so it was good to see that today.” The Cutters made a slick start today, testing the Devils in defence in several near-misses. But Norths then showed the skills that helped them remain undefeated in the qualifying rounds, racing in six tries in 28 minutes. Some of those were brilliant efforts in the corners as the Devils surged through the middle before engaging their quick outside backs. But the 32-6 halftime score unravelled as the Cutters scored in the 41st, 44th and 49th minutes. The winner of Saturday’s final will meet the NSW Under 18 champions in the national final at Dolphin Oval the following weekend. The Mal Meninga Cup final will be played at 3pm following the Intrust Super Cup clash between the Devils and Mackay Cutters at 1pm. Mal Meninga Cup semi-final: NORTHS DEVILS 32 (Brock Diment, Fruean Easthope, Jack Paterson, Jordan Riki, Zak McGuire, Daejarn Asi tries; Cory Paix 4 goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 24 (Tom Irelandes, Blake Paskins, Michael Bell, Sean Michael Dalton tries; Michael Bell 4 goals) at Davies Park.  

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