No Ben Hunt as Devils return to Ipswich
The rugby league world has turned on its head since the last time the Norths Devils visited Ipswich.
It was June last year when the Jets, led by dumped Broncos halfback Ben Hunt, crunched the Devils 44-24.
When the teams meet again in tomorrow’s televised match, Hunt’s absence won’t be the only difference.
Only two of the Devils starting team from that game will be there after an off-season overhaul that followed the appointment of new coach Rohan Smith.
Luke Pollock and Todd Murphy played in the last lopsided Ipswich match that the Devils saved from disaster with four late tries.
It was a frustrating return for Pollock to the club where he made his Intrust Super Cup debut in 2013 but he says history counts for nothing tomorrow.
“It’s a unique place to play because the ground is cut into the surrounding hill so you feel as though the crowd is a lot closer to you,” Pollock said.
“We’ve had a week off with the bye which was a good chance for everyone to rest but we know that playing Ipswich is always a challenge.
“They do things differently so you have to be ready for anything.”
Pollock, pictured above, was at Ipswich when coaches Ben and Shane Walker began rolling the dice.
The Jets became known for well-considered gambles, such as short re-starts, which put the Intrust Super Cup on notice.
Those risks failed badly when the Devils hammered the Jets in the third round at Bishop Park last year but they paid off when the clubs met again in June.
The Jets kept at it last week, attempting a short re-start after Tweed Heads had locked the scores at 18-18 in an entertaining clash.
The re-start did not go the required 10 metres and the Seagulls slotted the penalty goal from halfway to win the match.
“That’s the way the Jets play their footy and they have had some great days playing that way,” Pollock said.
“They have the courage to try things and that makes them always dangerous.”
The Devils have been forced into a change with forward Sam Tagataese called up to the Broncos’ team to face the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
Coach Smith said the Devils were looking forward to playing again after the bye, establishing a top-four spot with a 6-3 win-loss record before the break.
The Jets had edged to 5-3 before falling to the Seagulls last weekend.
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