The courage of Iain Riccardi has reflected the coach’s belief that Norths Devils’ effort can’t be faulted despite a three-game losing streak.
Riccardi played on for 30 minutes with a suspected broken hand as the Devils fell 29-10 to the Northern Pride in Cairns on Saturday night.
When the Devils returned to Brisbane this morning, Riccardi headed for X-rays to determine the nature of the injury.
Riccardi’s brother Gary continues his recovery from a broken wrist suffered earlier in a season that has fluctuated for the Devils.
The club has used 30 players – more than any of their Intrust Super Cup rivals – in a season that began with three consecutive wins.
“The scoreline in Cairns didn’t reflect the effort,” Devils coach Rohan Smith said.
“The will to compete has been there all season. But we have to find something extra to crack the teams we’re playing against.
“We’re still learning a lot about ourselves but we know this competition is tough. We’re on the road again next week and we’re looking forward to it.”
The Devils wobbled to halftime last night trailing 17-0 as the Pride unveiled an NRL-standard left-edge that caused problems.
Out-of-favour Cowboys Ethan Lowe, Javid Bowen and Gideon Gela-Mosby combined with in-form halfback Jake Clifford as the Pride scored in the 14th, 20th and 30th minutes.
But Norths’ surged back into the game with tries to Riccardi in the 42nd minute and Jack Ahearn three minutes later.
The Pride edged clear with two tries against the run of play, including an intercept pass which led to a simple try.
Riccardi’s injury means the Devils are likely to shuffle their forward pack again next week when they play their third consecutive match on the road versus last year’s grand finalists Sunshine Coast Falcons.