Norths Devils sizzled a season-best try that proved the difference in a nailbiting 24-22 win over Souths Logan Magpies at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
The 49th-minute try – and the sideline conversion from Jack Miers – were the only points of a tight second half that the Devils had threatened to split open.
The Devils’ try began from a 20-metre restart which led to a break down the right side. Centre Luke Pollock went close to scoring before the Devils turned their attack left, flinging the ball to winger Namila Davui.
The 36-year-old crashed over in the corner, stamping coach Rohan Smith’s call for the Devils to play enterprising football from any part of the field.
Smith has created a flowing style in his first season at Bishop Park and the Devils have been one of the most entertaining teams to watch when their attack has gelled.
But they had to rely on old-fashioned tough defence in the last 10 minutes as the Magpies hammered the tryline, only for several promising raids to fall short.
The tough finish was hard to predict. The score ballooned to 22-18 to the Magpies in the 37th minute when winger Benaiah Bowie scored in the right corner.
That try capped off a 16-0 run for the Magpies, who dug deep after the Devils had scored three tries in seven minutes.
“That was a tough win tonight and we knew we would have to do that to beat Souths,” Smith said.
“The players turned up for each other. That was a team performance. Full credit to Souths’ kicking – they forced repeat sets and we had to aim up.”
The Devils have battled injury all season, particularly at hooker where Smith has been forced to use multiple players.
Alex Bishop wore the jersey tonight and he was instrumental in attack, scoring the first try in the 9th minute when his quick tap from a penalty caught the Magpies with their backs turned.
Eight minutes later, Bishop’s pinpoint kick sat up for captain John Palavi to score as the Devils dashed to an 18-6 lead.
Palavi was among a number of strong forwards for the Devils including Broncos forward Sam Tagataese, physical backrower Brandon Lee and hard-charging Carne Doyle Manga.
Tagataese threatened to take the Magpies out of the game with a midfield run that almost led to a try. But the Magpies scrambled in defence to set up the thrilling finish.
It was the second tight clash between the teams this year. In round three, the Devils scored late to beat the Magpies 28-26 at Davies Park.
Norths Devils 24 (Alex Bishop, Brandon Lee, John Palavi, Namila Davui tries, Luke Pollock 3, Jack Miers goal) d Souths Logan Magpies 22 (Lenny Magey, Paul Rokolati, Jordan Mago, Benaiah Bowie tries, Guy Hamilton 3 goals) at Suncorp Stadium.