At times, it felt like the Norths Devils had hit replay on their last visit to the Sunshine Coast as they fell to the Falcons 32-20 in today’s Intrust Super Cup clash.
Like last year’s visit north, the Devils lost a player to a head knock in the opening minute and then had a promising lead run down by the Falcons in a free-flowing match.
The Devils sprinted to a 14-4 lead after 20 minutes when centre Connor Broadhurst scored his second try, finishing off another contender for Devils’ try of the year.
With the Falcons on attack metres out from the Devils line, a short kick was plucked by prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown who found PNG international Nixon Putt backing up.
Putt’s pass found Broadhurst for a 95m team try that underlined the Devils’ ability to score from anywhere on the field.
But the Falcons, controlling the speed of the play-the-ball, scored tries in the 54th, 60th, 65th and 69th minutes to surge back from a six-point halftime deficit. Their Melbourne Storm contingent proved a handful after halftime.
The Devils’ 2-2 win-loss record has been anchored by two bursts of points by opposition teams – Easts Tigers scored five tries against the Devils in 21 minutes in round two before the Falcons’ 15-minute burst today.
The Devils hit back in the 73rd minute when Brendan Frei crossed. The Falcons scored six tries to four.
Norths had lost backrower Brandon Lee to a head knock in the first minute, shortly after the Falcons had started the game by kicking the ball out on the full.
The Devils capitalised with a try to prop Riley Leota in the second minute before Broadhurst scored his first try eight minutes later.
Leota also left the field in the 19th minute after a head cut but he was cleared to return.
Coach Rohan Smith said his players would switch their attention to Saturday’s home clash with the PNG Hunters.
The Devils today had only one of their Broncos-contracted players available for the match.
“The Sunshine Coast are a good team – they’re certainly one of the better teams in the comp from what they showed us today,” Smith said.
“We know that we can mix it with these teams so we now need to keep building.”
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 32 (Justin Olam 2, Sandor Earl, Harry Grant, Joe Stimson, Sam Burns tries, Todd Murphy four goals) d NORTHS DEVILS 20 (Connor Broadhurst 2, Riley Leota, Brendan Frei tries, Broadhurst goal, Luke Pollock goal) at Sunshine Coast Stadium