Two new Devils began their Intrust Super Cup careers in style as Norths surged to a 28-6 win over the PNG Hunters at Bishop Park tonight.
One of Brisbane’s most famous footy clubs welcomed fullback Jayden Baker as Devil No. 1285 and centre Henry Penn as Devil No.1286 and both players delivered for a strong home crowd.
Penn opened the Devils’ scoring with a try in the 20th minute and Baker followed him four minutes later – both tries came from scrums and catapulted Norths on the road to victory.
The Hunters never stopped trying and their vocal supporters urged them to close a 22-6 halftime gap.
But the Devils’ defence was much improved, closing the door after Hunters centre Brendon Gutono crossed in the 10th minute for a 6-0 lead.
Baker came to Norths from Tweed Heads Seagulls while Penn joined from Newcastle, seeking to improve their games under the entertaining style promoted by coach Rohan Smith.
The coach was pleased with the Devils’ defensive intensity tonight in a clash as physical as the Hunters always throw up. Norths were well supported up front as props Jamayne Taunoa-Brown and Riley Leota started together alongside hard-working Michael Sio for the first time this season.
The game moved at a quick speed. There were no tries from the 35th minute until the 75th minute when the fast feet of Devils winger Paul Ulberg pounced on a kick from skipper Jack Ahearn to seal the match.
Ahearn moved from fullback into the halves alongside Broncos No.7 Sean O’Sullivan, who made a solid return from injury.
The Devils had impressive players across the park, boosting their record to 3-2 ahead of next Sunday’s trip to Ipswich for the Channel 9 TV game.
Backrower Nixon Putt never stopped working in his first clash against the team he won a premiership with in 2017.
The Devils stuck with their positive style tonight despite some early hiccups and the tries by Penn and Baker showed the quick hands that can cause troubles for any team.
“We stuck with that style tonight and we backed ourselves to play the type of footy we want to play,” Smith said.
“The Hunters are always difficult to play. They give their best every time and they bring a great atmosphere to our matches.
“We showed some improvement but now we have to get ready for next weekend.”
The Devils enjoyed their best day of the season with victories in the Hastings Deering Colts and the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup matches while the Devils’ Brisbane Rugby League partner Valleys also had a strong win a few suburbs away at Emerson Park.
NORTHS DEVILS 28 (Henry Penn, Jayden Baker, Herbie Farnworth, Jack Ahearn, Paul Ulberg tries, Farnworth 4 goals) d PNG HUNTERS 6 (Brendon Gutono try, Ase Boas goal) at Bishop Park.