Only a few blocks from where his father tormented batsmen, Brendan Frei delivered a hat-trick of his own as the Norths Devils toppled rivals Redcliffe Dolphins 28-16 in their Intrust Super Cup clash at Bishop Park.
Frei’s father Harry was a fast bowler for Queensland, playing from the Toombul club which is a short walk from the Devils’ home ground.
Harry’s sons have excelled in rugby league and Brendan was among the Devils’ best today, grabbing three tries as they held the Dolphins to retain the Kavanagh Cup.
The trophy is in memory of Steve Kavanagh – a former Devils and Dolphins player and coach – and it’s on the line each time these rivals play. There was also a moment of silence before the match to mark the passing of another Devils-Dolphins legend in Peter Randall.
Both men would have enjoyed the early moments of the contest which opened with a try to Redcliffe’s Izaia Perese in the sixth minute when he pounced on a Devils mistake.
But backrower Frei led the fightback, bursting on to a sharp movement from forward Pride Petterson-Robati to halfback Sean O’Sullivan.
That 20th minute try was followed three minutes later by Michael Sio’s try from dummy-half, which pushed the Devils to a 12-6 lead.
But these Devils-Dolphins clashes aren’t usually straight-forward. Frei had to break a 12-all deadlock in the 35th minute when he finished off Luke Pollock’s surge close to the line.
When Frei crossed again in the 51st minute, the Devils had moved to 22-12, cushioned further by Herbie Farnworth’s try in the 68th minute.
The Kavanagh family chose Frei as the player of the match and he was ably supported as the Devils delivered another team performance across the park.
There was plenty for Devils fans to like. Petterson-Robati made his starting debut for the Devils after moving from Melbourne earlier this season. Bullemor made his starting debut at Bishop Park while Oshae Tuiasau and Moses Noovao-McGreal made their home debuts for the season. Brandon Lee was strong in an 80-minute display against his former team.
The Devils moved into the top four with a 9-4 record while the Dolphins slipped further from the eight. They dropped to 10th and now sit four points adrift of eighth spot.
Coach Rohan Smith knows the Devils still have plenty to work on as they prepare for next Sunday’s trip to Burleigh to meet the Bears.
It was a top day for Devils fans.
Earlier, they claimed a win in the Hastings Deering Colts match, 32-14. The Devils showed improvement as they aim to defend their premiership from last season.
The BRL clash between Valleys and Redcliffe went to the Diehards 29-14. The Diehards are the Devils feeder team and plenty of Norths’ Intrust Super Cup squad members featured in today’s win.