A sweet move through six sets of hands proved vital as the Norths Devils withstood two comebacks to defeat Easts Tigers 36-26 in their Intrust Super Cup clash at Langlands Park today.
The Devils twice skipped away to 18-point leads only for the Tigers to fight back in an entertaining clash that again went to the away team. The home team has failed to win the last 12 matches between these teams.
The Devils cherished their 50th minute try when, instead of kicking on the last tackle, captain Jack Ahearn pushed the ball down a narrow left side. Troy Dargan, James Segeyaro, Connor Broadhurst and Paul Ulberg then put on a passing clinic which finished with Ulberg sending a pass back to Broadhurst for a superb Devils try.
That pushed Norths to a 30-12 lead but they had to weather a tense finish as the Tigers cashed in on a 7-3 penalty count to score the next three tries.
But Broadhurst’s second try with only 15 seconds remaining closed the door on the Tigers, keeping the Devils in fourth place with a 10-5 win-loss record.
The Devils surged into the match, scoring three tries in the opening 20 minutes, capped off by Dargan’s dummy to score.
Dargan has been excellent for the Devils in recent weeks, stepping up when Sean O’Sullivan was promoted into the Broncos’ NRL team.
Captain Ahearn was also strong in attack, scoring in the sixth minute when he joined another left-hand raid before lobbing a pinpoint kick for winger Herbie Farnworth, who flew through the air and then wrestled the ball back for an excellent try.
This time last year, teenager Farnworth broke his hand scoring a fine try at Langlands Park but both he and Norths have progressed in good measure since that day.
The Devils were eager to recover from their loss to Burleigh last start in a match that could have gone either way.
Today, they had to withstand a lack of position and field possession in a second half as Easts played almost a perfect game with their discipline. The Devils countered by playing almost mistake-free football and relying on another quality team performance.
Easts moved back into the match with tries in the 32nd and 37th minutes, turning a 0-18 deficit into an ominous 12-18 halftime score.
But the Devils blew the lead back to 18 when Brendan Frei scored down the right side three minutes before Broadhurst’s excellent try.
Easts’ comeback featured tries in the 56th and 61st minute before McInally planted the ball within millimetres of the right touchline to give the home fans hope of a victory.
The Devils will travel to Port Moresby next week to meet the Hunters while Easts, with a 9-6 record, while Easts take on the Capras in Rockhampton.
Earlier today, the Tigers claimed the Hastings Deering Colts match 19-8 after the Tigers led 1-0 at halftime. The Devils scored twice early in the second half to lead but were unable to hold off the Tigers who scored twice in the last 11 minutes.
NORTHS DEVILS 36 (Connor Broadhurst 2, Jack Ahearn, Herbie Farnworth, Troy Dargan, Brendan Frei tries, Farnworth 6 goals) d EASTS TIGERS 26 (Jarrod McInally 2, Matt Cooper, Tom Hughes, Tom Eisenhuth tries, Hughes 3 goals) at Langlands Park.