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Skipper hits 100 and signs for 2020

Jack Ahearn will be a Devil for another year yet.

The Norths captain has signed for the 2020 season, ensuring he will add to an Intrust Super Cup milestone that he will reach in Mackay tonight.

Ahearn will play his 100th ISC match when the Devils take on the Cutters at BB Print Stadium.

It’s a milestone that means something to a Canberra boy who has now acclimatised to Queensland.

“It’s been a bit cold the last month, hasn’t it?” Ahearn said with a grin this week.

It’s been a good winter for the Devils, who have sealed their first finals berth since 2012 with a 13-7 win-loss record.

Ahearn has been central to the Devils’ success but he admits he almost didn’t come to Bishop Park.

In late 2017, the Devils had signed new coach Rohan Smith, who had coached against Ahearn during his days in the NRL Under 20 and NSW Cup competitions.

Smith wanted Ahearn to be part of his rebuilt Devils team but Ahearn expected to stay at Redcliffe. It took a meeting at the Bracken Ridge Tavern to convince Ahearn to move to Bishop Park.

“We met at the pub but we both had a water and Ro told me about what he wanted to do at Norths. I liked the sound of it,” Ahearn said.

“I’m really pleased that I did it. I’ve really enjoyed playing at Norths and that’s why I wanted to re-sign for next year.”

Ahearn has not missed a game since he joined the Devils. Ahearn and forward Jamayne Taunoa-Brown have played each of the 43 games under Smith.

Ahearn was appointed captain this season, following the likes of Clive Churchill, Cameron Smith and Mark Murray as Devils skippers.

It was a long way from Ahearn’s first taste of Intrust Super Cup when he played for Souths Logan as part of the Canberra Raiders’ feeder system. His teammates at the Magpies included Jordan Rapana, Kurt Baptiste and Mitch Cronin.

Ahearn remains a humble player who leads through his actions and seeks advice through a wider leadership group at the Devils.

Away from football, Ahearn remains engaged in his work as a chaplain at Clontarf Beach State High School. He is one of several Devils involved in youth work including Oshae Tuiasau, Brandon Lee, Jordan Mago and Calum Gahan.

A win in Ahearn’s 100th match tonight depends on how the Devils handle back-to-back northern trips. They were impressive in a 62-14 demolition of the Northern Pride in Cairns last week but a disappointing trip to Mackay in last year’s penultimate round has the Devils on notice.

“They’re always a tough team to beat, especially in Mackay, so we know that we have to come to play tonight. It’s not going to be easy,” Ahearn said.

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