The Devils had won five straight premierships and the rest of the competition was chasing us hard. In 1964, we finished third on the ladder and many judges thought our golden run was over. Redcliffe claimed fourth spot and were tipped to end our record run of premierships in the knockout match at Lang Park.. But one of our great players, centre Henry Hegarty, starred as we overcame Redcliffe 17-12. Hegarty had been battling injury but he was explosive with a try while also setting up a try for our great winger Fonda Metassa.
We were also well served by captain Jimmy Hannam, Les Geeves, Dinger Bell and our lock Elwyn Walters. We signed Elwyn from Tweed Heads and he would go on to play 12 Tests and win five Sydney premierships. Two weeks later, we won our sixth consecutive premiership. #UpTheDevils
In 2012, the Devils reached the finals on points differential only, finishing in fifth place and only 19 points ahead of the Tigers on for-and-against. That left the Devils to travel to Ipswich to take on the fourth-placed Jets in front of a parochial home crowd.
The underdog Devils struck early as Jay Aston crossed for a try in the opening minutes. Another two tries pushed us ahead 16-0 after 24 minutes.
The Devils knew the Jets would fight back and they began to find their way and trailed by only two points with minutes remaining but the Devils dug deep as hooker Kurt Baptiste scored the try that broke Ipswich hearts as the Devils won 26-20.
We go back to 2002 – It’s hard to believe that a Devils team that included Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater were outsiders for a knockout semi but we weren’t given much hope of beating the Bears at Burleigh.
Seven of our 17 players were eligible for the Colts competition. The Devils had only secured a finals place with a win in the last round of the season to get our win-loss record to 14-8. We jumped out to a handy 22-8 halftime lead at Burleigh as Smith, halfback Marc Brentnall and our captain Wade Fenton were among our best. And we continued to surge away in the second half with a win that put the competition on notice.
We came out the next week to eliminate the Tigers 18-16 at Langlands Park as Cronk was superb in a new role of fullback.
In 1980 the Devils finished fourth after the regular-season, pitting them against Wayne Bennett’s Brothers team in a do-or-die clash at Lang Park. Devils coach Graham Lowe attracted attention when he promised before the game that the winner of the knockout semi would win the premiership, claiming that frontrunners Souths and Valleys didn’t “have the same razzle-dazzle” as the Devils.
Kiwi backrower Mark Graham was among the stars for the Devils as they scored six tries to defeat Brothers, beginning one of the most unlikely premiership runs in Brisbane’s rugby league history. Graham, Mark Murray, Ross Henrick, Neville Draper and electric fullback Joe Kilroy played well for the Devils in the win over Brothers.
We go back to 1990 for a classic showdown between Norths and Easts at Lang Park.
The Devils reached the finals in fourth place, three points clear of fifth and rated the outsider of the finals series. But coach Tommy Raudonikis had his players primed for the finals series. First stop was the John Lang-coached Tigers, which had been unbeaten against the Devils in the regular season. This match was always tight. The Devils scored tries through fullback Pat Cleary and winger Brad Foster while goalkicking ace Guy Harvey added the extras to have the scores level at 14 with 30 minutes to go.
The Tigers hit the front with a field goal to Ken Jackson with 23 minutes remaining. But Raudonikis’ team was full of character and an attacking kick from Cleary bounced for the Devils in the in-goal area, leading to a try by Troy Evans – the father of Daly Cherry-Evans – in the 65th minute. Harvey, of course, converted the try. Easts took a penalty goal to close within 20-17 with 10 minutes remaining and both teams then battled out a stirring finish to the match.
The Devils emerged from that win to defeat Redcliffe in extra time in the preliminary final.