Norths Devils withstood a decisive second-half assault from Sunshine Coast Falcons to claim their seventh win of the Intrust Super Cup season with a 34-22 victory at Bishop Park today.
The match was in the balance midway through the second half when the Falcons unleashed three attacking sets on the Devils line, finally pushing through on the 18th consecutive tackle with a try from a kick.
The try sliced the Devils’ lead to six points before the Falcons powered again from the kickoff, mounting another attacking kick that rolled dead by centimetres as their players poured through.
From the restart, the Devils raced the length of the field, with tireless forward Leivaha Pulu throwing a pass more like the best of halfbacks to find winger Rashaun Denny racing through for a try.
That pushed the Devils ahead by 10 as they increased their win-loss record to 7-1, entrenching second place, while recording their second win against the Falcons in their last eight meetings.
“That was an important part of the game and the defence held up to it and then we had players ready to get us to the other end of the field,” Devils coach Rohan Smith said.
“That was another good team effort with positive contributions across the field.”
The Devils welcomed two club debutants – fullback Kyle Van Klaveren and centre Jared Chambers – while Broncos forward Ethan Bullemor was a late addition to the Norths’ pack alongside teammate Danny Levi.
Bullemor and Levi helped to cause early problems for the Falcons as the Devils posted tries to centre Tony Tumusa (6th minute) and Connor Broadhurst (15th minute) to lead 12-0.
Broadhurst – the reigning Queensland Residents centre – has performed well for the Devils at five-eighth in the last two weeks in a new halves combination with Norths junior Jack Miers.
The Falcons’ comeback featured former Devils Todd Murphy and Paul Ulberg, with the latter’s fast feet finding a way through to the tryline for a 12-10 scoreline after 26 minutes.
The Devils hit back immediately when Michael Sio, in his first game as captain at Bishop Park, stripped the ball from the Falcons from the re-start. In the next set, the Devils found Denny in the left corner for an important try.
The Devils had an important finish to the first half when Miers found Levi for a try that made the halftime margin 24-10.
The last 15 minutes of the match were scoreless after Miers had slotted a penalty goal to stretch the margin to 12 points.
The Devils paid tribute to their strong First Nations history today in the Intrust Super Cup’s Indigenous Round, wearing specially-made jerseys.
The Acknowledgment to Country and a halftime Indigenous dance troupe added to a special day for the club.
The Devils and Falcons will rest next weekend when the split round continues.
On the following weekend, the Devils head to Tweed Heads to meet the third-placed Seagulls while the Falcons host the Redcliffe Dolphins.
NORTHS DEVILS 34 (Tony Tumusa 2, Connor Broadhurst 2, Rashaun Denny 2, Danny Levi tries, Jack Miers 3 goals) bt SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 22 (William Toloi, Paul Ulberg, Tom Rafter, Louis Geraghty tries, Todd Murphy 3 goals) at Bishop Park.