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Devils set for another epic Pride battle

The conditions can’t be more different but the contest is expected to be the same when the Norths Devils and Northern Pride meet again at Bishop Park today.

The teams clashed in Cairns on the Anzac Day weekend when it rained throughout a match decided by Bryce Donovan’s field goal with 90 seconds remaining.

That 13-12 win for the Devils was important in the context of a season that has delivered nine wins from 10 rounds.

The Pride haven’t lost since that night, taking care of the likes of Brisbane Tigers and Souths Logan in their five games since to arrive at Bishop Park in fifth place.

The conditions couldn’t be more different today – Brisbane will be fine, dry and a touch chilly compared to the wet season downpour that impacted the last meeting of the teams.

But Devils coach Rohan Smith knows the Pride will again be difficult.

“They’re always a team that goes deep into games because they seem to have a resilience that is tough to beat,” Smith said.

“They’re bigger than us in the middle and they constantly challenge teams so we will need to be ready to play.”

The Pride are tipped to have Cowboys Peter Hola and Heilum Luki in their team as late inclusions from the NRL squad, adding to the size of their forward pack.

There are changes from the Devils team that last defeated the Pride.

The players who pulled off the two most memorable plays of that night – Donovan (knee) and Tyson Gamble (NRL) – will be missing while forward Ben Nakubuwai, who scored both Devils’ tries that night, is also recovering from a recent setback.

Gamble’s chase on fellow NRL half Jake Clifford was a standout part of the night. Clifford, who has since moved to Newcastle Knights, scooped up a loose Devils’ pass in the 38th minute and looked set to run the length of the field to even the scores before Gamble scorched 80m to bring him down short of the line.

Clifford tried to offload the ball in Gamble’s tackle and the Pride knocked the ball on.

Gamble was the only player from the Broncos’ top 30 list on the field that night for the Devils.

The Intrust Super Cup match will kick off at 2.10pm before the Hastings Deering Colts clash between the Devils and Redcliffe at 4pm.

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