Norths Devils racked up several milestones as their lead on the Intrust Super Cup table stretched to three wins with a 29-22 victory over the Blackhawks in Townsville today.
The Devils sprinted away from the Blackhawks with two early tries and then controlled the match, withstanding two late tries from the home team to achieve:
- The Devils’ first ever win against the Blackhawks in Townsville
- Their seventh consecutive away win, equalling the club record set in 2013/14
- Their eighth consecutive win, increasing their season record to 13-1 with five matches until the finals
- A six-point lead on the ladder after losses to top three teams Wynnum-Manly and Tweed Seagulls
Today’s clash was a test for a Devils team on the road for the second consecutive week after last weekend’s trip to Dysart for Country Week.
Back on the plane six days later, coach Rohan Smith’s team didn’t flinch as five-eighth Connor Broadhurst opened the scoring in the second minute before Rashaun Denny collected a superb pass from Bernard Gregorius eight minutes later to increase the lead.
The Blackhawks stayed in the contest with a try from a kick four minutes later before the Devils ripped the game open when winger Jon Reuben made one of his several breaks, finding fullback Matthew Milson whose kick-and-regather for a try in the 34th minute was the individual moment of the match.
The Devils have been well-served by Milson and centre Jacob Gagan, who have added to Norths’ depth since they joined the club in late June.
Gagan’s try in the right corner in the 43rd minute, off the slick footwork of Jerome Veve, pushed the Devils’ lead to 22-4.
That buffer enabled Norths to take charge of the game and hopes of a Blackhawks’ fightback were distanced when Denny scored his second try in the 64th minute, touching down on Jack Miers’ short kick from dummy-half.
“It’s been pleasing to have team efforts across a number of weeks,” Smith said.
“It was a hot day and we were up against a high-quality opposition that had won five straight games so this was a genuine test.”
Reuben was very good in front of his former home crowd. His family and friends watched him create havoc for Blackhawks’ defence, turning cautious moments into blistering attack.
Broadhurst and skipper Ahearn again formed a strong halves combination while the forward pack had its usual strength across the group with Michael Sio playing early minutes as dummy-half before Miers slotted into the role midway through the first half.
Ahearn’s calmness again helped the Devils with a 76th-minute field goal putting the visitors out of reach and ensuring a treasured away win against Townsville.
The Blackhawks boasted plenty of NRL experience with the likes of Josh Hoffman, Patrick Kaufusi, Kalifa Faifai-Loa and Kyle Laybutt among their starting team.
The Devils return home for Saturday night’s clash with the Brisbane Tigers before a run of three consecutive away games at Wynnum, Ipswich and Burleigh.
NORTHS DEVILS 29 (Rashaun Denny 2, Connor Broadhurst, Matthew Milson, Jacob Gagan tries, Broadhurst 4 goals, Jack Ahearn field goal) bt TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 22 (Patrick Kaufusi, Sione Lousi, Carlin Anderson, Sam Martin-Savage tries, Shaun Nona goal, Kyle Laybutt goal, Kalifa Faifai-Loa goal) at Jack Manski Oval