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Devils turn up heaters for finals football

The heaters from the warmest room at Bishop Park have the Norths Devils ready for the latest finish in Intrust Super Cup history as their finals campaign begins today.

For the last two months, the Devils have been training in a room of their gym with the heaters cranked up to acclimatise to warm afternoon football.

The temperature is expected to hit 28 degrees when the Devils host Tweed Seagulls in today’s qualifying final.

And it’s unlikely to get cooler in the coming weeks with the competition pushed back to an October 10 decider due to Covid restrictions.

The Devils play up-tempo football regardless of the conditions and coach Rohan Smith has ensured they’re ready for spring temperatures.

“It’s something that we have done for a while and it’s helpful when we get into these afternoon games,” Devils forward Michael Sio said.

“There’s plenty of sweating during the sessions but it’s a great way to prepare for the finals.”

The Devils last met Tweed in the midst of winter with most spectators wearing jackets while Norths unloaded seven tries on the Seagulls.

Nine Devils from that winning squad will line up today in a battle of first versus fourth, with the winner moving into the preliminary final in two weeks.

The loser will meet Redcliffe following their 40-20 win over Sunshine Coast Falcons yesterday.

“We’re looking forward to this game and we know Tweed will be ready,” Sio said.

“They’re a quality team and they played well throughout the season to reach the top four.

“This is an opportunity for both teams and we have to be ready for it.”

The Devils will welcome back seven players who missed last weekend’s loss to the Jets in Ipswich while the Seagulls will have three new players from the squad that lost to PNG Hunters last weekend.

This is the first time that the teams have met in a finals match.

The Devils lead their head-to-head clashes 16-14 with two draws.

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