Norths Devils rounded out their disrupted schedule of trial matches by scoring seven tries to three in a solid performance against the Falcons on the Sunshine Coast last night.
This match was played on a Noosa Pirates ground that stood up remarkably to the wall of rain that had forced the cancellation of the Devils’ trial matches last weekend.
The Devils ran out 38-16 winners in their last match before the Hostplus Cup season begins with the premiers on the road against Townsville Blackhawks on Sunday 20 March.
Last night’s game was played in different circumstances to the same clash 12 months ago when the Devils fielded NRL-contracted players.
The Devils had five that night including Reece Walsh who would go on to earn State of Origin selection last year but the challenges of Covid and diabolical weather changed this pre-season. While the Devils fielded players from their contracted list, the Falcons fielded Storm-contracted players Jack Howarth, Chris Lewis and Tepai Moeroa.
The homegrown Devils conceded a try in the eighth minute before hitting back in the style that became familiar to fans last year.
From the restart, the Devils forced a turnover with a short kick-off. From the scrum, captain Jack Ahearn dummied and stepped through the defence before finding Matthew Milson sprinting through for a try.
A try to Viko Puliuvea in the final seconds before halftime levelled the scores at 12-all before Ben Nakubuwai (41st minute), Moses Noovao-McGreal (51st minute) and Rashaun Denny (54th minute) scored.
The Devils again made their own luck in the 73rd minute when Ahearn’s spiral bomb bounced away from the Falcons and found the soccer skills of Glenn McGrady and the speed of Denny for his second try and a 34-16 lead.
The Devils used multiple combinations last night through their spine in a valuable hitout.
“That was a good chance for our players to get game-time and the ground was in great condition so that helped,” Devils coach Rohan Smith said.
“This weekend is always important to our season because we get away as a squad and spend time together.”
This was the fourth year that the Devils held a pre-season camp on the Sunshine Coast, coinciding with their final trial match against the Falcons.
The Devils’ Colts showed promise in their 18-12 trial win against the Falcons. The Colts competition begins on 2 April when the Devils travel to Tweed Heads to meet the Seagulls.
NORTHS DEVILS 38 (Rashaun Denny 2, Matthew Milson, Viko Puliueva, Ben Nakubuwai, Moses Noovao-McGreal, Liam Horne tries, Jack Miers 4 goals, Bryce Donovan goal) bt SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 16 at Noosa District Sports Complex.