Michael Sio tomorrow joins a famous list of Norths captains when the Devils begin their Hostplus Cup season against the Blackhawks in Townsville.
Sio and Jack Ahearn have been appointed co-captains this season after Ahearn led the Devils to their stirring 2021 grand final win.
The announcement of the new combination surprised Sio, who was taken aback when the leadership was confirmed by his great mate Ahearn and coach Rohan Smith on the Devils’ pre-season camp.
The Devils’ captaincy ranks feature famous names including Clive Churchill, Cameron Smith, Bill Pearson, Mark Murray and Kevin Carmichael to name a few.
“It’s an honour to be asked to co-captain a club like this,” Sio said.
“And to do it with someone like Jack is even more special. We both came here at the same time (2018 season) and we’ve built something as a club over the last few years. We’re excited about getting back on the field again.”
Leadership is not new to Sio. He was school captain at prestigious St Paul’s College in Auckland and was captain of the New Zealand Warriors Under 20s team, winning the player-of-the-year award.
He’s also the oldest of five children, so he’s had plenty of experience showing the way.
“I enjoy leadership and we’ve put together a wider leadership team this year with Broady (Connor Broadhurst) and Freizy (Brendan Frei) also part of that group.
“We’ve all grown together over the last few years so it’s exciting to be part of this group.”
Sio racked up plenty of memorable moments last year, none better than the arrival of baby daughter Imelda with partner Nesi.
He played his 50th match for the Devils and was a key part of a team that won 18 of their 20 matches including a clean sweep through the finals series.
But the Devils are looking forward rather than to the joy of a grand final win and they have new faces tomorrow including the likes of Sam Lavea, Kierran Moseley and Brayden McGrady.
Coach Smith said the Devils were looking forward to tomorrow’s challenge.
“Round 1 is about putting into practice the identity and way we want to play as a team,” Smith said.
“This time of the season is always an unknown because it’s hard to know what to read into trial matches.
The Devils face a big test tomorrow, having to fly up to Townsville and back on the same day due to the Queensland Rugby League’s Covid restrictions.
“Most teams are used to flying to the game (on the same day) so we’ll be prepared,” Smith said.