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McGradys settle into life as Devils

There are more than 1300 names on the wall of the Norths football office, recognising all who have played first grade for the Devils since 1933.

Until last week, one of the most famous rugby league names was missing from that wall.

But Brayden McGrady’s debut for Norths in last weekend’s Hostplus Cup season opener in Townsville has elevated that surname to a wall featuring the likes of Churchill, Smith, Cronk and Slater.

Brayden will play his first premiership match at Bishop Park tomorrow when the Devils take on the Redcliffe Dolphins.

And another McGrady could be on that wall soon if Brayden’s brother Glenn continues his progress at Bishop Park.

Brayden and Glenn are nephews of Ewan McGrady – the 1991 Rothmans Medallist in Sydney whose dazzling moves for the Bulldogs livened up rugby league.

Not so long ago, Brayden played with Ewan for their hometown Toomelah Tigers – “He’s still pretty quick,” Brayden says – while both boys love fishing and playing golf with their uncle.

Their cousin Lindon is the captain of the Tweed Seagulls, whose strong 2021 season came to an end against the Devils in the first week of the finals.  

The McGradys arrived together at Bishop Park in the off-season after contact from Devils coach Rohan Smith.

Glenn, 21, came from the Goondiwindi Boars after helping them to their first premiership in 18 years.

And Brayden, 25, came from the brink of retirement after he had left the Tweed Seagulls and returned home thinking he was finished with football.

Fortunately Brayden was lured back by Smith, who had worked with him at the Gold Coast Titans.

And the move paid instant dividends last Sunday when McGrady made his debut on the wing with a try.

“It was just good to be out there playing,” Brayden said.

“It’s been really enjoyable here at Norths. Ro (coach Rohan Smith) called me after last season and we spoke about me coming back just to enjoy playing footy again.

“And it was one of the most enjoyable pre-seasons I’ve had. It just felt good from the start.”

While Brayden was scoring a try in Townsville – he has a remarkable 27 tries from his 31 Cup matches – Glenn notched a double with Devils affiliate club Valleys.

Both boys seem to have permanent smiles on their faces.

Away from football, Brayden and Glenn are youth workers while Glenn is also helping with his baby daughter Ariah.

The brothers have a simple goal to keep enjoying their football and to keep improving.

The Devils is their latest club together after they both played at Tweed and Penrith.

“It’s been fun and there’s a really good bunch of people here at the club,” Glenn said.

Brayden had some familiar faces at the Devils – he had been part of the Titans system with Ben Nakubuwai and Jerome Veve.

And he had some local connection after spending two years as a student at Wavell State High School where he was a classmate of popular Devil Jack Miers.

Photo caption: Glenn (left) and Brayden McGrady in action for the Devils. Photos: Alan Drinnen

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