Norths pulled off another Ladies’ Day fightback in the driving rain at Bishop Park last night to keep a share of top spot on the Hostplus Cup ladder.
On last year’s Ladies Day, the Devils trailed the Blackhawks by 10 points with 13 minutes remaining before unleashing three late tries for the win.
Last night, the Capras led by two points with five minutes remaining in conditions that made scoring difficult.
But the premiers, like they did three weeks ago at Ipswich, held their nerve as the clock ticked down. In the 76th minute, Kierran Moseley’s pass found forward Jerome Veve whose dry-weather short ball to Leivaha Pulu sent the big man sliding across for a try.
Co-captain Jack Ahearn added a field goal with seconds remaining as the Devils claimed a 17-12 win – their sixth from seven games this season and their 25th win from their last 28 matches.
“The conditions weren’t easy out there but we just had to stick to our plan and we got the win,” Ahearn said.
“We’ve done that a couple of times this season but we know there’s a long way to go this year and we’ve got improvement in us.”
These Devils keep on trucking despite the changes that have tested the depth of the entire club.
It was the second win from as many matches for new co-coaches Ben King and Kevin Neighbour who have stepped in for Rohan Smith, who coaches his first match with Leeds Rhinos this weekend.
Broncos forward Ryan James made his debut for the Devils – becoming Devil No.1322 – starting in the pack alongside his Broncos teammate Rhys Kennedy. It was only the third time this season that the Devils had fielded two Broncos in a match.
The Devils knew this would be a tough game – the Capras came to Bishop Park with a share of top spot and an expectation that they could end a wretched 17-game losing streak against Norths.
The waves of showers that rolled across Moreton Bay and towards Bishop Park made for slippery handling conditions and the Devils pounced early.
Kennedy pinballed off the Capras forwards in the 17th minute, turning a routine hit-up into a sharp try next to the posts.
Three minutes later, Moseley’s deft kick slipped out of the Capras’ hands for Devils centre Connor Broadhurst to apply the quickest of touches for a try.
The 10-0 scoreline had hints of last week when the Devils unloaded three tries on PNG Hunters in 10 minutes before the Hunters returned fire.
The Capras, buoyed by their early success this season, scored 12 unanswered points including tries to Bailey Butler (26th minute) and Jesse Jennings (52nd minute).
Blake Moore’s penalty goal in the 61st minute gave the Capras a lead and provided them with a test of their mettle against the premiers on the road.
But the Devils were too strong, sparked by a dropped ball from the Capras as they made their way off their line.
From the scrum, the Devils went right and then came back left where the quick hands of Veve to Pulu sparked the cheers from the Ladies Day crowd who had watched another late victory.
Tyrone Roberts, who continues to show his cool head when the scores are tight, slotted the conversion before the Devils came back down the field for Ahearn’s field goal to finish.
The Devils are at home against next Sunday when they meet Brisbane Tigers.
Earlier, the Capras recorded a strong win in the Hastings Deering Colts match, scoring eight tries in a 42-10 win over the Devils. The Capras are unbeaten this season while the Devils’ have won two of their four matches.
NORTHS DEVILS 17 (Rhys Kennedy, Connor Broadhurst, Leivaha Pulu tries, Tyrone Roberts 2 goals, Jack Ahearn field goal) bt CQ CAPRAS 12 (Bailey Butler, Jesse Jennings tries, Trey Browne goal, Blake Moore goal) at Bishop Park.
Photo by Alan Drinnen