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Devils set for rematch of grand finalists

Norths are taking heart from the lessons of last year as they rebound from a heavy loss for tomorrow’s rematch with 2021 grand finalists Wynnum Manly at Bishop Park.

The Devils haven’t played since a 36-point loss to Hostplus Cup leaders Burleigh Bears sent the premiers outside the top four for the first time since 2019.

They now sit fifth but only one point from second given the congested nature of the ladder.

Devils co-captain Jack Ahearn said the premiers had spoken about their recent wobbles ahead of tomorrow’s Indigenous Round match.

“We were beaten by the same margin against Burleigh last year and that really provided a reality check for us then,” Ahearn said.

“We were able to be honest with each other and talk about what we needed to do to improve. It worked well for us last year and we played good footy after that.

“We have to take the same opportunity now. We know that we really haven’t played to the standards we set ourselves since we beat the Blackhawks (in Townsville) in Round 1.

“We know we can get a lot better so we’re looking forward to the chance of doing that.”

The Devils will welcome back co-captain Michael Sio tomorrow after he was among several players who missed the Burleigh match.

Sio and Ahearn jointly raised the premiership trophy last October when the Devils outlasted Wynnum Manly 16-10 in one of the great grand finals.

The teams haven’t met since and they will arrive at Bishop Park tomorrow with the same 7-4 win-loss record and the same determination to get back to this year’s grand final.

“They’re always a tough team to play and we really look forward to the games,” Ahearn said.

“This is a really close competition. You have to make the most of your opportunities every time you play.

“We know we can be a lot better at home. We’ve lost our last two games here and that’s not something we usually do. We’re looking forward to the chance to get better.”

The Devils will wear special jerseys tomorrow struck for the Indigenous Round. The jerseys will be auctioned after the match.

“This is a special round for a lot of people and that won’t be lost on us tomorrow,” Ahearn said.

“The weather forecast looks a bit more promising than it did earlier in the week so we’re set up for a great day.”

The Devils’ bench players will be joined on the sideline tomorrow by five young men from Murgon State High School joining the club this weekend as part of the Deadly 1440 partnership between the school and the Devils.

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