Norths will welcome back a team of “pure Devils” for tomorrow’s Hostplus Cup clash with Mackay Cutters at Bishop Park.
The Devils have fielded multiple players from their Brisbane Broncos affiliation in recent weeks but none are available tomorrow due to injuries and State of Origin commitments for the NRL team.
That will leave Norths with only players who have signed Devils contracts this year – Tyrone Roberts has since upgraded to a Broncos deal – for the first time since a Round 5 win at Ipswich.
Before that, the pure Devils last played together in the 2021 grand final success against a Wynnum Manly team including Selwyn Cobbo among five players on NRL contracts.
Tomorrow, the much-improved Cutters will be with some of their North Queensland Cowboys contingent including forward Ben Condon and backs Kane Bradley and Laitia Moceidreke.
“Our club has always been built around our core of contracted Devils and they really enjoy the chance to play together,” Norths co-coach Ben King said.
“We’ve had a frustrating few weeks but the players are looking forward to getting out there again.”
The Devils have been held scoreless in the first half of their last two matches before finding their feet after the break.
Tomorrow, premiership back Matthew Milson returns to the fullback role while Cook Islands international forward Moses Noovao-McGreal will start on the edge after missing last Sunday’s home loss to Wynnum Manly.
Michael Sio will wear the No.13 jersey while his co-captain Jack Ahearn will partner Roberts in the halves.
The Devils sit in sixth place with seven wins and five losses, one win ahead of the Cutters in ninth place. That underlines the congestion on a ladder with three wins separating teams placed second to 11th.
The Cutters will bring five-eighth Adam Cook back to Bishop Park.
The name will be familiar to Devils fans who remember Cook kicking a winning field goal at Bishop Park in Round 2 this season. That time, he was wearing a Redcliffe jersey but he has since switched to Mackay.
“The Cutters are always a difficult team to play because they have threats across the field,” King said.
“They’re well-coached and they have been playing really good footy this year.”
Caption: Matthew Milson on the attack in the Devils’ last clash with Mackay in Dysart last year. Photo: Alan Drinnen