Norths Devils have again been installed underdogs for a grand final as they prepare for Redcliffe Dolphins at their home ground in Saturday’s Hostplus Cup decider.
The Devils had an early trip across the bridge to Redcliffe today for the pre-match media conference as co-coaches Ben King and Kevin Neighbour and co-captain Michael Sio fielded questions about the match.
They were asked about the prospect of a crowd stacked with Dolphins supporters desperate to see the hot grand final favourites win their first title in four years.
Palmerbet has installed the Dolphins $1.60 betting favourites for the match ahead of the Devils as $2.35 chances.
But the underdog tag is the normal for the Devils.
They won 17 of their 19 matches last season before the grand final but still couldn’t crack favouritism as Wynnum Manly were sent out at shorter betting odds only to fall to the Devils.
Three weeks ago, the Devils were the longest-priced team of the weekend when they went to Burleigh to play the minor premiers in the first week of the finals. But Norths prevailed with a late rush.
The Devils have a habit of being grand final outsiders, most memorably in 1980 when Norths rushed from fourth position to stun a Souths team featuring Mal Meninga.
“This is going to be very difficult. Redcliffe are a quality side that can score points from anywhere on the field,” King told reporters today.
“We know the task that we face. And we know that we’re playing Redcliffe on their ground.
“But we’ll be competing. We need to compete on every single play in every moment.”
The coaches and Sio praised the Devils fans for turning out in numbers at Bishop Park last Saturday for the stirring preliminary final victory over Sunshine Coast Falcons.
Busloads of Devils fans are heading to Redcliffe on Saturday and are expected to make plenty of noise.
“We had a great turnout at home last week and we had great energy from that,” Sio said.
“We’re looking forward to the Devils fans coming out again. They made plenty of noise last year in the grand final.”
Co-captain Jack Ahearn told 4BC Radio tonight that the Devils were ready for Saturday.
“We’ve stuck together this year and we’re just excited to be playing in a grand final,” Ahearn said.
“Redcliffe are a very good team so we face a challenge but we’ll give it everything.”
The Devils trained at Bishop Park tonight with an opposed session against the wider Norths squad helping the premiers prepare for Saturday.