Another premiership Devil has returned to Bishop Park, excited at the prospect of wearing a Norths jersey again.
Bernard Gregorius has signed for the 2023 Hostplus Cup season, joining Jon Reuben as 2021 premiership players back at the Devils.
Reuben spent 2022 at St George Illawarra while Gregorius switched to the Brisbane Tigers.
The year was fruitful for the strong-running centre, who gained genuine confidence after playing all but one match for the season.
That has convinced Gregorius that his body is getting stronger after a dreadful piece of luck stranded him after he joined the Devils from French club Lezignan midway through 2019.
In his first week of training, Gregorius suffered a serious knee injury. By the time he recovered, Covid had ruined the 2020 season.
The good fortune arrived in 2021 when Gregorius established himself in a Devils team that had one of the best seasons in Queensland Cup history, winning 18 of 20 matches with the best attacking and defensive records in the league.
He played key roles in some of the Devils’ most important plays of the finals and celebrated the club’s grand final victory over Wynnum Manly.
“It’s just exciting to be back at Norths,” Gregorius said.
“It’s the club that I joined when I first came to Brisbane and the club that I played in a premiership with so it really holds a special place for me.
“This club really has a family feel to it.”
Gregorius watched from the stands as the Devils secured back-to-back premierships in September.
He returns with a different outlook on his football.
“One of my focuses now is to really enjoy my footy and to play well for myself and for my family rather than just trying to concentrate on playing NRL,” Gregorius said.
“Sometimes, you can get too focused and that doesn’t work out well.”
Gregorius has never played under new Devils coach Dave Elliott but he has already sat down with him to discuss the coming season.
There will be plenty of familiar faces for Gregorius. He is one of five players from the starting backline in the 2021 grand final signed for 2023 (Jack Ahearn, Jacob Gagan, Connor Broadhurst, Reuben and Gregorius).
Gregorius had won a premiership in France in 2016 after heading there from a stint in the South Sydney Rabbitohs system.
The native New Zealander will return to training next week as the Devils continue their pre-season schedule ahead of their first trial matches in February.
Photo: Alan Drinnen