Losalio Payne shook off multiple defenders in a milestone moment that typified the effort in Norths Devils’ opening trial matches for the BMD Premiership and Hostplus Cup seasons at Bishop Park last night.
Payne reached out to score the first try for a Devils’ statewide women’s competition team, sparking a celebration for Norths in front of a large crowd for five trial matches against Wynnum Manly.
The Devils lost the BMD Premiership trial 28-4 but Payne’s determination to storm through the Wynnum defenders underlined the home team’s effort.
With 17 frontline players rested from the match and a possession percentage of 65-35 against them in the first half, the Devils gave vital exposure to younger faces four weeks out from the historic season-opener at Bishop Park.
The Devils’ Hostplus Cup team had a similar story as it stepped out for the first time under coach Dave Elliott without any of the players who featured in the club’s second consecutive grand final win last September.
The Devils fell 28-8 but this was a team of rookies and Cup hopefuls showcasing their skills in front of Elliott and his assistant coach Sam Mawhinney against a Wynnum team that had played the Broncos seven days earlier.
Earlier in the day, the Devils had promising wins in the Cyril Connell Challenge Under 16 (24-16) and Mal Meninga Cup Under 18 trials (20-12) ahead of next Saturday’s opening competition matches.
The Harvey Norman girls’ Under 19 team lost 28-0 to Wynnum to complete their preparation ahead of Saturday’s opening clash with Brisbane Tigers.
Devils BMD Premiership coach Zac Wallwork told his players after the match that he was proud of how they had competed with Wynnum Manly despite the lopsided possession count.
The effort was on show through Kate Ferling, who battled on for several minutes with a knee injury that will require a scan tomorrow.
“Kate was brave to stay out there but this is what we’ve seen from the team across the pre-season,” Wallwork said.
“They had to defend for long periods last night but they really fought hard.
“It was good to get out there for the first time as a team and to see what our younger players can do.
“We’ll start to roll out more players next week and then into the final trial in two weeks.”
The Devils will be without five of their top players when they meet Brisbane Tigers next Saturday at Bishop Park – Ali Brigginshaw, Jada Ferguson, Shenae Ciesiolka, Fiona Jahnke and Hannah Larsson will be part of a women’s State of Origin camp.
Those players are likely to feature in the Devils’ final trial match against Souths Logan before the season begins against Burleigh on March 11.
Dave Elliott was also without 16 frontline players when his Devils lined up in the Hostplus Cup trial.
Hooker Kierran Moseley was in New Zealand featuring in the Indigenous All-Stars team while Jack Ahearn and James Johnson were required for Brisbane Broncos’ NRL trial duty.
“We wanted to give our young guys an opportunity to show what they can do because they deserve that after training through the summer,” Elliott said.
“Wynnum started strongly and we had to dig in and they guys showed plenty of effort.
“There was plenty of positives we can take from it and we’ll start to bring more players into the team for the next two trial matches.”
The Devils will head to Dolphin Oval next Sunday afternoon for a trial match against Redcliffe before heading to Sunshine Coast the following weekend to meet the Falcons.