Norths have completed their pre-season campaigns with no major injuries and the development of new combinations for the Hostplus Cup and BMD Premiership seasons in two weeks.
The Devils’ Hostplus Cup premiers lost their trial match to the Falcons on the Sunshine Coast (30-16) while the women’s BMD Premiership team led at halftime before falling to Souths Logan Magpies (38-10) at Logan Metro Sports Centre.
Both teams will rest next weekend before their seasons begin with home clashes with Burleigh Bears on Saturday March 11.
Devils Hostplus Cup coach Dave Elliott was pleased with elements of his team’s trial against a motivated Falcons, who fell to Norths in the 2022 preliminary final when the teams last met.
The Falcons began with intent and led 18-0 after 30 minutes before the Devils began fighting back.
Jon Reuben, with two tries in his return to the Devils last weekend, scored another two tries last night.
Those tries came inside two minutes of the game clock.
The Devils scored with 25 seconds remaining in the first half with a one-on-one strip on a Falcons’ tap restart that became a burst of passes between Jack Ahearn, Jared Chambers and Reuben.
Eighty seconds into the second half, Reuben scored after prop Sam Lavea grabbed a dropped Falcons ball and sprinted through a gap.
The Falcons scored the next two tries before the Devils crossed again when former Falcons centre Will Toloi grounded a short kick from hooker Kierran Moseley.
The Falcons finished with five tries to the Devils’ three in a match that struggled for momentum amid 18 penalties, not including six-again calls.
“This was another good chance for us to develop combinations and to really get some of our players out there together for the first time this year,” Elliott said.
“It’s another important step towards the season and we’re looking forward to the challenge ahead.”
Ahearn, Moseley and new signing James Johnson played their first matches for the Devils this year while forward Brendan Piakura was the sole Broncos-contracted player to step out for Norths.
At Souths Logan, the Devils jumped to a halftime lead as the BMD Premiership team also benefited from valuable game-time together.
State of Origin squad members Ali Brigginshaw, Shenae Ciesiolka, Jada Ferguson and Fiona Jahnke played for the Devils in a bright start against a strong Magpies squad.
The Devils rested some of their frontline players in the second half and provided game time to the extended squad that has trained through the summer.
“We played with intent early, we played fast and we built some chances,” Devils BMD Premiership coach Zac Wallwork said.
“That’s the last of our three trial matches and we’ve been happy with what we’ve got from them.
“We’re building this team from scratch so it’s been really good to watch these combinations develop over the last few months.
“And we’ve had those three trials in three weeks so now it’s a chance for a weekend off before the season starts. I know that we’re excited for it.”
Photo by Alan Drinnen