The longest pre-season in Norths Devils’ 90 years ends tomorrow when the Colts team begins their competition with a clash with the Cutters in Mackay.
The Under 21 squad have been in training since November – a marathon pre-season prompted by the decision to delay the competition until after the Under 18 season.
New coach Shayne Boyd has managed his squad through the extra-long preparation which included their first trial match two months ago.
Boyd, stepping up from last season’s Under 18 coaching role, has brought together a squad drawn from near and far.
Forward Harry Walters, the son of Broncos coach Kevin, will captain the Colts this season.
Reece Briers, the son of Broncos assistant coach and former Great Britain and Warrington Walves halfback Lee, will start in the No.7 jersey.
Briers will be joined in the backline by Shay Martyn, son of St Helen’s great Tommy Martyn. Shay has already played Super League for St Helen’s.
The father-son streak is familiar to coach Boyd, a former Penrith and Balmain halfback who is the father of Gold Coast Titans halfback Tanah Boyd.
The Devils’ squad includes forward Darcy Turner, who played Under 18s for the Devils before heading back to his native North Queensland for a stint with the Cowboys development squad.
Centre Blayden Dodd has been 18th man for the Devils’ Hostplus Cup team on multiple occasions this year while fullback Declan Haydon returns after his impressive Colts season in 2022.
Promising lock Lauloto Salei, who is still a student at Wavell State High School, also features in the squad after playing well for the Devils Under 18 team this season.
Boyd has been getting to know some of the players after losing members of his 2022 Under 18 team – including highly-rated back Karl Oloapu – to NRL contracts in Sydney.
“This is definitely a new-look team with players coming from a few different directions this season,” Boyd said.
“But they have formed a good group and they have handled themselves well during the long pre-season.
“We want to be really consistent with our ball control and we want to build pressure and let the points flow from that.
“This game in Mackay will be a good test to start for us and we look forward to the chance to travel together.”
The Devils season starts at the early time of 10.55am tomorrow.
The team will open its home matches against the Northern Pride on Saturday week at Bishop Park.