Two things have eluded Jack Ahearn and Connor Broadhurst in their stellar careers with Norths Devils – a win at the Sunshine Coast and a win over the Brisbane Tigers at Bishop Park.
In fact, no Devils team has defeated the Tigers at home since 2011 in one of the strangest trends in Hostplus Cup history. The Tigers haven’t won a home match against Norths in the same period.
Ahearn and Broadhurst have done pretty much everything else with Norths – two premierships, an unbroken streak of six successive finals wins and victories at every ground in the competition except one.
The Devils promised to end the Sunshine Coast hoodoo last week when Ahearn, playing his 150th career match, soared in the Falcons’ in-goal to bring down Jock Madden’s kick. That gave Norths the lead in the 58th minute.
Earlier, Broadhurst had scored in his 75th match for the Devils for a 16-4 lead against the top-four Falcons.
But a try to Falcons fullback Sualauvi Faalogo in the 68th minute pushed the Falcons back to a match-winning 28-24 lead and into equal third place on the ladder.
The Devils have a chance to hit back on Sunday when the Tigers return to Bishop Park.
The teams have had memorable clashes in recent seasons including the 2021 season opener when Reece Walsh scored two tries and kicked six goals for the Devils.
They meet on Sunday with new coaches and new players among their squads since they last played each other.
The Tigers will enter Bishop Park with five wins and one draw from their eight matches and the presence of popular former Devils backrower Leivaha Pulu.
“The Tigers are always a difficult team to play and we know that they have only improved with the likes of Vaha there,” Ahearn said.
“They’ve had a strong start to the season so this will be a challenge.”
When the Devils last played at Bishop Park, they celebrated one of their biggest wins in recent history with a 48-0 victory over Northern Pride.
Meanwhile, the Devils Colts’ will host the Tigers on Sunday with both teams in winning form.
The Tigers are unbeaten after three rounds while the Devils have won two consecutive matches including a gritty 34-30 result against the Falcons on the Sunshine Coast last Sunday.
Photo by Alan Drinnen