Call it the battle for Brisbane’s north.
Or the Devils versus Goliath.
Either way, Sam Elliott can’t wait for tomorrow night’s Hostplus Cup clash between Norths and Redcliffe at Dolphin Oval.
Elliott has perhaps the most interesting match-up in a game that will pit eight Dolphins NRL-contracted players against a Devils team with none.
Queensland Origin forward Felise Kaufusi is the most prominent of the Dolphins’ players, returning from suspension on a weekend when the Dolphins have an NRL bye. Winger Tesi Niu has also been named.
Elliott, a school teacher at Devils nursery Wavell High, is relishing the opportunity to match up with Kaufusi.
“If you can’t get excited about these opportunities, you’re in the wrong game,” Elliott said.
“It will be a challenge, for sure, but it’s also a great chance to test ourselves against a really strong team.
“I’ve never played against Felise Kaufusi or even met him but everyone has seen what he can do so it’s exciting to come up against him.
“And I’ve watched some of those Origin matches on TV but I’m a Blues supporter so I haven’t been cheering for Queensland.”
Elliott, a Lismore product, has been among the Devils’ best this season, adding to the forward depth following the loss of premiership stalwarts Michael Sio and Leivaha Pulu.
Elliott was with Redcliffe last year, capping a strong season with a grand final appearance against the Devils in an epic decider at Dolphin Oval.
The Devils’ 16-10 victory – capping back-to-back premierships – was the club’s first win at Redcliffe in almost a decade.
Some of Elliott’s teammates from last season will feature for the Dolphins tomorrow night.
“They have named a very strong team and they like to get on a roll through their forward pack,” Elliott said.
“They play well as a team and they’re always hard to beat on their home ground.
“We’re looking forward to it. We’ve been competitive against the best teams this season and we just haven’t iced some of the key moments.”
That happened last weekend when the Devils and heavyweights Burleigh traded blows on the Gold Coast.
The Bears were awarded a controversial try with three minutes remaining that sealed a 28-22 win, only after the Devils made a last-ditch bid to draw the game. That was the sixth match this season that has been decided by six points or less for the premiers.
Coach Dave Elliott continues to develop a new-look team that will head to Redcliffe tomorrow night with only seven players from the 17 who featured in last year’s grand final triumph.
Norths captain Jack Ahearn showed his skill last with two tries in another superb performance for the Devils’ four-time player of the year.
Ahearn plays his 100th match for the Devils tomorrow night against a Redcliffe team that he left in 2017 to join Norths.
The Devils will mark Ahearn’s century in next week’s home clash with Souths Logan which will be his 100th Cup match for Norths. His NRL Championship appearance last season is not included in the overall Cup tally.