A team of pure Norths Devils turned over the Hostplus Cup competition leaders with a 40-6 win over Souths Logan Magpies at Bishop Park today.
Jack Ahearn’s 100th Cup game for the Devils turned into an eight-try demolition of the team that headed into the weekend in first place.
Coach Dave Elliott’s Devils turned heads last weekend when a team without an NRL-contracted player defeated Redcliffe, with eight NRL-contracted players including State of Origin enforcer Felise Kaufusi.
The Devils kept the Dolphins scoreless in the second half last week and their defence was tight today, allowing only one try against a Magpies team with four players from the Brisbane Broncos.
This was a team of pure Devils – the Brisbane Broncos pulled their two allocated players from Norths for the rest of the season in response to the club’s decision to sign a partnership with the NRL Dolphins from next season.
These pure Devils showed their unity when they repelled wave after wave of Magpies attack in front of a strong home crowd for family day.
The Magpies, coached by Karmichael Hunt, included NRL veteran Issac Luke, 36, returning to first-grade football.
Devils winger Jon Reuben grabbed three tries, moving him into outright third in the Hostplus Cup’s greatest tryscorers. Reuben now has 121 career tries from 120 matches, leaving him behind only Nathanael Barnes (135) and Daniel Ogden (155).
Devils junior Manase Kaho, in just his third Cup match, scored two tries as Norths turned a 28-0 halftime lead into a treasured win.
Five-eighth Kyle Coghill almost ran the length of the field in the 19th minute when he fielded a Magpies short kick like a cricket slips fieldsman and outsprinted the visitors.
Devils junior Zach Brooks scored his first Cup try in the 36th minute before the proven combination of Ahearn and Reuben split the Magpies for a try as the halftime siren sounded.
The Devils fans loved the tries but they saved one of the biggest roars for forward Justin Makirere’s bone-rattling tackle that was among the best seen at Bishop Park in years.
“We have been building towards improved performances and we wanted to play that way today,” Elliott said.
“Souths Logan are a very good team this year and they’re very well-coached so we knew this was going to be a tough game. We drew with them earlier in the year and we respect them a lot.
“We’ve got to look towards next Sunday now (when the Devils host Tweed) because there is still a long way to go for us this season.”
The Devils savoured their final try in the 66th minute – Tau’a’alo Vaipulu scored his first Cup try when the Norths’ middle combined with Jayden Stephens jumping from dummy-half and passing to his teammate.
The Devils were well served across the field. Donovan and Coghill challenged the Magpies while the backline defence of centres Tony Tumusa and Connor Broadhurst held steady.
Liam Horne and Kierran Moseley again caused problems in the middle while the starting backrowers of Sam Elliott, Chris Sio and Moses Noovao-McGreal ran with intent.
Earlier in the day, the Devils’ Colts were defeated by a late Magpies try in a 32-28 scoreline. The Devils had led 28-10, with Declan Haydon and Will Curran scoring two tries each, but were unable to hold out the fast-finishing Magpies.
HOSTPLUS CUP: NORTHS DEVILS 40 (Jonathon Reuben 3, Manase Kaho 2, Kyle Coghill, Zach Brooks, Tau’a’alo Vaipulu tries, Bryce Donovan 4 goals) d SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 6 (Jordan Pereira try, Jack Campagnolo goal) at Bishop Park.
HASTINGS DEERING COLTS: SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES 32 (Jaxen Yow 2, Zane Lothian, Byron Johnson, Che Potaka, Levi Kereopa tries, Cody Hamilton 4 goals) d NORTHS DEVILS 28 (Declan Haydon 2, William Curran 2, Jai Camilleri tries, Reece Briers 2 goals, Blayden Dodd 2 goals) at Bishop Park.
Photo by Alan Drinnen