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RED ROCK WRAP-UP: Papenhuyzen bound for Bishop Park as Devils prepare to fight back

Melbourne Storm gun Ryan Papenhuyzen is bound for Bishop Park on Saturday in a fresh test for a Norths Devils team whose Hostplus Cup finals hopes have been impacted by a loss to the Western Clydesdales.

The Storm has announced that Papenhuyzen will play for their affiliate club Sunshine Coast Falcons against the Devils in Saturday’s clash on Norths’ annual Old Boys’ Day.

After missing more than 12 months due to injury, Papenhuyzen returned to football last Saturday as he played one half of the Falcons’ win over the Ipswich Jets. His Storm squad member Justin Olam played in the centres.

At the same time, the Devils wasted their biggest points blitz of the year in a 42-34 loss to the Clydesdales in Toowoomba.

The Devils had trailed 32-6 before unleashing five tries in 14 minutes to snatch back the lead 34-32. Norths had not scored as many tries in such a short period this season.

But the Clydesdales had the final say with two tries in the last five minutes to put the Devils on the brink of missing the finals.

The reigning premiers are now four points out of the top eight with two matches to play, leaving them relying on other results along with required wins over the Falcons and PNG Hunters in the final two matches of the season.

“We did the hard work to fight back but our defence didn’t hold out the Clydesdales in the last part of the game,” Devils coach Dave Elliott said.

“That’s a disappointing result because we had been playing well with four wins out of our last five games and were building well towards the end of the season.

“We have to get ready for a Falcons team that will be desperate to play well this weekend.”
The Falcons are also on the fringe of the top eight, sitting in ninth place.

Their win over the Devils on the Coast earlier this season has proven valuable in one of the tightest races for finals berths in years.

The Falcons won that match courtesy of a late try to flying fullback Sualauvi Faalogo, who switched to the wing last weekend to accommodate Papenhuyzen’s return.

The Devils started well last Saturday in Toowoomba with forward Sam Elliott continuing to score tries, this time posting the first points in the sixth minute off a pass from captain Jack Ahearn.

But the Clydesdales then ran in six unanswered tries before the Devils regained momentum.

Winger Jon Reuben (56th and 59th minutes), Moses Noovao-McGreal (62nd), Connor Broadhurst (65th) and Kyle Coghill (70th) crossed in the try-scoring blitz.

Earlier in the day, the Devils’ Hastings Deering Colts team fell to the Clydesdales 62-18. That puts the Devils out of contention for the finals ahead of their last match of the season this weekend against Souths Logan Magpies.

Photo: QRL Photos

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