Category: News

Dargan ready for finals return

Troy Dargan says it’s been an “honour” to wear the Norths jersey for two years as he prepares for his most important match with the Devils when the Intrust Super Cup finals begin tomorrow.

The Devils will host Easts Tigers in an elimination final at Bishop Park, where Dargan and his teammates enjoyed a special moment last month.

After the Devils’ toppled the Central Queensland Capras in their final home match of the regular season, they walked on to the hill to sing the team song with hundreds of former Norths players gathered for the annual Old Boys’ Day.

That moment reinforced to Dargan the pride in a Devils jersey that he will hand over at the end of the season after signing a two-year deal to join South Sydney’s NRL squad.

“I came to Brisbane from New South Wales so I didn’t have too much knowledge of the Norths Devils or the Queensland Cup but (coach Rohan Smith) and the coaching staff have driven a lot of the culture in the club,” Dargan said.

“It was awesome after that Capras game to mix and mingle with the Old Boys because you can tell what this club means to them. It’s been an honour to put on the Norths jersey.”
Dargan will play his 41st match for Norths tomorrow, fewer than Cooper Cronk when he was learning his trade at Bishop Park in the early 2000s.

Dargan has been in strong form and will tomorrow reunite in the halves with his Broncos colleague Sean O’Sullivan, who has featured in the last two NRL rounds.

Dargan and O’Sullivan have been part of the Devils’ 15-8 win-loss record in the regular season, cementing fifth place and leaving them in line to host the eighth-placed Tigers.

The Devils’ four-game winning streak through August was broken by a loss to Wynnum Manly at Kougari Oval last Sunday.

“We were disappointed with last weekend but sometimes losses can teach you a lot,” Dargan said.

“We had set ourselves up well for the finals with those four wins but this game against Easts is going to be very tough. Just look at their squad – there are some quality players there and we know that they are always difficult.”

Tomorrow marks Dargan’s return to finals football for the first time since he featured for Parramatta in the NRL’s former Under 20 competition.

The Eels qualified for the grand final in Dargan’s year although a broken arm in the finals series prevented him from playing in the decider.

“You play footy so that you can play in the finals and I have a lot of good memories from that time with Parramatta,” Dargan said.

“At Norths, a lot of new players came together last year and we’ve made it through to finals now in the second year and we can’t wait for it.

“We play so that we can play in finals so we’ll be giving it everything we have.”

Devils ready for finals charge

Norths coach Rohan Smith says the Devils are looking forward to playing a team above it on the ladder when their Intrust Super Cup regular season ends against Wynnum Manly at Kougari Oval this afternoon.

The Devils can’t change their position on the ladder today – they will finish fifth regardless of the outcome of the round 23 clash.

But the Seagulls need to win to finish second and secure a semi-final next weekend otherwise they will head to Burleigh to take on the Bears.

The Devils will go into the match on a four-game winning streak against Ipswich, Northern Pride, Mackay and Central Queensland Capras.

“There are no easy wins in this competition but we haven’t played a team above us on the ladder since Round 18 (six weeks ago),” Smith said.

“So this is a very good opportunity for us to prepare for the finals. Wynnum are always a difficult team to beat and their crowd is passionate and wants their team to win. It’s a very good chance for us.”

The Devils have a 15-7 win-loss record this season including victories over top-four teams Burleigh and Townsville. Wynnum Manly outlasted the Devils in a spirited Round 11 clash at Bishop Park when the Seagulls featured South Sydney centre James Roberts.

The Devils will go into the match without backrower Brendan Frei who hopes to recover from a hamstring strain in time for next weekend’s knockout final against Easts.

The Bishop Park match will mark the Devils’ first finals match since 2012.

The Devils’ Hastings Deering Colts team faces a similar opportunity today when they take on Wynnum Manly.

The Devils are locked into sixth place today regardless of the outcome of the clash with third-placed Wynnum Manly.

The Devils will look to build combinations as they head into their knockout final with Easts at Bishop Park next Sunday.

Devils beat Capras on Old Boys’ Day

Paul Ulberg has made more than 300 runs for Norths this year but none more important than the 56th minute burst tonight that propelled the Devils to a tight 26-20 Intrust Super Cup win over the Central Queensland Capras tonight.

Ulberg sliced through when the Devils needed it most after the Capras stunned them with a 16-14 lead late on Old Boys’ Day at Bishop Park.

Ulberg has the second-most runs in the competition this year and his midfield charge led to a try by Michael Sio that pushed the Devils to a winning lead, ensuring they would at least host a home final in two weeks.

The Devils now have a 15-7 win-loss record and have sealed fifth place, with fading hopes of gaining a top-four spot.

Earlier, the Devils sealed a finals spot in the Hastings Deering Colts with a 44-14 win over the Capras before a boisterous crowd.

The Old Boys’ Day celebrated the 1959 and 1969 premiership wins that bookended the most dominant era in Brisbane’s rugby league history. The Devils won eight of the 11 premierships, starting with the team that Clive Churchill led as captain-coach.

It’s been seven years since the Devils have been to the finals but they have surged back into the post-season with comprehensive away wins over the Northern Pride and Mackay Cutters in the last two weeks.

They were at shorts odds to topple the Capras – the Devils had won the last 14 matches between the teams – but sport doesn’t work out as planned.

The Devils made too many mistakes in the first half against a resilient Capras team but still led 14-6 at halftime.

The Capras ambushed them in the opening minutes of the second half, scoring two tries including an excellent 70-metre effort by Gabe Hamson that stunned the crowd and left the visitors ahead 16-14.

But Ulberg’s burst provided the catalyst for the Devils to reclaim the lead with Sio’s try followed by an excellent right-side move from halfback Troy Dargan to Riley Leota and a charging Jordan Riki who crashed over for the winning try.

The Devils finished the night on the hill with the Old Boys, joining them in the club song.

The celebration was welcomed by some of the oldest Devils as much as the close result will help to focus the current team for the next games.

The Devils head to Kougari Oval next Sunday to close the regular season before their first taste of finals since 2012.
Five-eighth Kobe Hetherington was solid in his Intrust Super Cup debut, replacing Sean O’Sullivan who featured for the Broncos in their clash with South Sydney last night.

NORTHS DEVILS 26 (Calum Gahan, Ethan Bullemor, Michael Sio, Jordan Riki tries, Connor Broadhurst five goals) d CQ CAPRAS 20 (Nathan Bassani, Jack Madden, Gabe Hamson, BJ Aufaga-Toomaga tries, Aufaga-Toomaga 2 goals) at Bishop Park.



Son of a gun ready for Devils debut

Kobe Hetherington’s rugby league journey reaches a milestone tomorrow night, following in the footsteps of a father who was “as tough as a two-dollar steak”.

Jason Hetherington started his career in the halves before going on to play hooker in an NRL grand final win and later for Queensland and Australia.

Kobe was too young to remember much of his father’s career but he’s seen enough video footage of the hard nut from the Banana shire who became a league topliner.

“I don’t remember much about him playing but I’ve seen him play. He was tough. As tough as a two-dollar steak,” Kobe said with a wit almost as dry as his father’s renowned sense of humour.

Kobe makes his Intrust Super Cup debut for Norths Devils tomorrow night when they host the Central Queensland Capras at Bishop Park.

He’ll start in the halves and he’ll run out with centre Connor Broadhurst – another player from Baralaba.

Hetherington played his first game for the Baralaba Panthers before he and twin brother Zac began their paths to senior football, earning recognition as part of The Cathedral College’s Confraternity Carnival team.

Zac made his NSW Cup debut this year for the Canterbury Bulldogs – father Jason’s premiership club.

Kobe has made his path to senior footy through the Devils’ Under 20 system, leading the club to a memorable premiership win last September as starting hooker.

He opened this year in Colts and played for the Queensland Under 20s before being moved into the senior ranks with Valleys in the Brisbane Rugby League competition ahead of tomorrow’s Cup debut.

Norths coach Rohan Smith said Hetherington’s form and persistence had secured his place as Devil No.1290 in front of a crowd that will be stacked with former Devils on the club’s Old Boys Day.

Hetherington was told of his selection at training on Monday night, a few hours after he knocked off another shift as a third-year carpentry apprentice.

“I’ve really enjoyed being at Norths – the Colts premiership last year is a really good memory,” Hetherington said.

“I started the year in Colts but moved into the BRL which has been a great experience and has got me well prepared to play Cup.

“Making the Cup team has been one of my goals since the start of the year so I’m looking forward to it.”

Jason and his wife Kym will be in Brisbane this weekend but only one of them will be at Bishop Park.

Kym which watch Kobe play while Jason sneaks across to Ipswich to join in the Jets’ Old Boys Day.

“Dad has some great footy memories so he’ll be out at the Jets but I know he’ll be keen to hear how things go for Norths. I gave him a call on Monday night (after learning of his Cup selection).”

New Devil Kobe ready for Old Boys’ Day

Norths will welcome a new name to their famous list of first-grade players on Saturday night as hundreds of former Devils gather at Bishop Park.

Kobe Hetherington will become Devil No. 1290 when he makes his Intrust Super Cup debut at five-eighth in the clash with Central Queensland Capras.

He will be watched on by many who went before him as the annual Norths’ Old Boys function is held to coincide with the Devils’ last home game before the finals.

Hetherington, the son of former Queensland State of Origin hooker Jason, has made his way through the Devils’ Under 20 system and into a team that is making steady progress towards the club’s first finals appearance since 2012.

He will move into a halves role vacated by Sean O’Sullivan, who has been recalled to the Broncos’ NRL team after strong appearances for the Devils in their comfortable away wins over Northern Pride and Mackay Cutters in the last two weeks.

Hetherington will feature in the halves with the experienced Troy Dargan, whose strong form for the Devils has been rewarded with a two-year deal with South Sydney from 2020.

Dargan was among the Devils who stoked a combined 94 points in the last two matches. But the defence has also been building towards the finals with seven tries conceded across the last three games.

Four of those tries came in the final 10 minutes of those matches, providing the Devils with room to improve as the finals loom.

“There’s a lot of pride for our players in how we defend and we’ve done that well in our last few games,” coach Rohan Smith said.

“We’re looking forward to playing at home this week, particularly with so many former players who will be at the game and who have worn the jersey across many years.

“Our players know it’s their time in the jersey now and the next generation will come along after them. We’re all part of a long journey at this club that goes back many years.”

Hetherington will become the 13th new Devil in 2019 and the 35th new player since Smith was appointed for the 2018 season, rebuilding a club that has missed the last six finals series.