By Wynnum Manly Seagulls and Norths Devils Media
Norths Devils produced 10 minutes of defensive steel to end a decade-long drought at BMD Kougari Oval with a 24-16 win over Wynnum Manly Seagulls in Round 16. The Round 16 Crazy Sock Round in support of Men of League pitted the minor premiers against second-placed Wynnum Manly and it didn’t disappoint.
The Devils had the first points on the board with an early penalty, however the Seagulls struck with the first try of the day.
Delouise Hoeter showed his strength to offload to Tom Farr, who engaged 3 defenders and managed to offload the ball back to Hoeter before being taken over the sideline. Hoeter showed his quick reflexes with the presence of mind to dive for the corner and plant the ball down in the 12th minute of the game.
Hoeter was impressive on the day, running for 143m (with 3 tacklebreaks and a linebreak) and making 15 tackles, and earning the Barton’s Player of the Match award.
The Devils’ first try came when Moses Noovao-McGreal burst through the Seagulls defence in the 20th minute to score in front of the Chook Pen.
A try to Ben Shea in the closing seconds of the first half allowed the Gulls to extend their lead. The Seagulls forward pounced on a Kalolo Saitaua grubber, to the delight of the home crowd.
The Seagulls took that narrow 10-8 lead into the break, but despite strong field position and possession during the early stages of the second half, were limited to just 6 points in the second half.
Between the 41st minute and the 51st minute, the Devils held the ball for only four tackles. Wynnum Manly capitalised on penalties, repeat sets and errors, but the Devils’ defensive line didn’t crack. A number of missed opportunities and discipline errors allowed the Devils to withstand the pressure and hold their line.
The Devils then rolled downfield, showing excellent handling in the greasy conditions to regather an attacking kick and place a second kick by halfback Bryce Donovan that fell perfectly for winger Rashaun Denny to score.
From the restart, the Devils moved the ball on the second tackle as centre Bernard Gregorius made a break, finding Donovan on his inside for an 80m try that put Norths ahead 20-10.
The Seagulls found a way through when interchange forward Issac Luke crashed over from dummy-half in the 71st minute, but the Devils cashed in penalty goals in the 75th and 80th minutes to seal the win.
A narrow margin means the Seagulls retain a strong for and against on the Intrust Super Cup ladder. The teams immediately below the Seagulls on the table lost, leaving the club in second position ahead of this coming weekend’s last round of the regular season.
The Seagulls will play the Blackhawks in Townsville for the final round of the regular season.