NORTHS Devils have made it back-to-back wins to start the season with a courageous 18-12 win over the Burleigh Bears at Bishop Park yesterday.
Fullback Shaun Carney and winger Jharal Yow Yeh both went off injured early and didn’t return to the action, meaning the Devils were left to fight much of the match with 15 men.
“It was very gutsy,” Norths coach Mark Gliddon said.
“We talked about adversity at halftime and the boys bought into it. They showed a lot of ticker today and I was really proud of them.”
Neither injury is expected to be long term, but they will need to be checked by doctors in the coming days.
Carney was at least able to make an impact before going off with his hamstring injury as he opened the scoring in just the third minute.
Burleigh hit back in the 16th minute when Zac Mackay found space and ran 60m to level the scores.
In the 32nd minute the Bears were on the attack again, but a spilled ball ended up in the hands of Devils halfback Sam Foster who raced down the field and was pulled up metres short of the line.
On the next play, winger Rogan Dean was over and the Devils took a 12-6 lead into the break.
A 46th minute try to five-eighth Todd Murphy and a 56th minute penalty goal saw the Devils lead by 12 with a quarter of the game to go.
Bears halfback Matt Beddow sliced through the defence in the 64th minute and found fullback Henare Wells in support to cut the margin back to just six.
With time running out the Bears pressed the Norths try line, but some missed opportunities and some valiant defence saw the Devils hold on to the win.
“I thought we defended really well,” Gliddon said.
“The most pleasing thing was they had us camped on our own line for a lot of the game and we just kept showing up and showing up and that’s what wins footy games.
“Burleigh are a genuine top five side, there are people tipping them to win the comp, so up against a quality side I’m very happy with what I saw today.”
Gliddon said the Devils have had a terrific start to the season so far and they hope to continue that form when they travel to Tweed next week.
For the Bears it was disappointment after a positive start to the season in round one.
“We just weren’t at the races today, to be honest,” Bears coach Carl Briggs said.
“We came up against a team today that was a lot more enthusiastic than us, they were smarter than us in the right areas of the field and we just weren’t there. I think they wanted it a hell of a lot more than us.”
Briggs said the effort of Louis Fanene, who produced an 80 minute display in the back row for the second straight week, was outstanding.
He also said that Matt Keating, Mark Ioane and Matt Bell were strong.
NORTHS DEVILS 18 (S Carney, R Dean, T Murphy tries; T Murphy 2, S Carney goals) def BURLEIGH BEARS 12 (Z Mackay, H Wells tries K Ahwang 2 goals) at Bishop Park