For the second week running, the Norths Devils withstood a spirited second-half comeback – this time from the Northern Pride – to hold on and secure a victory.
The scene was set for a great day of football with a strong family atmosphere enjoyed by the crowd at Bishop Park who had settled in earlier in the day to watch the lower grade games in the lead-up to the 6pm clash.
With the support of a parochial crowd behind them (one who ‘welcomed’ the Pride to the field with some heckling) – the Devils started the game well with some hard hitting defence a characteristic of the early exchanges.
The Pride however didn’t let that dampen their enthusiasm and they were the first team on the board in the opening minutes to fullback Linc Port.
Despite the set-back, the home side continued to mount some good pressure early with two perfect grubbers giving them back-to-back line drop outs – only for it to do to waste with sloppy hands handing the Pride back the ball.
However, the Pride were not able to make them pay – and instead conceded three tries with Devils forward Brett Greinke and backs Michael Lucas and Maeli Seve going over in quick succession to set up an imposing lead 20-6 half time lead.
The attempt at a second-half comeback from the Pride started in earnest with Khan Ahwang over in the 43rd minute after a 40/20 kick set up their successful play.
Big forward Vaipuna Tia-Kilifi crashed over five minutes later following a scrum feed to get the visitors within four points, to make for an exciting atmosphere around the ground.
However, a Pride error gifted the Devils some good field position and David Faamita was able to capitalise to give his side what would be a match-winning 26-16 lead.
With plenty of time still left on the clock – flying winger Luke George was put over for a try in the corner to put the Pride within a converted try of their rivals.
However, despite some desperate play – the Devils defence was resolute and Todd Murphy also slotted a penalty goal with three minutes remaining to confirm their victory and see coach Mark Gliddon celebrate his 50th game in charge of the side in style.
NORTHS DEVILS 28 (Trae Clark, Brett Greinke, Michael Lucas, Maeli Seve, David Faamita tries; Todd Murphy 4 goals) def NORTHERN PRIDE 20 (Linc Port, Khan Ahwang, Vaipuna Tia-Kilifi, Luke George tries; Khan Ahwang 2 goals) at Bishop Park.
Read the Round 3 match reports: