Norths Devils and Easts Tigers fought out a tough and tight Mother’s Day encounter at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park yesterday with the visitors getting the win 36-32 in a result that was anyone’s right to the last minute.
While they did not lead from pillar to post; they did score the first and last tries and were deserving winners on the day.
Forward Matui Love-Henry opened the scoring in the 13th minute when he ran an inside line and collected a well-timed pass from five-eighth Danny Kerr to crash over the line between two Tigers defenders. Halfback Jack Miers, who had a perfect day with the boot, landed the first of his six conversions to get the Devils off to the ideal start.
They followed up with tries to Dalton Phillips in the 30th minute and Miers (39th minute).
However, in a tight half, the Tigers got on the board with tries to Adam Crear in the 15th minute, while the ever-dangerous Jake Foster went over in the 33rd minute.
Young Tonumaipe’a scored two spectacular tries a 10-minute period, with the outside back showing all of his ability as he pushes for another chance in the top grade with the Storm.
Residents halfback Billy Walters converted two of the Tigers four first half tries and they held a narrow 20-18 at the break.
While it was an entertaining half, both teams were guilty of making mistakes and allowing the other team opportunities to score.
Both coaches essentially gave their teams the same half time message – make fewer mistakes and improve our defence – and, it was the Devils who responded best to the message.
Their improved performance in the second half saw them cross the stripe three times with tries to David Faamita (52nd minute), Kerr (66th minute) and Billy Brittain in the 70th minute.
The Tigers worked hard in the second half, with Walters and Tommy Butterfield always looking dangerous. Brodie Croft scored the first points of the second half when he strolled over and Butterfield got his try in the 56th minute, however it was not to be enough for the home side.
The halves pairing of Kerr and Miers led the show for the Devils and they guided their team to the win. Big James Taylor was the standout player in the Devils forward pack; looking dangerous with ball in hand and an immovable object in defence.
With the game in the balance, the Tigers attacked right to the end and could have scored with only seconds on the clock when Shane Neumann broke through the defence and found open space.
However, the Devils defence shut him down and ensured he could not get a clear pass to a support runner to ensure themselves of the win.
NORTHS DEVILS 36 (Matiu Love-Henry, Dalton Phillips, Jack Miers, David Faamita, Danny Kerr, Billy Brittain tries; Jack Miers 6 goals) def EASTS TIGERS 32 (Young Tonumaipe’a 2, Adam Crear, Jake Foster, Brodie Croft, Tommy Butterfield tries; Billy Walters 4 goals) at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park.