Hearts were in mouths as the Norths Devils and Souths Logan Magpies staged an early battle for top spot on the ladder in Round 3 of the Intrust Super Cup.
The aptly named XXXX Rivalry Round was treated to a see-sawing battle at Davies Park, with the lead changing four times and both teams deadlocked twice before Norths emerged 26-24 victors.
In the end the tight scoreline meant Burleigh snuck past both teams to the head of the table, with Norths narrowly behind on points difference, and Souths Logan dropping to fourth.
The visiting Devils arrived at a soggy Davies Park without a win in their last eight encounters against the Magpies.
Rohan Smith’s men also managed to be in front for just 14 minutes of the entire contest.
Yet those numbers counted for nothing as they finished first past the post when referee Tyson Brough blew the final whistle.
It was a great contest which would have pleased Broncos coach Wayne Bennett who was on hand to watch teams featuring players from his squad, including some of the big bodies in the forward packs.
One of those players was young centre Gehamat Shibasaki, who became Devil No. 1268 with a strong debut.
Signed from the Sunshine Coast Falcons during the off-season, another player who impressed was winger Samuel Wright who provided the decisive try 10 minutes from fulltime when he dotted down.
Wright’s game-clincher came just three minutes after an earlier try by team-mate Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, reversing an earlier 24-16 advantage in favour of Souths Logan.
With Todd Murphy missing the final kick on goal, the two sides then slugged out the dying minutes of the game as Norths held on to its slender lead.
The first half was a similar arm wrestle, with Souths Logan scoring first via lock Patrick Mago and Norths responding with two tries to blockbusting 111kg centre Chevi Ellis.
Ellis, a former National Youth Competition player with the Canberra Raiders, grabbed his second try with two minutes left in the first half, giving Norths a 12-6 edge.
However, that margin remained for just four minutes, with Sam Scarlett responding in kind for the Magpies with his own double, crossing in the 42nd and 45th minutes.
Norths’ victory means it is just one of two teams in the competition with a perfect record after three rounds.
The top five is: Burleigh (3 wins, +45 points difference), Norths (3 wins, +34), Pride (2 wins, +20), Souths Logan (2 wins, + 17), Sunshine Coast (2 wins, +3).
Norths hosts Wynnum Manly at 4pm next Sunday, while Souths Logan travels to Burleigh at 4pm Saturday.
After the game, Norths coach Rohan Smith congratulated his players for their toughness, noting the Devils’ spine was continuing to develop its attacking combination.
“That was a good, hard game of football. Both teams were physical and it was tough early with the slippery conditions,” Smith said.
“It was good to come from behind twice in that game. We looked really calm even when we scored the try to go ahead.
“Physically, all of our players turned up to compete today. That helped us in the end.”
For full scoring details and team lists visit QRL Live.
NORTHS 26 (Chevi Ellis 2, Paul Ulberg, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Samuel Wright tries; Todd Murphy 3 goals) def SOUTHS LOGAN 24 (Sam Scarlett 2, Patrick Mago, Brendon Gibb tries; Guy Hamilton 4 goals) at Davies Park.