Young gun Riki debuts as Devils beat Bears

Norths Devils toppled competition leaders Burleigh for the second time this season, weathering a late Bears rush to win 28-24 at Pizzey Park.

A period midway through the first half proved decisive for the Devils as they endured three consecutive Burleigh sets on their own line.

When the Devils regained the ball, they moved downfield quickly, ending with Zach Strasser's first try for Norths.

That enterprise was typical of the style implemented by new Norths coach Rohan Smith. The Devils kicked clear when 37-year-old winger Namila Davui crossed in the 55th and 61st minutes.

But that 26-6 lead collapsed when Burleigh raced in tries to fullback Kurtis Rowe in the 65th and 67th minutes, before a 74th minute try to replacement Kai O'Donnell set up a thrilling finish.

The Devils held firm, relaxing when an 80th minute penalty near the posts enabled interchange hooker Jack Miers to slot a penalty goal.

The loss was Burleigh's fifth for the season and two of those have come against the Devils.

"We had to defend a lot tonight when they had some repeat sets of six but we showed some toughness on our own line," Smith said.

"That's an important win for our season."

Both teams entered the game without key injured players – the Devils' have only three players who have been in all games this season after forward Oshae Tuiasau was a late withdrawal.

That opened the door for young forward Jordan Riki (pictured) to become Devil No.1276 – and Norths' 36th player for this season – and he showed promise as the game became desperate in the final minutes.

Towering Riki, on a Brisbane Broncos contract, turned 18 in January and was a standout of the Mal Meninga Cup competition.

Guy Williams and Brandon Lee were important for the Devils tonight while skipper John Palavi and prop Jamayne Taunoa Brown soaked up key defensive work. Troy Dargan has led the backline well while his Broncos teammate Todd Murphy recovers from a hamstring injury.

The Devils have been well served by players who have been in and out of the team this year because of injury.

Chevi Ellis was strong in his first game back after niggling injury problems. He scored the Devils' first try in the 10th minute and laid on a brilliant kick for Davui's first try.

Next Saturday Burleigh faces rival Redcliffe at Dolphin Stadium in the 1.10pm televised game on Channel Nine, while Norths host the CQ Capras at Bishop Park at 5pm Saturday.

Full scoring details and finalised team lists are available at QRL Live.

NORTH DEVILS 28 (Namila Davui 2, Chevi Ellis, Zach Strasser, Guy Williams tries; Luke Pollock 3, Jack Miers goal) def BURLEIGH BEARS 24 (Kurtis Rowe 2, Dylan Phythian, Kai O'Donnell tries; Josh Davis 3, Tyronne Roberts-Davis goal) at Pizzey Park.