The QRL Media Year in Review series continues with Norths Devils. The Devils looked likely to feature in the 2018 Intrust Super Cup finals series, having spent a majority of the season in the Top 6. However, they saw themselves fall just short overall after losing must-win games in the final rounds of the competition.
With the 2018 Intrust Super Cup season having drawn to a close QRL Media have decided to take a look back through the year for all 14 clubs to see what went right, what went wrong and what the club are likely to focus on going forward into the 2019 season. Keep an eye out on QRL.com.au in coming weeks for the remaining features.
More in the Intrust Super Cup Year in Review series
The Season By-The-Numbers:
Final Position on Ladder: 8th
Regular Season Win %:
- Won: 11
- Draw: 0
- Lost: 12
Home and Away Record:
- Home: 7-4
- Away: 4-8
- Scored: 516
- Conceded: 553
- F/A: -37
Players in Focus:
Standout Player: Gehamat Shibasaki
- Tries: 5
- Try Assists: 3
- Line Breaks: 8
- Average Run M: 149m
- Tackle Breaks: 95
Notable Player Mentions: Todd Murphy, Jack Ahearn and John Palavi
Highlight: Norths Devils (27-24) upset competition leaders Townsville Blackhawks (Round 21)
Notable Player Achievements:
- Gehamat Shibasaki – (NRL debut for the Brisbane Broncos in Round 22) + (Queensland Under 20, Junior Kangaroos & PM’s XIII selection)
- Jack Ahearn – (the club’s Intrust Super Cup Player of the Year)
- John Palavi – (the club’s Intrust Super Cup Player’s Player + Old Boys Player of the Year winner)
- Todd Murphy – (the club’s Outstanding Club Service honouree)
Key Factor: Final 4 Rounds
After 20 Rounds of the competition; Norths Devils were sitting in equal fifth position along with Easts Tigers, Sunshine Coast Falcons and PNG Hunters. In order to make the finals, Norths needed to finish strongly, with matches against Townsville (1st), Wynnum Manly (12th), Mackay (14th), and Ipswich (10th) to close out the regular season. While they won their match against competition leaders Townsville Blackhawks in Round 21, they crucially lost their remaining three matches between Round 22 and Round 24, ultimately costing them a place in the 2018 finals series.
Looking ahead to 2019:
The Devils showed they can compete with even the best of teams on their day, with victories against eventual Top 6 sides: Burleigh Bears, Townsville Blackhawks, Redcliffe Dolphins, Easts Tigers and Ipswich Jets, in 2018.
Norths will be looking to bounce back into finals contention in 2019 and they have a solid foundation of players to so. They will look to build a successful team around players such as captain John Palavi, fullback Jack Ahearn and rising star Gehamat Shibasaki. If Norths can remain competitive in pressure games towards the back end of the season, they will go a long way in 2019.