Determined Devils ready to hunt Bears for finals chance

The Norths Devils will head south to the Gold Coast in an effort to keep their Hastings Deering Colts season alive when they take on the Burleigh Bears at Pizzey Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Bears lead the Hastings Deering Colts competition for most of the 2019 calendar season, but their shock loss to the Sunshine Coast Falcons in Round 22 meant they lost the opportunity to claim the minor premiership which was snatched by the Blackhawks on points difference.

The Bears took on a high-flying Wynnum Manly Seagulls in week one of the finals, and the game lived up the hype of a 2v3 clash, as both teams looked likely to go the distance before back-to-back tries in the second half for the Seagulls booked them their place in the semi-finals.

The Devils come into the Hastings Deering Colts finals series in fifth place on the competition ladder, and with a strong 40-20 win over Easts Tigers last weekend that booked their place in the second round.

The scores were locked at 14-14 at halftime, before a rampaging Norths forward pack overran the Tigers and did the damage on the scoreboard.

Norths Devils coach Kevin Neighbour said his team would play with no fear on the weekend.

“As far as we are concerned, we don’t have anything to lose now, we have been in elimination situations before and played well so we will keep our heads down and do our best,” Neighbour said.

Both sides will have a shorter six-day turnaround this week after playing games on Sunday afternoon in week one, which coach Kevin Neighbour said will push each side to their absolute limit.

“We were definitely quite battered and bruised at training on Monday,” Neighbour said.

“The rest of the week we will be looking at upping the intensity in training and focusing on the mental aspect of our training too.”

The last time the two sides met they were inseparable, with the teams locked at 14-14 after 70 minutes of Hastings Deering Colts action.

Neighbour said his side were a team in form and would relish the opportunity to play in front of a large home crowd favouring their opposition.

“The kids deserve to experience finals football after the way they have played this season,” Neighbour said.

“They (Burleigh) have a great record at home which is a big credit to them; the challenge is the most exciting part about this series for our young side.

“If we go out there with our best foot forward and use their home crowd as a source of extra motivation, there is no limit to what our group of players can achieve.”

Week two of the finals series kicks off at 2.30pm in Townsville, before the Bears and Devils face off later in the afternoon.