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Magpies host Devils in cross-town rivalry match

Round 2 of the Hastings Deering Colts will pit Norths Devils and Souths Logan Magpies against each other in a match that is set to replicate the passion of this weekend's Intrust Super Cup XXXX Rivalry Round match.

This is a rivalry that runs deep between the two clubs and Magpies coach Lincoln McLeod recalls being a spectator at the BRL 1980 grand final which the Magpies were expected to win, but came up short against a Norths side given no chance, so he is well aware of the rivalry between the two clubs.

“Whether that translates to this generation, I’m not sure... but I know Souths and Norths have a long history and I know (Norths) are a very good team,” McLeod said.

“They had a good, tough game against the Blackhawks, so they’ll be up for it, but I equally know that we will prepare well and be ready to go again.”

Devils coach Rhett Tronc has history with both clubs, but said there was no doubt who he wanted to see victorious on the weekend and spoil the party for the Magpies.

“I think it’s another game for the players, but I am an ex-player and assistant coach at Souths and its Old Boys’ day for them, so it will be nice for our (Devils) boys to get the win,” Tronc said.

After spending a number of hours in traffic on the M1 last weekend in the lead-up to their game against Tweed Seagulls, McLeod said he hoped his side's preparation heading into the game this week would improve, and his team would be able to apply their game plan for the full 80 minutes.

McLeod also said he predicted another high scoring affair, with the key to the game being in strong defence.

“I think just with the [Under] 21s, the younger age, the application towards their defensive structure and defensive principles this early in the competition is still being developed, so there will be tries getting scored,” McLeod said.

“Our game and the Norths game were the closest and lowest scoring, so I think that defence will be strong from both teams.

“I know the way Norths traditionally play and they are always a good defensive team and I don’t envisage anything different this weekend."

Connor McLeod in action for Souths Logan Magpies in the pre-season. Photo: Cameron Stallard / QRL
Connor McLeod in action for Souths Logan Magpies in the pre-season. Photo: Cameron Stallard / QRL

Looking to bounce back from their slow start last weekend, Tronc called for his team to be more enthusiastic and stick to both their attacking and defensive strategies.

“The points that the Blackhawks scored were from our own errors and poor decisions, [the positive is] I don’t think there was anything we couldn’t handle,” Tronc said.

Tronc said he knew the Souths side would be strong, but if they could contain some of the stars for the opposition, his side would be well in the hunt.

“They’ve got a strong forward pack and a half who’s with the Broncos (Josh James) and experienced for that age group, but if we can execute to our potential, we should go really well," Tronc said.

McLeod said he would be looking for all his players to go up another gear after last week’s win and hoped fullback Byron Johnson and backrowers Billy Mozer and Ricardo Evenis would lead the charge.

Tronc was proud of his players and said he was excited to see what Xavier Willison and Declan Haydon could do this weekend for his side.

“Xavier Willison was excellent in the trials and he’s spent a lot of time with the Broncos, so he’s going really well,” McLeod said.

“Our fullback Declan Haydon has shown some excellent progression in the pre-season and in the trials, so I’m excited what he can do in the next few rounds.”

This weekend's other matches will provide plenty of excitement too.