Devils demolish Sharks at home
THE whole of Albert Park heard the Gympie Devils rugby league side celebrating in the dressing rooms after putting the sword to the Caloundra Sharks at the weekend.
Winning in convincing fashion 32-6, the Devils have replaced Caloundra, defending premiers, at the top of the Caloundra RSL Cup and left the visitors’ unbeaten record this season in tatters.
The timing of the victory was perfect, with the blockbuster match capping off a bumper day of league at Albert Park in conjunction with Gympie Cooloola Rugby League’s centenary celebrations.
A record-breaking crowd for a Devils’ home match lined the Albert Park field and Gympie players ensured plenty of cheer was injected into celebrations.
Coach John Greensill was elated with the result, particularly after his side lost traction against languishing Caboolture last weekend, collapsing 22-18 after leading 18-0.
“Last week’s loss felt like it was coming for two or three weeks,” he said to media after the game.
“The boys seemed to be getting a bit relaxed and thinking winning games was easy.
“I think a few of our guys were looking at this game against Caloundra three weeks ago instead of worrying about the games beforehand.”
The Devils’ coach said the result didn’t reflect the intensity of the game.
“Despite the scoreboard, the boys said afterward it was definitely the hardest game they’ve played all year,” he said.
The Devils had the crowd in the stands firing up early, by racing to a 16-0 lead. This lead then blew out to 22-6 at half time.
After the break, the Devils ran back out and tightened the screws on Caloundra by scoring almost immediately. At this point, any chance of a contest was knocked on the head.
The Devils were bolstered by the return of key players, such as forwards Darren Burns and Kurt Fleming in addition to energetic playmaker Nick Swan.
Caloundra didn’t have the answers to the Devils’ assault on home turf as numerous attempts to change the flow of the match resulted only in dead-ends.
The home town crowd also was a huge factor in the Devils’ demolition of the visitors, encouraging the Gympie boys to lift their game to an entirely new level.
Winning the top-of-the-table clash has the Devils (14 +116) sitting outright first in the competition standings over Caloundra (14 +107).
Taking control of the competition represents a major shift for the Gympie Devils, making the long-awaited transition from cellar dwellers to real premiership contenders.
The entire Caloundra RSL Cup competition has been put on notice and no longer are the Devils considered a soft win.
And with centenary celebrations in full swing at the weekend, the breakthrough couldn’t have come at a more fitting time.