Devils find top form
THE Gympie Devils rugby league team’s convincing win over Kawana on the weekend will send a shudder through all Sunshine Coast teams according to coach John Greensil.
The Sunshine Coast Gympie rugby league season kicks off in just one month and the Devils’ 16-1 trial match win over heavyweights the Dolphins has Greensil full of confidence.
“We went up another gear from the last match we played and we’re probably now in a position, going into the season, where I think we have put a few shivers through the camp of the Sunshine Coast teams,” Greensil said.
“With the way we played on the weekend, we would have to be one of the teams to beat this season.
“Without being too confident, we are going really well. We haven’t had as good a pre-season for years.
“Because we have brought in quite a few players, there are a lot of guys putting in the effort to get their spot in the team.
“There is real competition for spots and what that means is you have a strong reserves bench.
“Having that sort of depth is the difference between being a very good A-grade team and just being an A-grade team.”
Greensil said the most pleasing aspect of the weekend’s match was his team’s defence.
The Devils conceded only one point from a field goal at the end of the first period.
“The match was played down at White’s Gully in three 20-minute thirds,” Greensil said.
“We scored a try in each of the thirds and only let in one field goal, which was very pleasing.
“Our defence was excellent – it was the best defensive effort I have seen from the boys in a long time.
“We have adopted a new defensive pattern this year – we are using a slide defence where you try and force them to run around you and throw cut out passes.
“We have quite a bit of speed out wide so it is hard for teams to get around us.
“It is also about commitment – the guys were very physical.
“Kawana is going to be well and truly up there this season, so that performance on the weekend was excellent.”
The weekend’s match was also a great opportunity for Greensil to try players in a few different positions, especially star recruit Barry Berrigan.
Berrigan, a former NRL player, was used at hooker and five-eighth and Greensil thinks he has nailed down where Berrigan will be used this season.
“We are getting nearly settled on positions for the season,” Greensil said.
“When we first got Barry to play for us we were always going to use him at five-eighth, but I started to have second thoughts.
“I started him at hooker this time, but in the second section I moved him to five-eighth and Ben Harney to hooker.
“Because Barry is so confident, he is able to organise the boys very well from number six, so at this stage that is where we will use him.”
Greensil gave special praise to his hard-working big men, Riley McDowell, Kurt Fleming and Brad English, who he said had impressed in all trial matches.
The Devils under-18 team had a strong win while the reserve grade team went down.
The Devils now have two weeks to prepare for a nines tournament in Maroochydore, which will be the team’s last chance to push for selection in the opening round of competition.