Devils win major semi
CLUB history is beckoning for the Gympie Devils after the side took another giant stride towards a Caloundra RSL Cup grand final appearance.
The Devils survived a cliff-hanger against the Nambour Crushers at home Sunday, winning the major semi-final 29-28 by the barest of margins.
Securing the win means the Devils will now play minor premiers, the Caloundra Sharks, at Shark Park this Sunday afternoon for a chance to secure a grand final berth.
Gympie managed to overcome Nambour thanks to a match-winning field goal from half-back Nick Swan 10 minutes out from full-time.
Scraping home, Devils coach John Greensill was pleased to bank the winning result but had reservations about his side’s form.
“The commitment just wasn’t there at the start,” he said.
“We’d had a few big games in the last few weeks and the boys didn’t seem to be switched on today.”
The coach said the mood after the great escape against Nambour proved the Gympie boys were not pleased with their own efforts.
“They were in a pretty dour mood after the game because I don’t think we could’ve played much worse.”
Nambour established an early 8-0 lead to rattle the home team before the Devils hit back to even the sores at 16-all heading to the half-time break.
Helping the Devils break free of the deadlock was a flashy double from Fijian import Ratu Viravu to have Gympie ahead 28-22.
Swan’s field goal was vital at this stage, putting the Devils more than a try ahead.
The field goal’s worth was realised when Nambour’s Matt Miller crossed with two minutes to go on the clock.
Nambour coach Des Allen said his side was still a premiership threat despite the loss.
“We went up to a place where we haven’t done well and almost did it,” he said.
“It was a semi-final and it would have been good to win and get a shot at the grand final next week.”
It’s not all over for Nambour, however, with the side hosting Kawana at home this weekend in a sudden death battle.
Kawana kept its modest grand final hopes alive by eliminating Noosa 22-4 at the weekend.
The winner of the game will play either Caloundra or Gympie for the remaining spot in the grand final.
Meanwhile, Devils’ supporters are hopeful this year will bring premiership glory. The last time a Gympie team was in a grand final was back in 1996 when Gympie Brothers lost to Maroochydore 22-4.