The Gympie Devils play at home for the first time of the season this afternoon against Maroochydore at Jack Stokes Oval.
The Gympie Devils play at home for the first time of the season this afternoon against Maroochydore at Jack Stokes Oval. Contributed

Devils ready for first home game

GYMPIE Devils coach John Greensill’s hopes of Jack Stokes becoming an impenetrable fortress will be put to the test today.

The Devils are playing their first home game of the season at Jack Stokes Oval this afternoon and Greensill said expectations were building ahead of the encounter against Maroochydore.

“There’s no doubt it’s a big game for us,” he said. “It’s our first one at home and we want a winning record on our home field this season.”

To make this possible, however, the Devils will need to shelve the disappointment from last weekend’s 38-24 loss to Nambour.

“We had a bad run last week with injuries and circumstances, and things haven’t got that much better for us this week,” Greensill said.

The Devils coach said the side had lost its strongest players Trent Callaghen and Riley McDowell to injury.

Compounding the injuries woes is the recent loss of five eighth Craig Marshall to a shoulder injury.

Stepping up to fill the void, though, is former coach Darren Burns and an exciting new signing from Brisbane, Fletcher Holmes.

Holmes will play for the Devils while also holding dual registration with Brisbane Norths – a feeder club for the Brisbane Broncos.

The Brisbane player has played reserve grade for the Broncos and Greensill says he is a “real weapon”.

“We’re excited to have Fletcher on board,” he said.

“We confirmed the signing last week after a bit of a process because of the dual registration paperwork.”

Holmes has played more than 200 games of state footy and has the experience to spearhead the Devils’ attack against Maroochydore.

“He’s a top class player and adds depth to the side,” Greensill said. “That’s what we’ve been lacking.”

Meanwhile, under-18 player Shaun Wilson has been rewarded for an outstanding start to his season by being prompted to the top side for the first time. With representative success, Greensill said Wilson was “deserving” of being called up to top grade.

The game against Maroochydore kicks off this afternoon at 6.30pm at Jack Stokes.

In action earlier is C grade at 2pm followed by reserve grade and Under 18.

Home crowd support is being urged by Gympie Rugby League.

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