Devils give Dalby hell
GYMPIE Devils A grade coach John Greensill is buzzing with excitement after his side crushed the Dalby Diehards in a pre-season trial match at the weekend.
The game was played at Gympie’s Jack Stokes Oval Saturday evening and the Devils never once appeared in danger, winning in dominant style 42-12.
Greensill was pleased with the clinical performance and the score line.
“We couldn’t have asked for anything more,” he said.
“It’s a perfect start to the season and something we hope to continue from here.”
The game was modified, consisting of three 20 minute thirds and the Devils’ latest recruits enjoyed a good showing.
New Zealand player Sonny Lavea missed the game but Ray Loane played and scored an impressive two tries.
It took the recruit a good 15 minutes to weigh into the game, finding his feet in his first run with the team under game conditions.
But when he did settle, he exploded into action and punished Dalby for every lapse they committed on the field.
Joining in on the scoring blitz was Ben Harney, Jarrod Gorman and Ben Bambling, each scoring a try.
Former Brisbane Broncos player Barry Berrigan had his first run with the Devils as well against Dalby, impressing Greensill.
“Barry had a perfect start to his season with the Devils,” Greensill said.
“His combinations are getting better and he will be a real force for the side.”
When pushed to nominate a standout player, Greensill was reluctant.
“It was a good team effort across the board,” he said.
Front rower Riley McDowell and Kurt Fleming in the second row did, however, receive a special mention for their blistering early season form.
The Devils coach now says he is feeling encouraged from the team’s first outing.
“I wasn’t expecting us to do that well,” he said.
Greensill was expecting Dalby to put up more resistance.
“Dalby was not as strong as I thought they would be, but we didn’t allow them to play well either,” he said.
The Devils’ attack was particularly potent throughout the game, but the side did show signs of weakness out wide in defence.
Greensill has introduced a new playing structure players are adapting to and is expecting the defence to tighten up as the pre-season continues.
“The weakness was not due to the players, but just because it’s something new I have introduced and it will take a bit of time for the players to adjust to the new playing pattern,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Devils coach was buoyed by the strong Gympie crowd that turned out and lined the field in support despite the wet weather.
“The crowd was amazing,” he said. “It means a lot to us to have that support early on and to see the interest is still there after the team had bit of resurgence last year.”
Greensill said he viewed Jack Stokes as the Devils’ fortress and was hopeful of making it a stronghold throughout the approaching season.
“We don’t want to be beaten at home this season and will be doing all we can to make that happen,” he said.
In the other games played, the Devils Reserve grade side blended with the Under-18 side for two half-hour games against the Mary Valley Stags and Pomona-Cooran.
The Devils posted two draws against either side, offering the crowd the spectacle of some evenly balanced battles.
“The players put in a good showing in the wet,” Reserve grade coach Greg Rendell said. “The ground was slick and the ball was hard to hang on to.”
Rendell said the Devils Reserve grade side stood a chance of being in the finals’ mix this season after coming in third last year.
The team was knocked out by Caboolture, who went on to lift the premiership.
Looking ahead, the Devils have another trial game in a fortnight at home against Kawana.
The game will be played on Sunday, March 14 kicking off at 11.45pm for the Under 18 side and 3pm for the A grade battle.