Devils to play for finals spot
ALTHOUGH the Gympie Devils are coming off the back of a last-minute loss, their confidence is up for tonight's match against Nambour Crushers.
Even though the Devils lost last week's heart-stopper against the second-place Caboolture Snakes, thanks to a Snakes try with only seven minutes left on the clock, Devils president Jim Bogoure said the close game was the best the Devils have played this year.
He said that game was a demonstration that the Devils can match it with the best of competition and that should give them confidence for tonight's face-off at Jack Stokes Oval.
"Even though we lost, it was one of the best games of the year and we will be coming off the back of that," Bogoure said yesterday.
Bogoure said this was what the Devils had been building towards.
"This is the turning point of the year and (tonight) will show that," he said.
He said a win will lift the Devils back to third on the ladder, which if maintained would earn them a finals berth and secure a second chance at challenging the premiership should things go wrong entering the finals.
The aim is high for the Devils but Bogoure thinks he has the team to make it reality.
"We see this week as a big opportunity.
"We should get the points up on Nambour."
However, he concedes that should things not go to plan this weekend the team could be bumped as low as seventh, potentially ruining their 2012 premiership aspirations.
Last time the Devils played the Crushers, they met in the mud at Crusher Park in Nambour and lost by two points.
This time Bogoure thinks the Devils have the goods, especially as they came close to getting one up on Caboolture.
"We think we've got their measure now," he said.
He said the Devils knew the pressure surrounding tonight's game but that hadn't put them off.
He said there had been a good vibe at training.
Nambour, however, won't drop their heads and concede defeat tonight.
"They're a fast young side but our experience should cover that," Bogoure said.
The Devils will be enriched with more experience in coming weeks when NRL's Jamie Rosso and Matthew Petersen join them on the field and at training.
There were hopes of the pair making today's game but Bogoure said the Devils were well-prepared as they were.
Bogoure said the pair's experience in the game would help the fairly young side.
"We see the signings as a boost to our young ones.
"They can pass their experience to the younger players.
"It means the young boys will be better for playing and training alongside Rosso and Petersen," he said.
If the side can get some winning momentum going this weekend, it will go a long way towards their season's goal as they will need to be in top and confident form for next week's away game against table-topping Kawana.
"That will be a big game for us.
"The Kawana game makes beating Nambour even more important," Bogoure said.
He said the top two positions were now out of the Devils reach, but they'd love to cement themselves in third.
"That will give us a second chance in the finals," he said.
The Gympie Devils play the Nambour Crushers at Jack Stokes tonight at 7pm. Devils fans are encouraged to the see the game and support the team.
1 Nick Swan
2 Ben Santowski
3 Ben Ashford
4 Danny McMah
5 Tom White
6 Kurt McArthur
7 Dave Cutler
8 Kurt Flemming
9 Shaun Wilson
10 Adam Starr
11 Riley McDowall
12 Kris Kahler
13 Billy Rogers
14 Mitch Heaton
15 Ben Harney
16 Reece Coleman
17 James Hogan