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Devils deserved win, says coach

Riley McDowall runs the ball forward for the revamped Gympie Devils. The Devils defeated Kawana at home 22-16 at the weekend . The game was called 10 minutes before full time after half the field’s lights went out suddenly. The Devils are now outright leaders.
Riley McDowall runs the ball forward for the revamped Gympie Devils. The Devils defeated Kawana at home 22-16 at the weekend . The game was called 10 minutes before full time after half the field’s lights went out suddenly. The Devils are now outright leaders. Renee Pilcher

A FAILURE with the lights at the Jack Stokes Oval plunged the Gympie Devils rugby league side and adversaries Kawana into semi-darkness 10 minutes out from the siren at the weekend.

The Devils were ahead 22-16, fighting back after temporarily losing a 16-nil lead shortly after half-time, when half the field’s lights went out suddenly.

Confusion was rife both on the field and in the stands as players and footy fans alike were left scratching their heads.

The match referee consulted with the rule book and the ruling went in favour of the Devils.

“The match was given to us because it was past half-time and we were leading at the time,” Devils coach John Greensill said.

Kawana was unhappy with the verdict, feeling as though they had been robbed a chance at a draw or, perhaps, a victory.

Greensill said he understood the team’s frustration but felt his side was fully deserving of the win.

“It was a funny feeling when we won like that with the lights going out, but we were deserving of the win,” he said.

“We had the ball at the time in their half attacking and the momentum was going our way.”

The decision not to proceed with the game was made in light of health and safety considerations.

“I think both teams would have liked to have played the entire game out but, in the end, I think the right decision was made because the visibility was very poor,” Greensill said.

“We got the points and that’s what matters, not how we got them.”

The Devils started the game on a fully lit field with a blaze of form, racing out to a 16-nil lead just outside half-time.

With the lead growing, the Devils appeared to relax slightly, giving Kawana every opportunity to pounce. The visitors did just that, scoring twice and converting both times to enter the second half trailing 16-12.

“We had a little sleep and that allowed Kawana to enter the game,” Greensill said.

Fortunately for the Devils, after Kawana scored against to level the game 16-all in the second half, the Gympie boys responded and turned up the heat on their challengers.

“We scored again and that really was the start of us getting back on top,” Greensill said.

“I was very happy with how we responded to the situation because we did let them back into the game but then we bounced back and took control again.”

The Devils bombed a try, momentarily causing the home crowd to fear a Devils’ collapse, but the Gympie side scored shortly after to open up a lead of 22-16.

It was at this moment, deep in Kawana’s half attacking, the lights went out.

As a consequence of the victory, the Devils are outright leaders of the Caloundra RSL Cup. In second is Caloundra, a side the Devils defeated at Albert Park last weekend.

Establishing themselves as outright leaders is a pivotal moment for the Devils, with a recent history of warming lower reaches of the ladder.

The Devils look to continue their winning momentum this weekend away against the Noosa Pirates.

Scoring for Gympie at the weekend was Ben Ashford (1), Danny McMah (1), Nick Swan (1) and Tobs (Ratu) Viravu (1). Swan kicked two field goals while Craig Marshall bagged one.

Gympie Times