BIG NIGHT: Eli McBride in the Gympie Devils reserve grade.
BIG NIGHT: Eli McBride in the Gympie Devils reserve grade. FILE PHOTO

Mental battle before game

THE deadlock between the Gympie Devils and Nambour Crushers rugby league sides at the top of the Caloundra RSL Cup table will be broken tonight.

Both teams run out at Jack Stokes Oval this evening and the game has plenty at stake.

Nambour had a chance to edge ahead of Gympie last weekend, while the Devils were out on a bye, but were left stunned when rolled by Noosa.

Devils coach John Greensill said the result was a shock to his team.

“We were expecting Nambour to win that one, so the result was a surprise for us,” he said.

“It’s been the biggest upset of the season so far.”

Nambour’s disappointment was Gympie’s joy as both teams remain on equal footing ahead of tonight’s clash.

Greensill said the match would be the game of the season.

“We’re the two top sides at the moment, so I think the other teams will be keeping an eye on how the result falls,” he said.

There’s a huge mental battle to be won tonight despite the result not having a major impact on the premiership itself.

“We don’t want to fall behind again in the standings,” Greensill said.

“It would be a major boost for us to win this game.”

Nambour struggled with a depleted squad due to injury against Noosa last week, but the Devils are not expecting a weakened Crushers outfit.

If anything, the loss will only serve to fire up Nambour, meaning any complacency from the Devils will be costly.

The Devils are largely at full strength, with the only recent loss being halfback Nick Swan to a stress fracture in his back.

Michael Dodt is also absent tonight with ligament damage in his ankle, but the injury is not thought to require to a lengthy recovery.

“The week off has allowed us to rest and the guys are keen,” Greensill said.

Tonight’s match may just be the defining moment of the season.

Games get underway at Jack Stokes Oval from 2pm with A grade kicking off at 6.30pm.

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