Gympie Devils A Grade player Nick Swan goes through his paces at Jack Stokes Oval yesterday ahead of tomorrow’s top of the table clash against Caloundra. The team to win marches straight into the grand final while the loser will have to do it the long way.
Gympie Devils A Grade player Nick Swan goes through his paces at Jack Stokes Oval yesterday ahead of tomorrow’s top of the table clash against Caloundra. The team to win marches straight into the grand final while the loser will have to do it the long way. Contributed

Moment of truth arrives for Devils

DEVILS coach John Greensill has implored his players to rise to the occasion when locking horns with the Caloundra Sharks tomorrow for a berth in the Caloundra RSL Cup grand final.

The game will be played away in hostile enemy territory at Caloundra's Shark Park.

Should the Devils advance, the Gympie team will have a week off to rest before lining up for a chance to win a first ever Caloundra RSL Cup.

There will be some comfort in defeat, however, with the loser of tomorrow's game to receive a second chance at clinching a finals' appearance.

Greensill said the ideal scenario for the Devils was to win straight through to the final.

“We definitely want to take the easy route to the final,” he said. “A week off would be great to recharge before the final.”

Helping to fuel the Devils ahead of tomorrow's game is a burning desire to level the score with Caloundra.

Last time both teams met at Shark Park, during the final round, the Devils lost a tight encounter, dropping the minor premiership and Billy Moore Shield.

“We have been the two best teams this season so it will be a big match,” Greensill said.

“The stakes are high because we have a spot in the final on the line and also a rivalry as well after the last time we played.”

Missing in action tomorrow for the Devils will be the experience of Barry Berrigan, sidelined on a week's suspension arising from last week's victory over the Nambour Crushers at Gympie's Jack Stokes Oval.

Berrigan entered an early guilty plea after being cited by Nambour for the use of a knee in a tackle.

Greensill said the loss of Berrigan was a blow for the Devils but carried a silver lining.

“Barry has been carrying a neck injury that has been bothering him for a while now so we were looking at resting him this week anyway,” the Devils coach said. “That's why we didn't contest the charge.”

Meanwhile, Kaine Ernst has been given up until game day to prove his fitness for the all-important clash as he continues to wrestle with a torn ligament in his foot.

Initially giving himself only a 20 per cent chance of being fit in time, Ernst was yesterday feeling far more optimistic of his chances.

“It means a lot to be playing at this stage of the season so Kaine is willing to put his body on the line,” Greensill said.

Despite the single point win over Nambour last weekend, the Devils coach has appealed to his players to be switched on from the opening play against Caloundra.

“We can't afford to be flat footed at the start and the intensity needs to be there,” Greensill said.

With the winner of the Devils and Caloundra clash through to the final, the losing team can revive their chances next weekend against either Nambour or Kawana.

Tomorrow's game kicks off at 3.30pm at Shark Park and the Devils have a supporters bus leaving the Royal Hotel at 10.45pm. The bus stops at Nambour for the reserve grade match before pushing on to Caloundra.

 

 

Team selection: 1. Ray Ioane, 2. Ratu Viravu, 3. Ben Ashford, 4. Danny McMah, 5. Michael Blaik, 6. Craig Marshall, 7. Nick Swan, 8. Kurt Fleming, 9. Shaun Wilson, 10. Brad English, 11. Riley McDowall, 12. Darren Burns, 13. Trent Callaghan, 14. Josh Cumner, 15. Kaine Ernst, 16. Josua Koroibulu, 17. Godfrey Condon, 18. Reece Coleman.

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