NZ recruits to raise Devils' power
DEVILS players Ray Loane and Sonny Lavea work up a sweat during training drills at White’s Gully this week. The New Zealand pair arrived in Australia Tuesday this week and is looking forward to helping the Devils make a mark on the Sunshine Coast competition.
NEWLY appointed Gympie Devils coach John Greensill has bold expectations for the season after inducting two New Zealand recruits into the team earlier this week.
The Devils met at White’s Gully Tuesday evening for the second training session of the pre-season and mixing with the squad for the first time was Ray Loane and Sonny Lavea.
Greensill picked the New Zealand pair up from the Brisbane Airport earlier Tuesday.
The Devils coach said the duo was selected from scores of applicants who applied to play in Gympie.
“We sifted through a lot of resumes but Ray and Sonny really stood out and made our decision simple in the end,” he said.
Loane was playing in Auckland last year before coming to Australia while Lavea spent last year playing footy in New South Wales after spending the year before playing in New Zealand.
Greensill said the pair would go a long way towards patching up areas of weakness in the existing Devils’ outfit.
“We were lacking a lot of depth in the front row and I think this combination will help address this,” Greensill said.
Loane will play in the centre while Lavea will be an imposing force to contend in the forwards with weighing in at 110 kilograms and towering at over six feet in height.
“They have a lot of size and experience along with strength and pace,” Greensill said.
“And they are good mates too, so that will help them settle into the side.”
The New Zealand recruits have hit one stumbling block since joining the Devils’ fold – Australia’s summer heat.
At Tuesday’s training session, the humidity climbed and left the New Zealand lathered in sweat.
“Give them a few weeks and they will adjust,” Greensill said.
Meanwhile, exciting new recruit of Broncos fame Barry Berrigan was due to join the side for a training session last night after being unable to attend Tuesday.
The early season training will be tested this weekend when the Devils play a trial game against Dalby at Jack Stokes.
To be played Saturday at 7pm, the game is an opportunity for players to find their groove and click as a team.
The action will kick off at 4pm with a combined C grade and Under 18 team taking on the Mary Valley Stags while the Devils reserves play their Dalby counterparts shortly after.
Greensill has appealed for public support at the games to get the Devils off to a winning start in their 2010 campaign.