Norths Devils v Easts Tigers
Sunday 13th July, 3pm
Gutsy, gutsy, gutsy. That one word sums up the Tigers win over the Devils on Sunday.
In an attempt to break a five game losing streak the Norths Devils bought the heavy artillery, in the form of young behemoths Jarrod Wallace and Francis Molo, to Bishop Park to take on the Tigers yesterday. Leading 12-0 after 30 minutes, following tries to Jai Ingram and Michael Lucas, it looked like the strategy was working well. However this is no ordinary Tigers side and though they were pushed very hard by the Devils, in the end they prevailed 27-20.
Ignoring their recent records and respective positions on the table the Devils attacked this game with all the energy and vigour you would expect and deserved their early lead. They stretched the Tigers all day and even when Cameron Munster completed his hat trick to give the Tigers a 20-14 lead with only twenty five minutes to go the Devils never gave up. A piece of individual brilliance from Tristian Lumley, who scored down the short side, saw the scores levelled at 20-20 all and ensured the vocal crowd, who had braved a chilly afternoon, would be rewarded with an exciting final ten minutes.
To win when you are playing well is expected, however to win when you are playing poorly is the mark of quality side and that is exactly the Tigers did. They found a way to win despite not playing their best football. After the game coach Craig Ingebrigsten commented that he was “very, very proud of this group” he acknowledged that they had not played well but “still found a way to win and that is a credit to our club and supporters”.
Cameron Munster was again brilliant for the Tigers. He scored three beautiful tries, however his work on defence was possibly more noteworthy. He seems to have no fear, whether taking the high ball in oncoming traffic or diving at the feet of attackers to secure possession he just seems to have no concern for his own safety. He is a fantastic all round fullback and if he can spend some time learning from the great Billy Slater it is mind boggling to think what kind of player he could develop into. Dane Hogan continued the form that earned him a richly deserved call up to the QLD Residents side. His combination with Jacob Fauid is developing nicely and promises to be well worth watching over the remainder of the season. Donald Malone showed all his experience, chiming into the game at a couple of key moments in the second half. Once when he scored himself and once when he very nearly freed up Sisa Waqa down the left wing.
When the Devils do their review of this game they will undoubtedly file it under “ones that got away”. Whilst credit must go to the Tigers for finding a way to win it is also important to acknowledge that the Devils also contributed to the loss. They created more than enough opportunities to win the game; however dropped ball, silly penalties and passes to nobody undermined the good work of captain Brendon Gibb, dangerous hooker Krys Freeman and play maker Todd Murphy. The centre pairing of Joel Bailey and Tristian Lumley looked threatening all day and who knows that they could have achieved had they received quality front foot ball.
This was a messy, niggly game that either team could have won. In the end the mental toughness and ‘will to win’ of the Tigers got them the two points. Rest assured both teams will be looking for improved performances next weekend though, as the Devils travel to Cairns to take on the Pride and the Tigers welcome the Dolphins to Tapout Energy Stadium.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com