The Norths Devil and Easts Tigers fought out a tough and tight Mothers Day encounter at Suzuki Stadium with the Devils getting the win 36-32 in a result that was anyone’s right to the last minute. They did not exactly lead from pillar to post but did score the first and last tries and were deserving winners on the day.
Matui Love-Henry opened the scoring in the 13th minute when he ran an inside line and collected a well-timed pass from five eighth Danny Kerr to crash over the line between two Tigers defenders. Halfback Jack Miers, who had a perfect day with the boot, landed the first of his six conversion to get the Devils off to the ideal start.
They followed up with tries to Dalton Phillips in the 30th minute and Miers (39th minute). The three tries and Miers flawless kicking gave them their 18 points in the first half.
The Tigers responded with tries to Adam Crear in the 15th minute, the ever-dangerous Jake Foster (33rd minute) and two spectacular tries to Young Tonumaipe’a (24th and 36th minutes). Tonumaipe’a showed all of his strengths in his two tries and continues to use every opportunity to push for another chance in the top grade with the Storm.
Billy Walters converted two of the Tigers four first half tries and they held a narrow 20-18 at the break.
It had not been a classic first half, with both teams making mistakes and allowing the other team opportunities to score. Both coaches essentially gave their teams the same half time message. ‘Less mistakes and better defence’ and it was the Devils who responded best to the message.
Their improved performance in the second half saw them cross the stripe three times, with tries to David Faamita (52nd minute), Danny Kerr (66th minute) and Billy Brittain in the 70th minute.
The Tigers worked hard in the second half, with Billy Walters and Tommy Butterfield always looking dangerous. Brodie Croft opened the scoring in the 47th minute when he strolled over and Tommy Butterfield got his try in the 56th minute, however it was not to be enough.
For the Tigers the best on the day was Connor Carey, who was dangerous all day, making big yards with the ball in hand and defending resolutely. Dean Britt who led the pack around the field and Young Tonumaipe’a always looked dangerous.
It was the halves pairing of the Danny Kerr and Jack Miers who led the show for the Devils and guided their team to the win. Big James Taylor was the stand out player in the Devils forward pack, he looked dangerous with ball in hand and was an immovable object in defence.
The Tigers were attacking right to the end and could have scored with only seconds on the clock when Shane Neumann broke through the Devils defence and found open space. However, the Devils defence shut him down and ensured he could not get a clear pass to a support runner.
In the end the Devils deserved the 36-62 winners off the back of the better second half. Next week they face the Dolphins at Dolphin oval while the Tigers travel to Tweed Head to take on the Seagulls.