Norths reign in the rain
Norths Devils have continued their undefeated start to the Intrust Super Cup season after an impressive 30-10 victory over reining premiers Mackay Cutters in the rain at Bishop Park.
Holding a slender 6-4 lead after a physically demanding and defensively orientated first half, the Devils gave the Cutters a hellish second stanza, piling on four unanswered tries before Mackay scored a late consolation.
The Devils and Northern Pride – who had the bye in Round 5 – are the only teams yet to taste defeat in 2014. In other Round 5 clashes the Easts Tigers and PNG Hunters fought out a 20-all draw, Zach Strasser and Stewart Mills both grabbed doubles as Redcliffe accounted for Tweed Heads 32-18, Mitch Cronin scored twice in Souths Logan's 36-14 win over the Capras, Wynnum Manly crushed Burleigh 46-6 and Ipswich bounced back to defeat Sunshine Coast 38-16.
Rain lashed Bishop Park prior to kick-off in the game between Norths and Mackay and intermittently throughout the match with both sides struggling to deal with a sodden and slippery playing surface, resulting in plenty of dropped ball.
Surprisingly it was the Devils who spilt the Steeden more often than the Cutters, making 13 errors to 10. They also enjoyed a slender advantage in the possession stakes with 52 per cent of the ball. However, that mattered for little as five-eighth Todd Murphy and fullback Shaun Carney orchestrated a comprehensive victory for the Devils who continue their bright start to the season.
Norths were well on top in the early exchanges but failed to penetrate the Cutters' defensive line. They were made to pay for their wastefulness with the ball after 11 minutes when Mackay skipper Tyson Martin set up Josh Benjamin in the corner to hand the visitors a 4-0 lead against the run of play.
The Cutters had a try disallowed in the 24th minute before the Devils struck back to hit the lead four minutes later. Norths' fullback Shaun Carney sent Kainga Turner over and Murphy added the extras to take the score to 6-4.
The hosts began to exert their authority over the defending premiers in the latter stages of the first half, although they weren’t able to turn their pressure into points, ensuring that they would only retain a two-point lead heading into the break.
Norths extended their half-time lead six minutes into the second stanza after Carney crossed the line and Murphy converted to take the score to 12-4.
Moments later Murphy scooped up a poor pass by the Cutters to dash away and score in the corner, with the Devils' five-eighth casually slotting another sideline conversion to further extend his sides' lead to 18-4 in the 51st minute.
Poor ball control continued to cost the Cutters dearly, as the Devils ran in their third try within 15 second-half minutes. Captain Brandon Gibb delivered a lovely cut-out pass for winger Rogan Dean to score and Murphy once again nailed the extra points to stretch the Devils' lead out to 20 points at 24-4.
Murphy and Carney combined for the Devils' fifth try of the afternoon after the five-eighth saw his grubber-kick deflected into Carney's path for his second try. The successful conversion took the score out to 30-4 in favour of the home side with 14 minutes left on the clock.
Mackay Cutters scored a late consolation try with four minutes left when Doug Hewitt worked his way under the sticks from close range, however the game belonged to the Devils, who remain undefeated after five matches of the 2014 Intrust Super Cup season.
Norths Devils 30 (S Carney 2, K Turner, T Murphy, R Dean tries; T Murphy 5 goals) def. Mackay Cutters 10 (J Benjamin, D Hewitt tries; L Taylor goal) at Bishop Park, Nundah. Half-time: Norths Devils 6-4.
For full results of Round 5 of the Intrust Super Cup click here.