Chance a long time coming
FOR decades the Isis Devils have been travelling to and from their home base in Childers to launch attacks on their opposition, and since 1973 with countless kilometres travelled they have played in only two grand finals.
The Devils have the opportunity to make amends for a couple of close losses in the past and give hope for the future when the Simon Ricciardi-led team takes on Wests Panthers in the A-grade Bundaberg Rugby League this Sunday at Salter Oval.
Apart from a couple of Northern Districts Rugby League premierships, Isis has been on the losing end of two A-grade deciders – first in the Maryborough competition in 1973 with a 9–6 loss to Hervey Bay and second to Easts in 2005 after one of the best seasons the club enjoyed.
Boasting the best defensive record in the competition, Isis conceded 348 points during the season. The strength of the Devils will be called upon against a Wests line-up that has some dangerous attacking weapons.
But don’t think for a minute Isis will be without any firepower.
Ready to strike for Isis will be Nathan Sullivan along with Jake and Kurt Thompson. The latter Thompson brother is the best hole-runner in the league, and will challenge the Wests line all game.
Isis will be at full strength for the game after a scare was sent through the camp. Inspirational prop Peter Grant was put on report for a dangerous tackle on Easts hooker Caleb Gazzard during the extra-time preliminary final, but with an early guilty plea, Grant is clear to play.
Club president Bill Trevor said the tough few weeks of rugby league would not hamper his team’s chance, and with Wests playing one game since August 16, Trevor believes the Devils will have far better match fitness than the Panthers.
As good as Sullivan, Grant and the Thompson boys are, Trevor knows the game won’t be won on their shoulders alone, and he said it would take a team effort to reverse the 12-6 loss Isis suffered the last time it played Wests, the A-grade minor premiers.
Childers is getting behind the team’s effort, and banners of support have been popping up around the main street. To be part of the build-up to the grand final, be at the Federal Hotel tomorrow night at 6.30pm for the naming of the team and a calcutta.
As good as Salter Oval is, there is no reserved seating in the grandstand, and Isis fans are encouraged to get there early to cheer their team on.
There is a supporter bus running to Bundaberg on Sunday. For bookings, phone the Federal Hotel on 4126 1438.
PRELIMINARY FINAL: Isis’ Robert O’Donnell with the ball at Salter Oval.