Devils get the job done
Isis better heavyweight Hervey Bay in physical first clash of the season
BELIEF is one of the most effective yet unquantifiable values in sport.
Coaches can assemble elite rosters filled with only the best players in key positions and still go without a title.
Case in point is the North Queensland Cowboys, who despite having a roster that should have won at least one title in recent years, have fallen at the final hurdle.
But if you can take a team of hard workers dedicated to producing their best for their teammates and make them believe they can achieve, that team can do anything.
While not at quite the same level as North Queensland, Isis Devils’ 26-18 win over Hervey Bay Seagulls reeked of belief.
Coach Simon Ricciardi and captain Peter Grant both dropped the B-word after full-time, with Grant extending praise to the Devils’ premiership-winning 1999-2000 teams which held a reunion at the game.
“I’ve always believed this side had it in them and they showed it tonight,” he said.
“It is all about attitude and intensity and we spoke about that before the game.”
The Seagulls are one of the most talked-about teams in Bundaberg Rugby League.
An aggressive recruitment drive during the off-season nabbed high-quality recruits David Leapai and player-coach Tye Ingebrigtsen – and the favourites tag.
Most local league fans judge the Seagulls to be the team to beat this season, but that may change after Isis beat them at their own game.
Spurred on by the Devils’ Old Boys, Isis matched Hervey Bay’s physicality, and ensured the Seagulls had to work for every metre.
“It was great to have the Old Boys here to support us,” Grant said.
“They helped us lift.
“We stuck to the game plan and had the right attitude.
“It’s hard to beat us here and we want to make sure we’re undefeated at home.”
Fullback Jacob Klaasen was never far from the action, and played a role in two major moments in the game. In one he stopped a Seagull streaking away for a try in his tracks with a spectacular tackle, and the other he got away with a crucial dropped ball.
“I got smashed and lost it when I went down,” he said.
“I looked up and the ref was making sure (Hervey Bay players) were onside, so I quickly grabbed it back. He didn’t see me.”
The Devils will enter Saturday’s Salter Oval game against Brothers confident of repeating the performance, while a win could cement Isis as new BRL favourites.
OLD BOYS SUPPORT: Devils captain Peter Grant leads his side out flanked by former Isis players; (below left) Seagulls David Leapai and James Lavelle are sent to the sin bin; (below right) Devils winger Zac Dann watches on from the right flank.