Noosa Pirates sink Gympie Devils’ ship
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Gympie Devils are sitting in last place on the Caloundra RSL Cup ladder after their round two loss to Noosa on the weekend.
With several players missing through injury, Gympie came out of the blocks firing, racing to a 12-0 lead after just 10 minutes.
Things started to go downhill from there, with a shoulder injury to star halfback Jake Harney soon after forcing him from the field.
"He was definitely a big loss; he provides so much direction," Devils' coach Brad English said.
Noosa took its opportunity to finish eventual winners, 36-16.
"We definitely had the early momentum, but a few errors gave it back to them," English said.
"Losing Jake certainly didn't help either."
Captain Kurt Fleming made his return to the side after missing last week's 78-6 loss to Caloundra due to personal commitments.
"Kurt played a blinder, as he always does," English said.
"He led from the front well but it was tough with so many forwards on the sidelines for us to compete with the much bigger Noosa forward pack.
"I can't fault the effort of the boys though, they gave it absolutely everything but sometimes that's not enough.
"Our young players were outstanding again, which is a really good sign for the future of the club."
English heads the list of forwards on the sidelines, and will not be seen in Devils' colours this year after receiving the devastating news that his troublesome knee requires a full reconstruction.
He is hopeful that fellow injured forwards Mitch Hillcoat and Josh Greaves will return this weekend to add some much-needed size to the Devils' pack.
"It's a long season so we need to be absolutely sure they are ready to go.
"We're crossing our fingers that Mitch, Josh and Ash (Humble) will return from injury on Saturday."
Gympie will take on Caboolture at Jack Stokes Oval in the first of three consecutive home games.
"It would be nice to get a big crowd down there on Saturday night to support us," English said.
"Being a home game, hopefully a few more reserve grade players will turn up and they can field a side for the first time this year."