The Byron Bay Red Devils were victorious last Saturday toppling last year’s premiers Tweed Coast Raiders 18–12 in front of a packed home crowd.
The game was of the highest quality, played at breakneck speed, and was in the balance right up till full time.
The major factors for the Devils’ win was the kicking game of Todd Carney combined with the quality of the chasers who continually harried the opposition, who at times struggled to get out of their half.
There was also another strong defensive display that has been a hallmark of the side so far this season.
The Raiders had first use of the ball but failed to dent the Devils’ defence and soon after they were outflanked by a sweeping backline movement culminating in Byron Bay winger Gabe Belcher touching down in the corner.
The Raiders got back into the game with tries to Cody Hart and Dom Murray to hold a slender 8–6 lead at half time.
The second stanza commenced at the same frantic pace and the Devils were the first to strike when hooker Andrew Battese broke from the scrum to plant the ball under the post.
The Devils started to dominate and again hit the scoreboard when centre Daniel Gibson got on the end of a Todd Carney kick. Both tries were converted by Andrew Battese.
In the last six minutes of the game the Raiders, on the back of some gifted possession, scored in the corner. The Devils held on for a much deserved win.
U/18s players Ethan Coldwell, Jacy Laurie, and Kuyan Laurie stepped up for the Reds and played well above their weight and faced up to the opposition.