Top four finish for under-9s Devils at state carnival
RUGBY LEAGUE: The under-9 Dalby Devils have defied expectations at their first big carnival, turning a few heads as they finished in the top four teams in the state.
Making it through to the semi-finals, the Devils finished in strong company with teams from Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Townsville at the Paul Bowman Challenge in Proserpine.
The team defended fiercely, winning all eight pool games and making it through to the finals where they were beaten by the eventual winners of the carnival, the Coomera Cutters.
Coach Nathan Marshall said the Devils defended their hearts out all weekend and he couldn't be more proud of them.
"As a coach, the most pleasing thing all weekend was in the first nine games we let in eight tries, anyone knowing football would know that's unbelievable to do that,” he said.
The young Devils were commended on their defensive efforts by a footy legend.
"Before the presentation Paul Bowman himself came up to us and said that the Dalby Devils were the best defensive team that he saw there, that's a huge compliment,” he said.
"A lot of the officials up there were in awe of some of the tackling techniques that some of the boys showed there.”
The quarter final had spectators on the edge of their seats as the Blackwater team got off to an early lead.
"(The Blackwater Crushers) scored an early try and got away to a lead, our boys defended about eight or nine sets in a row and then just yet turned it around and once they got the ball, they scored a couple of good tries ... to me that was the best effort we had all weekend, ” Marshall said.
"The Coomera Cutters, the side that beat us, I think their smallest player was bigger than our biggest player ... but even in defeat they tried their hardest.
"The reason they got so far is because they played as a whole team, no one was better than anybody else and they just bonded well as a team.”
Marshall said with their new confidence and experience playing more elite teams, the Devils under-9s would be a force to be reckoned with in the Toowoomba comp next year.
"They'll be an unbelievable side to watch the Devils under-10s next year,” he said.