By Mike Simpson
A gutsy comeback from Banyo Devils ensured they kept third spot on the ladder, with a gallant 36-18 victory over an unlucky Mitchelton Panthers in the RLB Open 1 Men’s competition played on Saturday June 18.
With the Panthers leading for nearly the entire match, it was the home side who came home with a wet sail, superbly led by Devils five-eighth Callum Davies.
It was the Panthers however who got off to a flying start at Bora Ring Nudgee, with Mitchelton’s powerful centre Taran Schefe bustling his way over the line in the corner to post first points of the afternoon.
The centre was having a field day out wide running amok against his opposite number which resulted in another four pointer in the 19th minute.
However, Banyo seized a fantastic opportunity not five minutes later, when a drop ball from the scrum base saw the Devils scoop up the loose ball and score under the sticks.
There was a plethora of local Brisbane rugby league stalwarts in both sides with Panther Connor Morrisey a real standout for the visitors in a losing side.
It would be Morrissey who scored next for the Panthers when a mistake from the kickoff gifted the workaholic lock a try right beside the sticks.
In what was a seesaw of a game, the Devils regrouped to peg the scoreline back to 18-10 when centre Brocco Uhrle pinned the ears back to cross the chalk in the 29th minute of play.
Clearly with the words of coach Martin Mason ringing in their ears, the Devils once again produced a try out of nothing when winger John Collins outpaced the Panthers defence to score a superb individual try right on the half-time hooter.
Panthers coach Adam Wright will lament the one that got away in a game that was vital for the Panthers to stay in touch with the top four.
Hopes that a half-time breather might have saved the Panthers from the jaws of defeat did not look promising when Devil’s centre Uhrle waltzed in for his second try of the afternoon after a running a superb angle to score.
The Devils’ resurgence was admirable to say the least, with captain Jordan Brown and lock Jay Manase barking out the orders to their troops in what was a thrilling comeback.
Devils’ towering Brenton Sefo Wallace ensured the home side held their head above water when he tucked the ball under the arm and smashed his way through the Panthers defence to score beside the sticks.
A hat trick from Uhrle in the 63rd minute rounded off a classy performance from the centre that all but sewed up victory for the home side on a chilly Brisbane afternoon.
However, Devils fullback Caleb Boyd ensured he drove the final nail in the Panthers’ coffin, when he pounced on a loose ball right on the full-time hooter to see the Devils get home in a thriller.