DENMAN Devils are hoping to make their annual food and wine festival an enjoyable one, combining tasty snacks and pleasant wines with a valuable two premiership points against Aberdeen tonight.
The reigning Group 21 premiers have lost their last two G21 matches, going down 26-20 to Greta Branxton Colts and 28-24 to Scone Thoroughbreds.
“We were in a position to win both games too,” Devils captain-coach Blake Dureau said yesterday.
“We just couldn’t finish it off.”
Greta Branxton came from behind to win by six at Denman Oval before Easter and last Sunday the Thoroughbreds came from an 18-12 half-time deficit to beat the Devils by four at Scone Park.
“They (Scone) scored two late tries to finish it while we did score one with about five minutes left but it was too late,” Dureau said.
“Losing our two props in the first 10 minutes didn’t help and then I went off with a knee injury with 15 to go.
“That was very frustrating, watching from the sideline and not being able to help turn it around.”
He said the loss of props Brad Behsman and Kieran Moore early “stuffed up our rotations” and meant some players had to player longer minutes than anticipated.
Dureau was still waiting on news from both props as to their availability for tonight’s game.
He does know he won’t be playing and hopes the knee injury he suffered is minor.
“Hopefully I won’t be out too long,” he said.
“Fingers crossed, I’ll be back in a few weeks.”
In his absence, Garry McKeon slotted into halfback after playing hooker and lock.
The former Northern Division (now Greater Northern) halfback has been one of the Devils’ best this season, along with big Ben Hagan.
“Ben’s unbelievable, plays well every week,” Dureau said.
“You don’t have to ask him to aim up, he just does it.”
Young winger Brock Smith has also been one of the Devil stars.
He’s played wing and centre this season after stepping up from Under 18s last season.
“He scored a couple of tries in the grand final,” Dureau said.
“It was his first year in first grade and he gained a bit more confidence and experience last year.
“He’s backing his ability this year.”
While Denman hosts Aberdeen tonight (8pm kickoff), the other two games are on Sunday.
Singleton is at home toMuswellbrook and Greta Branxton host unbeaten Scone Thoroughbreds.
Both Sunday games are timed for 2.15pm kickoffs.