DENMAN Devils won a 10th Group 21 first grade premiership last year with their 20-4 grand final success over Greta-Branxton at Greta Oval.
Ben Hagan was a big part of that and reckons that winning feeling has returned to the Devils in the past month.
While captain-coach Blake Dureau’s brilliance with his super boot has been a big factor, Hagan, who was named in the Group 21 team of the year and one of three joint Group 21 representative players of the year, reckons players such as lock Trent Walker also deserve plenty of credit for the Devils resurrecting their season.
They have come from fourth to beat Muswellbrook and Scone away from home and now face their third big away game to secure the premiership.
“Trent came to us from the central Coast this year,” Hagan said at Wednesday night’s Group 21 presentation night.
“He’s a quality player in attack and defence.”
Walker also completes a small back row with second-rowers Joel Pyne and Darren Richards but it’s mobile, they all hit hard, and go for a full 80 minutes.
It’s those qualities that have lifted the side, Hagan said.
“There’s a good feeling here again,” he said.
“Last year we might have had a better side with some boys with better talent but most of this year’s side are all locals and work hard.
“It’s a really good feeling.
“Coming from fourth has been impressive. I don’t know how long it is since anyone’s done that.
“But I’ve been saying it since the start of the season.
“If we get our best side on the park we can beat anyone.”
Wednesday night was good for the Devils.
They had Andrew Nicholls, Tyler Wolfgang, Blake Dureau and Hagan all named in the G21 team of the Year.
Hagan and younger brother, Tom, also featured in a hilarious “brains strain” segment with emcee Joel Gosper.
It was a bit of fun that the Hagan boys embraced and Ben Hagan joked about his coaching of Blake Dureau and his super boot.
He was more circumspect later.
“Mate, I’d hate to be a fullback or winger trying to catch one of those bombs from Blake,” he said.
It was partly in memory of two gigantic bombs that rained down on Greta’s grand final parade last year, two tantalising little grubbers that led to tries early last week against Scone and then a midfield bomb that lit the fuse to their 24-18 win at Scone Park.
“But there is just a good feel here now. It can start with the 18s who have put in a lot of hard work.”
The Devil 18s, inspired by Cameron French, who was named the Group 21 Under 18 of the season, start the club’s day off with their grand final against Muswellbrook.