Fit, firing Devils ready for Rams’ challenge

DENMAN Devils’ new first grade coach Paul Gallagher says his side has embraced old-fashioned values as they look to regain the Hunter Valley Group 21 title this season.

The Devils won the competition two years ago but lost the 2014 grand final to the Greta-Branxton Colts in a nail-biter.

Despite the disappointment of missing out on back-to-back titles, a strong pre-season has seen Denman reach the Scanlon Shield final.

Gallagher is confident his side’s commitment at training has prepared them well for the first test of their title credentials against the Muswellbrook Rams at home on Sunday.

“I’m not a fancy coach, I believe in a lot of running,” he said.

“If you put the hard work in then you’ll get the results out of it; the boys have bought into that and are putting in the effort.”

However, he claims the rivalry between the two clubs will always make it a difficult game.

“They always come down here and give us a hard match,” he said.

“The history between our clubs goes back a long way and they always love coming over to our patch and knocking us off.

“I think their two halves and new signings will be dangerous and they have good, honest forwards.

“So we won’t be taking them lightly, that’s for sure.”

The Devils have picked up two main players in the off-season to boost their title chances.

James Standing, who played in the club’s grand final win in 2013, and front-rower Luke Freebody will both be part of the first grade side.

In this weekend’s other first grade matches, Aberdeen hosts Scone from 5.15pm on Saturday while Singleton takes on Greta-Branxton on Sunday from 2pm.

ON THE MOVE: Denman’s Paula Dinavalou spreads the ball wide last year.

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