Any rugby league fan would have enjoyed watching the Royal Devils on Friday night, with their entertaining brand of nines footy leading to some scintillating tries and big wins.
The Devils belted Batlow 26-6 in their first outing and in their second match, Royal ran riot over Adelong 21-7 to prove they are the real deal this year.
Seventeen-year-old playmaker, Kaidan Bell, was the player of the night for the Devils, with his enterprising play capturing the imagination fans of league fans watching on.
Bell played off the back off a terrific forward pack that includes Lewis Simister, Tom Murdoch, Chris Rainbow and Ben Warner, working in well with Stephen Gill, while the likes of Corey Herrington, Jamie Hibbens and Reggie Coe were those who benefited on the edge.
“He gets better every week. He is building in confidence,” said Royal representative, Mat Chapman.
“He is certainly improving each week and the older boys around him give him that confidence.”
Against Batlow, Royal’s right edge was sensational, with Gill and Bell combining to put Coe over for a try, before Bell was again in the thick of the action, helping Simister to a try and Devils led 10-nil.
Bell then scored the next try and converted before Tom Murdoch and Benny Warner crashed over for tries late in the contest.
Batlow did hit back when Jack Hartnett scored, but Royal still ran out huge 26-6 winners in the 18-minute match.
In the Devils’ second match, the they crushed Adelong, with Chris Hartshorn and Jamie Hibbens scoring a try each, before Bell scored two tries and Royal were ahead 21-0.
In the final play of the game, Adelong hit back with a bonus try and conversion but Royal would finish ahead, 21-7.
Fellow Pub 9s heavyweights will no doubt be keeping a close eye on the Royal, but Chapman said his side were keeping their feet firmly on the ground.
“Yeah mate, we are excited, but we have played off for third many times and we have never been to the finals, so we are not going to get ahead of ourselves,” Chapman said.
“The other teams can talk about us all they like, but we are not looking that far ahead.”
When quizzed on the Devils’ early Pub 9s success, Chapman said it came back to a good mix of players and a smart approach to their games.
“They play it as they see it, they are playing eyes up footy and that’s all we can ask,” Chapman said.
“We have a good balanced side, with Tommy and Benny setting the platform and we have a bit of consistency of the bench, Lewis Simister was a lost sheep last year, but he was terrific tonight and he now knows his job.”
Royal get their big test next week when taking on the Star Redmen, who will be hurting after two losses on Friday night.