By HARRY CLARKE
DESPITE first round losses in both A-grade and Reserve-grade the rebuilding Miles Devils are showing signs of promise and look likely to field their fair share of wins this season.
Miles hosted the Chinchilla Bulldogs on Saturday and will relish the fortnight off before the Roma and District Rugby League competition resumes after Easter.
The score in Reserve-grade was 40-0 to Chinchilla and fitness was the obvious difference between the two sides.
While the heavy hitting Devils forwards such as Kevin Brown and Bluey Smith did a lot to wear out the opposition, plenty of preseason fitness training at Chinchilla, and the injection of several Under-18 speedsters, proved too much for Miles to keep up with.
A-grade was a much tighter contest as the teams traded tries throughout the first half.
Miles opened the scoring when captain Ryan Rayner leapt up to catch a perfectly weighted kick before diving down over the line in the north eastern corner of Centenary Oval.
Unfortunately for Miles, Chinchilla shot back only minutes later when notoriously slippery Bulldogs fullback Romada Barnes stepped through for a try under the posts at the southern end.
There were strong performances across the board from the boys in blue.
Second rowers Jed Bignell and Josh Moore tackled all afternoon. In the backline five-eighth Steven Ferguson was fierce in defence while centre Locky Tribe seemed to threaten Chinchilla’s line whenever he had the ball in hand.
The final score was 34-20 to Chinchilla, but at no point did the players drop their heads and let the opposition run away with the game.
Rayner said there were plenty of positive aspects of Miles’s performance.
“We’re definitely happy with a few things but we’ve got a lot to work on,” he said.
“We killed ourselves in defence and there were drop balls, but there were positives from the game.
“When we were attacking the line we were going really well and completing sets.
“We like playing Chinchilla. It’s a bit of a grudge match. We hate each other on the field but it’s good having a beer with them at the end.”
The Devils will next week travel to St George.
Roma will host Mitchell and the Western Ringers will make the long trip to Chinchilla.