Isis Devils recruits Cameron Curtis, Peter Grant and Barry Blackman look forward to the season ahead at training on Tuesday night.
Isis Devils recruits Cameron Curtis, Peter Grant and Barry Blackman look forward to the season ahead at training on Tuesday night.

Signings help Devils title chances

RUGBY LEAGUE: More sizzle and muscle was added to the Isis Devils A grade backline this week with the signings of former Brothers star Barry Blackman, Central Burnett League dominator Cameron Curtis and renowned hard man Michael Murray.

Their registrations follow last week’s announcement that 47th Battalion and Brothers star Lyal Darby, Nambour Crushers prop forward Peter Grant and Melbourne Storm under-20 player Kurt Thompson had joined.

Blackman is expected to light The Furnace with his silken, smooth-running style.

“You watch him at training and he doesn’t run, he glides across the paddock,” Devils president Bill Trevor said.

A member of the Brethren’s undefeated premiership side in 2008, Blackman played with Chinchilla last season after earlier trialling with the Ipswich Jets.

His athletic prowess is creditable.

His league pedigree is undeniable.

He represented Wide Bay as a sprinter before moving to St Brendan’s College, Yeppoon, on a rugby league scholarship.

The school won the coveted Confraternity Shield in 2007 and were runners-up in 2008, the year in which Blackman won representation in a Queensland Confraternity Shield team.

Other representative honours for the fullback, hooker or halfback include a tour of France with a 2007 New South Wales Academy side which included members from Queensland.

“I’m really looking forward to playing with the Devils this year,” Blackman said.

“It’ll be good to be back in the Bundy competition.”

Cameron Curtis last played at halfback for the Monto Roos grand final side of 2008 but a move to Bundaberg last year put his career on hold.

Also blessed with blistering speed and dazzling footwork, Curtis possesses a handy short and long tactical kicking game, with the ability to slot goals under pressure from anywhere on the park.

His defensive game is bolstered by a technically correct tackling style.

After having a season off and coming to a stronger competition, Curtis admits it might take some time to adjust to his new surroundings.

“I’m just happy to be back playing and to be part of a strong club like the Devils,” he said. “I’ll play wherever they want me and do my best to make the top grade.”

Murray’s reputation as an intimidating runner and enforcer is well known among club stalwarts.

But he is also recognised as a talented utility player with pace to burn and the ability to slot into any position on the field.

“Michael can make a bust from anywhere on the field,” Trevor said.

“But this year he will have the people to back him up for off-loads.”

Devils coach David Jones said the team’s focus would still be on defence, despite the club’s new wealth of attacking talent.

“Obviously there will be a lot more points in the Devils this season,” Jones said.

“And to a degree our attacking style might change somewhat.

“But we won’t be losing our focus on defence and a defensive attitude because ultimately, it’s defence that wins games.”

Maryborough’s Wallaroos will travel to Childers on March 13 to play a trial match that will decide the annual Vea Vea-Fewquandie Shield.

Although still to be confirmed, organisers are hoping the shield will be presented by recently retired NRL legend and dual international Wendell Sailor.

Free tickets will be distributed to schools in the area and the club hopes to start the afternoon’s proceedings with a junior game.

At this stage, the first match will be a League 11s match at 5pm, with the main match starting at 6.30pm.

The BRL will hold a golf day on March 19 at the Bundaberg Golf Club to bring in the season.

For information, phone the BRL office on 4152 4495.

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