Devonport Bulls sure do know how to do comebacks well. Any day. Any nature.
The grand final side has pulled off an unfancied 33-20 win over Taroona at Hobart’s Rugby Park on Saturday.
“I’m incredibly proud,” Bulls coach Shaun Puke said, “it was a pretty amazing win – something they’ll probably tell their grandchildren of.”
This TRU premiership drew plaudits on many fronts.
Devonport just a week earlier had to overcome a 21-17 deficit at half-time to qualify.
Then 44 second-half points put paid to such concerns, stunning Hobart Harlequins to secure the Bulls’ berth.
But the bigger comeback of them all was what evolved from last year. The Bulls won through to that grand final, but then they didn’t.
Not because Devonport was asked to first win its preliminary final in extra-time.
Amid much conjecture and also accusations from all parties, TRU officials blocked the team’s path to the 2016 grand final when it was later found the club erroneously fielded an ineligible player.
“It’s always plays in the back of their minds,” Puke said. “That was something stripped from the guys and they never knew that had taken place … but they were upset about the situation.”
But on Saturday, Devonport could finally right the wrongs to claim their first Tasmanian title since 2014.
That feat even better after the rampaging Bulls had two players red-carded early on.
“Part of this year’s target was to keep our discipline under control,” Puke said. “We did it all year long, then today it was all the emotion.”
Taroona had trailed 10-0 but turned it around to get as close as 16-15 until the Bulls charged home the stronger.