LOOKING FOR GLORY: Ipswich Eagles stalwart Chris Devlin takes control of the football, watched by captain Luke Konstanciak, during a recent game. The Eagles are hoping to keep their finals hopes alive by beating Pine Rivers today.
LOOKING FOR GLORY: Ipswich Eagles stalwart Chris Devlin takes control of the football, watched by captain Luke Konstanciak, during a recent game. The Eagles are hoping to keep their finals hopes alive by beating Pine Rivers today. Rob Williams

Stitch in time has hard Eagle pumped for semi

ANYONE who knows spirited team man Chris "Fatty" Devlin will agree it takes more than 12 stitches to deter him from playing.

That's especially the case in big matches.

So expect to see the fearless Ipswich Eagles midfielder doing what he does best in today's QAFA (A) semi-final at Pine Rivers.

Devlin, 29 this month, needed six stitches in his chin last Saturday night after having it split during 2 the first quarter of Ipswich's elimination final victory over UQ.

After a quick patch-up and having a head bandage applied, Devlin battled on to help the Eagles reach today's semi-final.

However, that wasn't the first time he was in the wars in recent games. He also needed six stitches in his ear after another clash playing against Redcliffe.

"I've never had any stitches playing footy and then in a month, I've had 12 stitches," he said. "I'm getting too old."

However, trying to stop Devlin playing is like asking James Hird to step down as coach of the Essendon Bombers.

"I'm fine," Devlin said, preparing for another monster midfield tussle against Pine Rivers.

While enjoying his role as a senior player with teammates like captain Luke Konstanciak, Devlin has received a major on-field boost this season.

That's having fast and fit younger players like Keith Brick, Billy North, Justin Cummings, Tyson Watts and Heath Wilson backing up the stalwarts.

"They are all under the age of 22, 23, which is amazing," Devlin said of what he calls the team's "rabbits".

"All the young blokes have been really, really good for us.

"It's fresh legs."

Devlin said he and other senior players weren't getting as much ball because "these young kids are doing the job".

That allows the seasoned performers to provide the experience in pressure plays, highlighted by Konstanciak's 45 goals this season.

"He's having a cracking season, kicking multiple goals," Devlin said, having played 16 games this season, the same as his 36-year-old skipper.

"I think he's fourth-leading goalkicker (in the league)."

In his 11th season with the Ipswich club, Devlin said having that injection of youth was fantastic for the older brigade and the club.

"This year, we've had so many great wins," he said, praising his team's effort against UQ.

"Saturday was just so impressive. We had like five minutes to go and we just caused stoppage after stoppage, tackle and tackle.

"When that siren went, we were all so filled with joy, it was awesome."

With a young family and upskilling his job as an electrician, Devlin could easily give the game away.

But that's not a consideration at the moment as he focuses on finals footy.

"Life is good," the Ipswich Eagles warrior said.

"It's good to see these good years come back to the Eagles as we haven't made finals for five or six years.

"I'm glad I'm still around for it."

The Eagles just need to reproduce last week's epic effort against UQ to keep their 2014 grand final dream alive.

Game day

QAFA (A) semi-final today (2pm): Ipswich Eagles v Pine Rivers at Rob Akers Reserve, Pine Rivers.



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