Round 3 produced a few surprises, which hurt a few of our tipsters records, but certainly came as a great reward for some of last season’s strugglers like Central Capras and Norths Devils.

The two teams at the other end of the table from last year are still there and unbeaten, and they look to be heading on a crash course in Round 6 to decide which one will remain unbeaten in PNG. Unfortunately it won’t be televised and once again the Intrust Super Cup and QRL have lost a great opportunity to showcase their two newest sides, and two of the most exciting.

With a smaller allocation of five matches this week, so that should make it easier to pick a winner, or maybe not. Here is the game by game preview.

Tigers looking to tame Devils

The Easts Tigers and Norths Devils face off in what should be an exciting Easter Saturday clash at Suzuki Stadium.

After 3 rounds the Tigers are two wins and one lose, a record that probably flatters them slightly as they search for the elusive 80 minute performance. Though their spine looked a lot more dangerous last week in Mackay with Javarn White having his best game yet in Tigers colours, halves Foster and Warr starting to get their combination going nicely and hooker Billy Walters continuing what has been a very good start to the season.

The Devils are also 2 and 1 and will be looking to build on a good win over the Pride last weekend. Bronco Todd Murphy, fresh from a stint with Cronulla in Sydney, has been in everything for the Devils this season and is very dangerous both with ball in hand and with his short kicking game. The Devils have plenty of firepower out wide in Michael Lucas, David Faamita and former Tiger Maeli Seve and the Tigers defence will need to be on its game.

Last time they the Tigers thumped the Devils 50-4 in Round 12 last year, but with both teams so different expect a much closer affair this weekend.

Prediction; Tigers by 12.

Quick Stats
Easts v Norths @ Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park
Kick Off – Saturday 3pm
Last Year – Souths Logan 20 Townsville 46

How to Watch:
Via Tiger TV

Burleigh Bears host the Mackay Cutters at Pizzey Park

The Burleigh Bears will be looking to return to the winners list after their loss to the Falcons last week, whilst the Mackay Cutters look to continue their improved showing by entering the winners list when they travel down to Pizzey Park.

Cutters have not had the start that they would have wanted nor expected after several years of pushing towards the top o the ladder. With a change of coach, it is sometimes hard to develop a new rhythm and so I am hoping that the Cutters can find their groove. They are now getting enough points on the board, they will need to muscle up in defence to protect their lead, if they want to get into the win column.

Burleigh have been a blue collar team this year. After blowing out both Seagulls teams they stumbled last weekend and will be focused on fixing some of the errors that let in six tries last weekend.

Last time they Met: Round 19: Mackay 46 Burleigh Bears 4 – how times have changed.

Key Matchup: Battle of the Fullbacks. Liam Taylor and Tyler Chadburn will both hope to be the key differences for their sides in this must win match. Both show speed and both are valuable with the boot as well as this game may come down to the two pointers made and missed.

Prediction: Burleigh should be too strong at home for the struggling Cutters, but as the Falcons showed last week, every game has the chance for an upset. Burleigh by 8

Quick Stats

Burleigh v Mackay @ Pizzey Park
Kick Off – Saturday 4pm
Last Year – Burleigh 23 Mackay 22 / Mackay 46 Burleigh 4

Blackhawks keen to continue unbeaten start against Wynnum

The Blackhawks are once again at home and look to continue their undefeated start to the season when they face off against the Wynnum Manly Seagulls who have yet to trouble the win column and are getting hungry.

Well, no better place to start than against one of the in form teams of the competition who have remained undefeated, even when missing key half back Michael Parker Walshe. Wynnum Manly must be feeling a bit beaten up, and now they face a third top five team in four weeks and the Dolphins were not an easy team to face at any time. They did hold the Hunters to just 24 points and so whilst they are bottom of the table, they do not need much to begin to move it on up.

The Blackhawks are the Suits and Ties of the ISC this year. Every game is handled in a business like manner and even when they debut new players, the strength of team, thanks to their strong alignment to the NQ Cowboys, is one thing. But being able to control you opponents and deliver on the field is what must make coach Kristian Woolf a happy man after the first three rounds. A win this weekend is vital before they go on the road trip to beat all road trips as they head off to PNG via Piggabeen

Last time they Met: Round 5: Townsville Blackhawks 28 Wynnum Manly 16 – A lot of football has been played since these two teams faced off and yet I would not be surprised by a similar scoreline with this match.

Key Matchups: Anthony Mitchell vs Mitchell Cronin. Former Cowboy matches up against a former Raider in a battle of the Hookers. Anthony is having a solid start to the season and crossed for his first try for 2016 last weekend. His support work has been all and more of that expected from a player of his quality. Cronin, began his year with a meat pie, but has struggled to trouble the scorers since. He is doing some hard yards and is not a player that an opposition coach will ignore. Should be a cracker.

Blackhawks are at home and the heat and humidity of the 4:00pm game will sap the souther lads hard as the game continues.

Prediction: Blackhawks by 16

Quick Stats
Townsville v Wynnum @ Jack Manski Oval
Kick Off – Saturday 4pm
Last Year – Townsville 28 Wynnum 16

Potential for Points-A-Plenty at Davies Park

Channel 9 bring their cameras to Davies Park this Sunday for clash that promises a lot of points based on last year’s matches. Given the Jets have almost the same back line, and Souths Logan look even more improved in 2016 with some handy Broncos fringe players in addition to last year’s stalwarts, there’s nothing to suggest they couldn’t match or beat last year’s total.

That would be good going considering the two matches produced 156 points across two matches at almost a point a minute. Talking of points, a loss here to the Magpies will see the Jets remain on two points and struggling to defend their 2015 title.

Quick Stats
Souths Logan v Ipswich @ Davies park
Kick Off – Sunday 12:40pm
Last Year – Souths Logan 20 Ipswich 50 / Ipswich 52 Souths Logan 34

How to Watch:

Live on Channel 9 @ 12:30pm

Will the Hunters 2015 Bogey Side Strike Again?

The Hunters arrive on the Sunshine Coast to meet the side that handed them their biggest defeat in 2015, and who also got closer to the Hunters than most up in PNG also, giving them the title of the Hunters bogey side.

The result from this fixture was quite the surprise last season, and with the further improvement shown by the Falcons so far in 2016, another win could be on the cards. But the PNG side have started 2016 without a loss in three games, and are heading for an improvement themselves on last season where they lost 3 of their first 6 before their mammoth unbeaten run all the way to the finals.

Quick Stats
Sunshine Coast v PNG Hunters @ Sunshine Coast Stadium
Kick Off – Sunday 2:05pm
Last Year – Sun Coast 36 PNG 10 / PNG 24 Sun Coast 20

How to Watch:
Via Live Stream available on the QRL Website

This Weekend’s Teams

Click here for the full team lists for Round 4

Tipsters Time

MATT PRITCHARD (Editor) (12/21)
Easts, Burleigh, Townsville, PNG Hunters, Ipswich

DAN WHITE (North Queensland Correspondent) (14/21)
Norths, Burleigh, Townsville, PNG Hunters, Ipswich

SHANNON MEYER (SEQ + PNG Correspondent) (12/21)
Easts, Burleigh, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich

SCOTT SATTLER (Channel 9 + Penrith Legend) (10/21)
Easts, Burleigh, Townsville, PNG Hunters, Ipswich

MATT CROWHURST (Tigers TV) (9/21)
Easts, Burleigh, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich

What happened in Round 3?
Why not catch up with our review of Round 3 here.