Four rounds in and there’s some familiarity at the top of the Intrust Super Cup, combined with some surprises so far this season.

Pre-season favourites Townsville remain the only side unbeaten after the Hunters went down to the Falcons in Round 4. They share 6 points with some of the surprises from the early rounds Burleigh, Central and the side a lot predicted to improve in 2016 the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

Rounding out the top 6 are the two sides who played a draw last weekend – Easts and Norths.

At the other end of the ladder two sides remain without a win – Wynnum and Mackay – and both are running out of time to kick start their season before finals football becomes a distant goal.

Ipswich Jets host Northern Pride. Saturday 5pm North Ipswich Reserve.

Last Weekend: Pride picked up two points after a tough win in the bye round whilst the Jets led all the way with a 6 try effort over Souths Logan. With a hat-trick up to Marmin Barba after fifteen minutes, the Jets cruised to a 28-20 victory away and now are home to the struggling Jets who have yet to beat one of the better teams this season.

In a match between 9 and 10 on the ladder you do not expect it to be a barnstormer, but after some tough losses, the Jets are showing a touch of form and the Pride, after the weekend off, are looking to get their season off the ground with an away win over the Jets.

Key Matchup: Marmin Barba showed his potential with a great start last week and as both sides field strong back lines this may be a game of flash and show as each side tries to outdo the other. The Pride’s Linc Port has had a great start to the season and he will need t be at his best against the Jets backs who have shown speed and scoring power so far this season.

Prediction: A tight game, maybe not. The Jets showed some of last year’s form last weekend and will be looking to have it continue with a strong win.  Jets 36 Pride 12.

Quick Stats
Ipswich v Northern Pride @ North Ipswich Reserve
Kick Off – Saturday 5pm
Last Year – Ipswich 26 Pride 22 / Pride 20 Ipswich 14

 

Double Bogey Team for Falcons as Dolphins visit

Fresh from their now seemingly annual defeat of the PNG Hunters at home, another of the teams that would consider the Falcons as a bogey team arrive at Sunshine Coast for the second week in a row.

Fact, the Sunshine Coast’s only win in 2014 came in this fixture against the Dolphins, and they proved it was no fluke by repeating the dose last year convincingly. Given the improvement of the Sunshine Coast year on year, it is hard to go past the Sunshine Coast consolidating their top 6 position on Saturday night with a third straight home win against Redcliffe, at the same time they will be keeping the dangerous Dolphins out of top 6 for another week.

Quick Stats
Sunshine Coast v Redcliffe @ Sunshine Coast Stadium
Kick Off – Saturday 6pm
Last Year – Sunshine Coast 28 Redcliffe 12

 

Mackay Cutter host the PNG Hunters. Saturday 6:05pm BB Print Stadium Mackay

Last Weekend: The Hunters went down after being stunned by the SC Falcons, The Bears mauled the winless Cutters as both sides lost away from home. The Cutters are hoping some home crowd assistance will get them home after a slow start to the season.

In a match between the third placed Hunters and the thirteenth placed Cutters, you would be not risking the house on the home side and yet the same could have been said about the weekend before. The Hunters showed gaps in the line that were well exploited and you would think that the coaching staff may well have made a few of the forwards do some extra tackling practice this week after the Falcons managed to continually offload the ball and exploit the ground behind the maul for their victory. The Cutters showed some signs of improvement but the Bears at home were never under threat.

Key Matchups: The Forwards battle will be key for the Cutters if they are going to notch up their first win. As such I will like to watch the hookers battle it out. Chudleigh has been leaving nothing on the field for the Cutters and Warren Glare will be both a handful himself and called on for a high number of tackles if they are to keep the Cutters in check.

Prediction: Sorry Mackay, not this week (but I could be mistaken) Hunters to bounce back with a strong win. Hunters 32 Cutters 10.

Quick Stats
Mackay v PNG @ Stadium Mackay
Kick Off – Saturday 6:05pm
Last Year – Mackay 28 PNG 28 / PNG 26 Mackay 24

 

The battle of the new coaches.

The Capras welcome the Tigers to  Gladstones Marley Brown Oval on Saturday night as they look to back up from their impressive 23-14 round 3 win over the defending champion Ipswich Jets. Veteran Matt Minto was at the heart of everything in that win and will need to be at his best again this weekend. He was ably supported by elusive fullback Reece Baker and the ever dangerous Marco Delapena.

The Tigers showed great character to salvage a draw against the Devils last weekend. The Devils had the majority of position and possession but made too many mistakes. They out scored the Tigers 3 tries to 2 but the kicking of Billy Walters kept the Tigers in the game.

Former Capra Javarn White sent shivers through the Tigers camp last week when he did not return from the halftime break and everyone in Tiger town will be hoping he is 100% for Saturday night.

Halves Brentt Warr and Daniel Foster have been looking more and more confident with each game they play and with a largely settled line up around them they will be looking to asset themselves even more.

Last Time: At Suzuki Stadium round 7 2015 the Tigers won 56-6 and in Rockhampton in round 20 it was the Tigers again 56-22. However the two teams are so different this year that these results mean little.

Prediction: New Coach Kim Williams has his team running very smoothly so far in 2016 and they should win this one by 2.

Quick Stats
Central v Easts @ Marley Brown Oval, Gladstone
Kick Off – Saturday 7pm
Last Year – Central 22 Easts 56 / Easts 56 Central 6

 

Two of the season’s surprise bright starters face off at Bishop Park

The Bears have started 2016 brightly, and only their fans would have predicted them to be so high at this stage of the season with just the one loss. Norths Devils too have made a great start to the season with just the one loss and a win against the Pride and draw against the Tigers.

Both sides had lean runs in 2015, Norths had runs of 6 and 9 games without a win, and the Bears suffered some big 50+ losses including a 72-point defeat by the Blackhawks, so a good start to the year is most welcome.

Another win on Sunday in front of the TV cameras will give either team hope they can continue the run to the finals, although TV games don’t suit Norths who lost both of theirs at Bishop Park in 2015.

Quick Stats
Norths v Burleigh @ Bishop Park
Kick Off – Sunday 1:40pm
Last Year – Norths 20 Burleigh 12 / Burleigh 19 Norths 12

How to Watch:

Live on Channel 9 @ 1:30pm

 

Tweed heads Seagulls host Townsville Blackhawks. Sunday 2pm Piggabeen Sports

Tweed Heads will be planning an ambush as the Blackhawks commence a tough month with 3 away games in four coming up. They will be well rested after the weekend off and the Blackhawks ran 50 points up over a lackluster Wynnum Manly and may be ripe for the picking if they are focused on the games ahead of them over this one.

Key Matchup: Last weekend we had the Blackhawks scoring from everywhere after Michael Parker Walshe returned to bring an almost full strength lineup to a very loaded Blackhawks side. However, this weekend, I am looking into the Centers after Delouise Hoeter made his mark on the tries list and his opponent James Wood also joined the try scorers list in his last outing. Two guns going at it or sending the last pass will be great to watch (hint hint Channel 9)

Prediction: The Blackhawks are undefeated this season and will be wanting to go to PNG with yet another win. Whilst the rested Seagulls may be able to challenge them, they will struggle against the poise and class on offer. Blackhawks 28 Seagulls 14.

Quick Stats
Tweed Heads v Townsville @ Piggabeen
Kick Off – Sunday 2pm
Last Year – Tweed Heads 0 Townsville 28

 

Four-eign Territory at Home for Seagulls

It’s probably been a long time since the Seagulls have started the season with four straight losses, and one would imagine that it has been even longer since they have lost their four home games at BMD Kougari Oval.

But that is what the home side is staring down this weekend, as they welcome a Souths Logan Magpies side whose results don’t quite reflect their competitiveness so far in 2016. Not that a 0-4 start to the season means no finals football, the Pride had a similar start last year before comfortably making the top 6, but a 0-5 start will leave the Seagulls right on the edge of missing their first finals series since 2009.

Quick Stats
Wynnum v South Logan @ BMD Kougari Oval
Kick Off – Sunday 3pm
Last Year – Wynnum 38 S-Logan 20 / S-Logan 32 Wynnum 40 (@ Stradbroke Island)

 

This Weekend’s Teams

Click here for the full team lists for Round 4

Tipsters Time

MATT PRITCHARD (Editor) (15/26)
Jets, Capras, Falcons, PNG, Burleigh, Blackhawks, Wynnum

DAN WHITE (North Queensland Correspondent) (17/26)
Jets, Falcons, Tigers, Dolphins, Devils, Blackhawks, Magpies

SHANNON MEYER (SEQ + PNG Correspondent) (16/26)
Jets, Tigers, Falcons, PNG, Burleigh, Blackhawks, Wynnum

SCOTT SATTLER (Channel 9 + Penrith Legend) (13/26)
Pride, Tigers, Falcons, PNG, Burleigh, Blackhawks, Wynnum

MATT CROWHURST (Tigers TV) (12/26)
Pride, Falcons, Cutters, Tigers, Blackhawks, Wynnum, Bears.

 

What happened in Round 4?
Why not catch up with our review of Round 4 here.

 

P W D L B +/- Pts
Townsville Blackhawks 4 4 0 0 0 74 8
Burleigh Bears 4 3 0 1 0 28 6
PNG Hunters 4 3 0 1 0 26 6
CQ Capras 3 2 0 1 1 15 6
Sunshine Coast Falcons 4 3 0 1 0 13 6
Easts Tigers 4 2 1 1 0 18 5
Norths Devils 4 2 1 1 0 2 5
Redcliffe Dolphins 3 1 0 2 1 24 4
Northern Pride 3 1 0 2 1 11 4
Ipswich Jets 4 2 0 2 0 1 4
Tweed Heads Seagulls 3 1 0 2 1 -8 4
Souths Logan Magpies 4 1 0 3 0 -40 2
Mackay Cutters 4 0 0 4 0 -56 0
Wynnum Manly Seagulls 4 0 0 4 0 -108 0