Just the five games await this weekend’s Intrust Super Cup.  But it’s quality over quantity as these fixtures have some bearing on the race for the finals, whether it’s at the top of the table or team fighting for that last place in the top six.

The TV cameras head to Davies Park for the clash of the much improved Magpies and Wynnum Seagulls, but you could make an argument that all games being are worthy of a television audience this weekend.

It’s all good in the Intrust Super Cup this weekend, and a good entrée for the final interstate battle on Wednesday.

SUNSHINE COAST AND REDCLIFFE MEET AGAIN ON THE COAST

by Shannon Meyer

Redcliffe’s second visit to Sunshine Coast Stadium will be under slightly less emotional circumstances than the match earlier in the year which celebrated the life of former Dolphin and Falcon player James Ackerman who tragically died whilst playing in 2015.

Before Redcliffe won on that emotional evening, the Sunshine Coast Stadium had not been a ground in which the Dolphins had tasted much success. In fact they had lost there in 2014 and 2015, the 2014 win for Sunshine Coast being the only one for the year.

Redcliffe will be disappointed that they let a golden opportunity slip last weekend against Wynnum to stay within one point of the Bears at the top, and will be very keen to not drop further than the current three points behind.

The Sunshine Coast have swapped sixth position with the Northern Pride through the past months, and currently lie just one point from the last finals position. A finals appearance that would justify some of the pre-season hype about their improvement in 2016.

Too hard to pick this one, but should be a great game to kick off Round 18.

Match Details:
Sunshine Coast Falcons v Redcliffe Dolphins @ Sunshine Coast Stadium
Kick Off – Saturday 3pm
This Year – Sunshine Coast 12 Redcliffe 16
Last Year – Sunshine Coast 28 Redcliffe 12

BURLEIGH TOP OF THE WORLD

by Shannon Meyer

Things couldn’t be much better for Burleigh at the moment, whilst resting last weekend with a bye, two of their competitors for the top suffered unexpected losses giving the Bears a guaranteed three point lead coming into Round 18.

On a run of just one loss in 13 games since the end of March, it is in stark contrast to their form around this time last season where 30, 40, 50 and even 72 points losses were being suffered. The turnaround has been sensational on the back of some smart recruiting to compliment the quality already.

Their opponents Norths have also improved from last year’s lowly finish, and are in a bunch of teams in the midfield pack chasing sixth place.

With every win important to stay in the race for these midfield teams, the Bears will not want to take this weekend’s game lightly. And they won’t.

Match Details:
Burleigh Bears v Norths Devils @ Pizzey Park
Kick Off – Sunday 2pm
This Year – Norths 6 Burleigh 26
Last Year – Burleigh 19 Norths 12 / Norths 20 Burleigh 12

 

BLACKHAWKS DOWNED AND NOW TIME FOR WYNNUM FEATHERS TO FLY

by Shannon Meyer

Undoubtedly the surprise of last weekend’s Round 17 was the Magpies defeat of Townsville, although anyone following the Magpies in 2016 would know that they were quite capable.

Earlier in the season the Magpies were playing great football without the results, but that has certainly changed over the last few months.

Souths Logan have lost just once in 7 games since the beginning of May, and despite two draws in that run, Souths Logan have drawn level with the Pride in sixth, and still have the comfort of one more bye to come.

This is despite losing their fringe players to the Broncos over the past few months.

Wynnum too, could lay claim to one of the upsets of last weekend, as they snuck home over Redcliffe on Saturday night after a late field goal.

The Seagulls season has been one of runs, with long losing streaks and unbeaten runs, so was last weekend the start of a new run?

Match Details:
Souths Logan Magpies v Wynnum Manly Seagulls @ Davies Park
Kick Off – Sunday 1:40pm
TV GAME on Channel 9 / Southern Cross
This Year – Wynnum 20 Souths Logan 21
Last Year – Souths Logan 32 Wynnum 40 / Wynnum 38 Souths Logan 20

 

EASTS v CENTRAL

by Matt Crowhurst

The Easts Tigers should be too strong for the Capras, even without the majority of their Storm players. They welcome back star half Billy Walters who will add some stability to their halves. Centre Jacob Paul has been named but is out injured and rumour has it former Hawthorne AFL player and Storm recruit Shem Tatupu may make his Cup debut after playing for the Tigers in the BRL competition in recent week.

The Tigers are coming off an impressive second half against the Devils last weekend and have a very good home record (six wins and a draw in the past seven games at home) and they will be looking to protect that record as well.

The Capras have named a seven-man bench in preparation for this match with the experienced Guy Williams to start in the second row. The Capras went down to a late charging Ipswich Jets side last weekend. Hooker Josh Mitchell is always dangerous and will again be looking to lead from the front.

Match Details:
Easts Tigers v Central Capras @ Suzuki Stadium Langlands Park
Kick Off – Sunday 3pm
This Year – Central 10 Easts 30
Last Year – Easts 56 Central 6 / central 22 Easts 56

 

CAN THE JETS ZOOM INTO THE TOP 6?

by Shannon Meyer

Ipswich co-coach Ben Walker warned in a recent article from the QRL website that all remaining teams should be fearing the Jets in the run into the finals.

He is probably right, and their run of four wins in their five game since being thrashed by Easts is an ominous sign heading into the finals. Two of those wins were against high flyers Townsville and PNG Hunters.

That win against the Blackhawks was away in Townsville, so that will have them confident as they head north to Cairns this weekend.

The Pride currently occupy the vital sixth place, last of the final positions, and will have to cope with the loss of players on Cowboys duty thanks to the State of Origin omissions.

In a match that features the last two premiers in the Intrust Super Cup, it looks unlikely that both of these teams will feature in the finals.

QRL LINK – http://www.qrl.com.au/news/2016/06/23/fear_us_warns_jets_c.af_intrust-super-cup.html

Match Details:
Northern Pride v Ipswich Jets @ Barlow Park
Kick Off – Sunday 2pm
This Year: Ipswich 24 Pride 26
Last Year: Ipswich 26 Pride 22 / Pride 20 Ipswich 14

TIPSTERS TIME

MATT PRITCHARD (Editor) (62/105)
Redcliffe, Souths Logan, Burleigh, Easts, Ipswich

DAN WHITE (North Queensland Correspondent) (62/105)
SC Falcons, Souths Logan, Burleigh, Easts, Northern Pride

SHANNON MEYER (SEQ + PNG Correspondent) (60/105)
Redcliffe, Souths Logan, Burleigh, Easts, Ipswich

SCOTT SATTLER (Channel 9 + Penrith Legend) (65/105)
Redcliffe, Souths Logan, Burleigh, Easts, Ipswich

MATT CROWHURST (Tigers TV) (64/105)
tba

 

 

Team P W D L B F A +/- Pts
Burleigh Bears 16 12 1 3 1 474 334 140 27
Redcliffe Dolphins 15 10 0 5 2 402 243 159 24
PNG Hunters 16 11 0 5 1 365 285 80 24
Townsville Blackhawks 17 11 1 5 0 490 289 201 23
Easts Tigers 16 10 1 5 1 421 324 97 23
Northern Pride 15 7 0 8 2 347 319 28 18
Souths Logan Magpies 16 7 2 7 1 415 398 17 18
Sunshine Coast Falcons 16 7 1 8 1 305 318 -13 17
Ipswich Jets 16 7 0 9 1 366 397 -31 16
Wynnum Manly Seagulls 15 6 0 9 2 327 371 -44 16
Norths Devils 16 6 1 9 1 344 436 -92 15
CQ Capras 16 6 0 10 1 336 492 -156 14
Tweed Heads Seagulls 16 5 0 11 1 297 482 -185 12
Mackay Cutters 16 2 1 13 1 326 527 -201 7