It’s Get In The Game Country Week in the Intrust Super Cup this weekend, as Queensland’s premier competition hits the road to play Round 20 in some of the state’s far flung places.
The annual road trip is one round that is circled early in the year and the announcement of the year’s venues anticipated.
This year’s Country Week round sees the far west of the state get three games – in Mount Isa, Barcaldine and Charleville.
Closer to the coast Ravenshoe near Cairns is another of the venues. Central Queensland has a game in Moranbah, whilst further south Gympie has the TV game.
The only game not in the Country isn’t in the country as PNG host Easts in Port Moresby.
NORTHS FINAL CHANCE FOR FINALS OUT WEST
By Shannon Meyer
Two of the Broncos major suppliers of NRL talent meet in Barcaldine on Saturday afternoon in the middle of the state.
Both sides have had their players cherry picked in 2016, but Souths Logan have faredthe better overall as they 7th and on the same points as sixth, whereas Norths are on 15th points in 12th.
A loss on Saturday will leave Norths 7 points off the finals chasing pack with just 5 rounds to go.
The change of scenery will probably do the Devils a favour as the fallout from the spiteful clash aganst the Falcons continues.
With Francis Molo suspended, arguments will rage about the length of the sentence, and the reaction of the Sunshine Coast players. However you can’t blame the Falcons players for standing up to someone who put in two shoulder charges in twnty minutes, first game back from a suspension, in the same game where he was involved in a tragic incident at the same ground 12 months prior.
Just a pity when the Intrust Super Cup makes mainstream media, it is usually not a good news story. A shame as this competition deserves more.
Souths Logan Magpies v Norths Devils
@ Barcaldine Showgrounds, Barcaldine
Kick Off – Saturday 3pm
This Year: Norths 20 Souths Logan 42
Last Year: Souths Logan 42 Norths 4 / Norths 28 Souths Logan 28
TWO OF COMPETITION’s IN FORM TEAMS HEAD TO CHARLEVILLE
By Shannon Meyer
The clash of the round happens in Charleville as the competition’s leaders Burleigh take on last year’s premiers Ipswich who have delivered on the promise of their co-coach advising not to write them off.
That run of the Jets is now at 5 games in a row, and has seen them rise from second last at one stage to their current sixth place.
Burleigh continue to go from strength to strength and sit 3 points clear of Redcliffe in 2nd, and a further win from third.
They have now won 6 in a row, and have seen off all of the top 6 except for Redcliffe, but an in form Ipswich, who will be keen to put on a show for the country fans may just be their biggest test yet.
It should be a quality match, and one that will no doubt be enjoyed by the locals.
Burleigh Bears v Ipswich Jets
@ Charleville Show Grounds, Charleville
Kick Off – Saturday 3pm
This Year: Ipswich 18 Burleigh 30
Last Year: Ipswich 18 Burleigh 28
BLACKHAWKS SEEK TO FIND FORM AGAINST CAPRAS
By Dan White
Mt Isa in the middle of winter has the capability of being very, very cold. However, the prediction is for a mild day before cooling off in the early hours. Will the chill come in earlier? The Capras would like it to maybe cool off the Blackhawks, but the Blackhawks probably think they have been running too cold in recent weeks anyway.
In this clash between second last and Fifth on the table, you would think that it should be a foregone conclusion. The Blackhawks should romp this in. But they have been more cold than hot and this game has a clear chance of defining their season. Will the team execute Kristian Woolf’s plan or, under pressure revert to some of the bad habits that have cost them in recent weeks? Some minor rumours of discord are slipping out, will they stop playing games and get on the park to play the footy that they are capable of? They should, but the Capras may want them to wait another week.
The Capras started the season off with a win and then since have been inconsistent and disappointing at time. Away from the normal venues may help the team as they face up to a good team playing bad league and they need to take this opportunity.
Will this game come down to the one component that has been costing the Blackhawks more points this season than it should be? We know Matthew Minto can convert the kicks into points, but we have seen in the last two months, the Blackhawks leave so many points on the park with missed kicks. If it is a close game try wise, then the Capras have every chance of a win.
Prediction: If Jahrome Hughes plays then it will be the Blackhawks by 20, otherwise, raffle time.
Townsville Blackhawks v Central Capras
@ Alex Inch Oval, Mount Isa
Kick Off – Saturday 4pm
This Year: Townsville 34 Central 16
Last Year: Townsville 50 Central 12 / Central 6 Townsville 46
CUTTERS LOOKING FOR IMPROVEMENT AGAINST WYNNUM
By Dan White
Last week Wynnum Manly humiliated the Pride and the Cutters were not much better in their loss to the Jets. As such the form guide would be pointing you towards the Seagulls to keep the pressure on the other teams at the bottom of the finals tables as the Jets and Magpies all fight it out for the final slot for post season glory.
The Cutters were belted around last weekend and they will be thankful that this trip is not nearly as long as they head inland to Moranbah. How they recover and which Wynnum Manly turn up will be the key to this result.
Hooker Joshua Chudleigh needs to bring his best game, if the Cutters are to place any pressure on the Seagulls. He made it up to the Cowboys squad recently, and was not out of place, but for this game he needs to be on for the full 80 minutes working hard on keeping Seamark honest. They are not opposite of each other, but how they deal with each other will decide this conflict.
Prediction: Wynnum Manly have more on the line, and when you are under the gun, sometimes it is the “easy” games that bite you on the bum. For mine, the Seagulls have too much to play for to come in unprepared. Seagulls to will by 12+
Mackay Cutters v Wynnum Seagulls
@ Darryl Burke Oval, Moranbah
Kick Off – Saturday 5:30pm
This Year: Wynnum 62 Mackay 16
Last Year: Wynnum 10 Mackay 28 / Mackay 16 Wynnum 26
TWEED HEADS FOSSICKING FOR FINALS GOLD IN GYMPIE
By Shannon Meyer
Gympie is the venue for this year’s Country Week TV Game, and its history lies in the gold rush of the 19th century.
So apt then that a side from the modern day Gold Coast come to Gympie to play, and the Tweed Heads Seagulls need a precious two points.
The Seagulls snapped a four game losing streak in Rockhampton last weekend, and are still within 4 points of the three teams currently on 20 points and in the last spot in the top 6.
Their opponents – the Falcons – have looked one of the more likely to fill sixth place and are just one points from sixth after defeating Norths last weekend, but have yet to win more than two games in a row.
Sunshine Coast Falcons v Tweed Heads Seagulls
@ Albert Park, Gympie
Kick Off – Sunday 1:40pm
This Year: Tweed Heads 22 Sun Coast 16
Last Year: Tweed Heads 24 Sun Coast 28 / Sun Coast 49 Tweed Heads 10
PRIDE IN FREE FALL DESPERATE TO FIND FORM
By Dan White
Can the Pride regain control of their season? Recent losses are mirrored by their opponents wins and it will come down to this match to see what the Pride want to do in six weeks’ time. The Dolphins have 5 more wins and are comfortable with two points and margin over the third placed Hunters, but I doubt they will be resting on their laurels.
Dolphins should go into the game, confident they can balance the season tally and erase their loss at Barlow Park, and they get to do it in one of the classic bush home grounds at Ravenshoe. This small town would have been all smiles this week in preparation for this clash and the ground is not a bad one for playing on. It may be wet and cool, but the game should not be diminished by the venue.
The Pride are close to as full strength as they can be and will need to wipe their recent form from the memory banks if they are to be a challenger come Sunday. Against a Dolphins side that has been machine like in their control and consistent in their scoring, it will require the team’s best efforts, just to be competitive.
The Dolphins will be ready to keep their form on a roll, strong performances from Jack Ahearn and Zach Strasser and with the forwards controlling the play, they should be able to take care of business.
Prediction: Dolphins by 10+, with a cool afternoon and maybe some rain, the Dolphins will wonder if they left Brisbane.
Redcliffe Dolphins v Northern Pride
@ Ravenshoe JRL Grounds, Ravenshoe
Kick Off – Sunday 2pm
This Year: Pride 20 Redcliffe 16
Last Year: Pride 18 Redcliffe 16 / Redcliffe 34 Pride 26
PNG HUNTERS v EASTS
preview to come
PNG Hunters v Easts Tigers
@ National Football Stadium, Port Moresby
Kick Off – Sunday 3:05pm
Last Year: Easts 14 PNG 8 / PNG 24 Easts 22
MATT PRITCHARD (Editor) (69/117)
Souths Logan, Burleigh, Townsville, Wynnum, Sunshine Coast, Redcliffe, PNG
DAN WHITE (North Queensland Correspondent) (66/117)
Souths Logan, Ipswich, Townsville, Wynnum, Tweed Heads, Redcliffe, PNG
SHANNON MEYER (SEQ + PNG Correspondent) (66/117)
Souths Logan, Ipswich, Townsville, Wynnum, Sunshine Coast, Redcliffe, PNG
SCOTT SATTLER (Channel 9 + Penrith Legend) 73/117)
Souths Logan, Burleigh, Townsville, Wynnum, Sunshine Coast, Northern Pride, PNG
MATT CROWHURST (Tigers TV) (70/112)
Souths Logan, Burleigh, Townsville, Wynnum, Sunshine Coast, Redcliffe, Easts