Just 5 rounds to go and still plenty to play for in the Intrust Super Cup.

After the high of the Country week adventures, the Intrust Super Cup serves up some great rivalries this weekend.

First up is a rare Friday night clash which sees Townsville visiting Mackay. Even further north and in another country on the Saturday is the clash of the entertainers – PNG Hunters and Ipswich Jets.

Further south there’s classic rivalries like Redcliffe v Norths at Dolphin Oval and the Flockbuster between Wynnum and Tweed Heads.

Three of the great improvers in 2016 close out Round 21, as Burleigh continue their march to a minor premiership at the expense of the Pride’s finals hopes, and in a battle of the birds Souths Logan and Sunshine Coast meet in what should be an entertaining battle.

MACKAY v TOWNSVILLE

by Dan White

Mackay got themselves a win last weekend and it was nice to see them with a win over a side that was/is pushing towards the last finals spot. This Friday evening back at home will be a little bit harder. The Blackhawks put together their highest score for the season in a dominant performance over the Capras and the 13 tries were testimony to a side that was in top gear for 90% of the match.

So we will now see them face up, the Cutters with the second worst attack up against the league’s best, and defensively we see the Blackhawks as the third stingiest (with a bye yet to come) against the second worst in letting points in. You might see where I am going with this.  One the hardest of decisions, you would be confident that the Blackhawks will have this game half pencilled in.

Now, given that the Blackhawks had been dropping games they should have won, letting leads get out of hand before starting to run them down, and knowing that the Cutters (apart from a small aberration against the Dolphins) have been fast starters, could the Blackhawks head down to Mackay with the wrong mindset. I hope not. They need the win to keep in touch with third place and depending on how the Dolphins perform, even a top two finish is available, but they have to do the hard work first.

The Blackhawks have the edge across the park, but they need to work as a team to secure the games. Too many times in their lost games, we saw individual efforts sabotage the team game. The thirteen on the field need to work together to finish off the season strongly and see if they can do the damage all the way to the Grand Final.

Prediction: Cutters to be outgunned, but not outclassed. Blackhawks by 24 points.

MATCH STATS:

Mackay Cutters v Townsville Blackhawks @ Stadium Mackay
Kick Off – Friday 7pm
This Year: Townsville 52 Mackay 8
Last Year: Mackay 12 Townsville 14 / Townsville 30 Mackay 16

 

BURLEIGH v NORTHERN PRIDE

by Dan White

The poor Pride, last weekend they faced up to the second ranked Dolphins and this weekend the table topping Burleigh Bears. If form is anything to go on, then it would take a brave or foolish man to back them in for this game.

Coach Joe O’Callaghan said that the Pride were not up to the standard of those teams going to the finals, and for a team that was on top of the league only two years ago, that must have hurt. They have been leaking like cabinet when it comes to the defensive side and rather insipid in attack, so you wonder where they could find a win from, especially when facing up against the all-conquering Bears.

The Bears shot down the Jets and have been running roughshod over the league for the last couple of months. They have been piling on points and they have been scoring from every position. That makes it hard to shut them down and whilst they have been letting some point in, we have to go back to round 12 for their last loss (to the Dolphins away) and so they have been outscoring most sides quite comfortably.

For the Pride to win they need to make an early statement with the forwards. They would need to place pressure on the ball before it can get spread wide and shut-down the options. Even if they do, they would need to do this for the entire 80 minutes. I do not see this happening.

Prediction: Burleigh Bears by 20.

MATCH STATS:
Burleigh Bears v Northern Pride @ Pizzey Park
Kick Off – Saturday 4:30pm
This Year: Pride 14 Burleigh 24
Last Year: Burleigh 18 Pride 10 / Pride 16 Burleigh 4

 

ENTERTAINMENT PLUS AWAITS FANS IN PORT MORESBY

by Shannon Meyer

Ipswich Jets’ winning streak ended last weekend at the hands of Burleigh in Charleville, and this weekend they have go further from the south east to Port Moresby.

Playing the Hunters in PNG is no easy feat, in fact on current statistics it is near impossible, as the Hunters haven’t lost in PNG for 2 years, and are undefeated in Port Moresby.

Despite all that Ipswich will play in their cavalier style, which is one the rugby league fanatics that reside in PNG will surely appreciate, given their team’s similar style.

The Hunters have toned down the extravagance this year, and as a result look more structured but possibly not as entertaining or successful.

They will hope to continue their winning streak in PNG this weekend to keep some chance alive of finishing first or second.

MATCH STATS:
PNG Hunters v Ipswich Jets @ National Football Stadium
Kick Off – Saturday 4pm
This Year: Ipswich 30 PNG 12
Last Year: PNG 40 Ipswich 28 / Ipswich 14 PNG 32

 

FEATHERED FINALS HOPEFULS MEET AT DAVIES PARK

by Shannon Meyer

The TV cameras return to Davies Park for what should be an entertaining and important clash between Souths Logan and Sunshine Coast.

Whilst there was a preseason buzz about improvement and possible finals for the Falcons in 2016, Souths Logan have flown under the radar so to speak in 2016.

The Magpies currently sit sixth, and have steadily improved all year, despite the constant interruption of losing players to the Broncos. The Sunshine Coast too have their fair share of change to cope with too given their arrangement with the Storm.

Feeder arrangements have their bonuses too though, and the Falcons boast some excellent fringe Melbourne talent in Curtis Scott and Ryan Morgan.

Both teams had good wins in Country week, and a top 6 spot awaits for the winner this weekend. Unless it is another draw like the clash earlier in the year.

MATCH STATS:
Souths Logan Magpies v Sunshine Coast Falcons @ Davies Park
Kick Off – Sunday 1:40pm
TV GAME
This Year: Sunshine Coast 16 Souths Logan 16
Last Year: Sun Coast 10 S/Logan 35 / S/Logan 26 Sun Coast 18

 

“FLOCKBUSTER” ROUND 2 READY TO RUMBLE AT KOUGARI

by Shannon Meyer

Has there been a better term for a rivalry clash than Flockbuster, as coined by Wynnum in their social media.

The game awaiting this weekend should be a great one too, despite both sides coming off a loss in Country week.

A shame for Wynnum as they were on a three game winning streak which included the Dolphins at home. Worry is that Wynnum tend to either win or lose in streaks this season, so will hopefully break that against the Tweed.

Tweed Heads themselves were good in patches against the Sunshine Coast last weekend in Gympie despite the loss.

Probably last chance saloon for Tweed Heads if they lose, and Wynnum won’t want to lose either, less they lose touch with the top 6.

MATCH STATS:
Wynnum Seagulls v Tweed Heads Seagulls @ BMD Kougari Oval
Kick Off – Sunday 3pm
This Year: Tweed 16 Wynnum 30
Last Year: Wynnum 22 Tweed 12 / Tweed 30 Wynnum 16

 

 

DOLPHINS LOOKING TO DO THE DEVILS DOUBLE AND END THEIR RIVALS SEASON

by Shannon Meyer

Redcliffe are building nicely as the finals loom with eight wins from their last nine games, the only blip being their surprise loss to bayside rivals Wynnum.

What better time to have a visit from Norths as the Dolphins have a good recent record against their closest competitor.

The Dolphins have the leanest defence in the competition, and that will be important as the finals arrive. They have kept competition heavyweights Townsville, PNG to under 20 points and have averaged just 13 points against in their last 9 games too.

Norths threatened to break into the top 6 earlier in the season, but four losses in a row has seen them fall down the ladder, and they will drop off the finals race completely with a loss this weekend.

The new Dolphin Oval gets its second run this weekend, and Redcliffe have done well as it is a great facility for this level of rugby league.

MATCH STATS:
Redcliffe Dolphins v Norths Devils @ Dolphin Oval
Kick Off – Sunday 4pm
This Year: Redcliffe 52 Norths 10
Last Year: Redcliffe 32 Norths 20 / Norths 20 Redcliffe 44

 

TIPSTERS TIME

MATT PRITCHARD (Editor) (75/124)
Blackhawks, PNG, Bears, Magpies, Tweed, Redcliffe.

DAN WHITE (North Queensland Correspondent) (70/124)
Blackhawks, PNG, Bears, Falcons, Wynnum, Redcliffe.

SHANNON MEYER (SEQ + PNG Correspondent) (71/124)
Blackhawks, PNG, Bears, Falcons, Tweed Heads, Redcliffe.

SCOTT SATTLER (Channel 9 + Penrith Legend) (78/124)
Blackhawks, PNG, Bears, Falcons, Wynnum, Redcliffe.

MATT CROWHURST (Tigers TV) (75/119)
Blackhawks, PNG, Bears, Falcons, Wynnum, Redcliffe.

 

LADDER

Team P W D L B F A +/- Pts
Burleigh Bears 19 15 1 3 1 582 412 170 33
Redcliffe Dolphins 18 13 0 5 2 490 277 213 30
PNG Hunters 18 12 0 6 2 423 317 106 28
Townsville Blackhawks 19 12 1 6 1 584 327 257 27
Easts Tigers 19 10 2 7 1 463 406 57 24
Souths Logan Magpies 19 9 2 8 1 493 468 25 22
Sunshine Coast Falcons 19 9 1 9 1 367 374 -7 21
Ipswich Jets 19 9 0 10 1 460 459 1 20
Wynnum Manly Seagulls 18 8 0 10 2 401 433 -32 20
Northern Pride 18 7 0 11 2 371 413 -42 18
Tweed Heads Seagulls 18 6 0 12 2 331 526 -195 16
Norths Devils 19 6 1 12 1 412 530 -118 15
CQ Capras 19 6 1 12 1 388 608 -220 15
Mackay Cutters 18 3 1 14 2 360 575 -215 11