With four rounds remaining in the Intrust Super Cup there’s plenty to play for with fifth and sixth place still up for grabs, and a minor premiership battle between the top four.
Burleigh’s shock loss to the Pride at Pizzey Park last weekend has now opened up the minor premiership race and with the Bears travelling to Port Moresby this weekend it could get even tighter at the top if PNG maintain their good home record.
Of the other games on offer the far north Queensland derby between the Pride and the Blackhawks in Cairns and the Easts Tigers versus Redcliffe on Sunday afternoon will be beauty’s.
Elsewhere the Magpies travel to Rocky to face Central Capras and off the back of “Flockbuster 2” Tweed are off to Mackay for a game without much bearing on the finals. Wynnum cross the river to take on Norths.
MACKAY v TWEED HEADS
Mackay host Tweed Heads and should do so with a touch of confidence. They came within two points last weekend to former competition leaders the Blackhawks and Tweed Heads are not the toughest challenge in the competition.
The Seagulls are third last and although they may have a three more wins than the Cutters they only have two more points when it comes to for and against and so the season has not been all sweetness and light for them either.
As both sides are looking forward to the off season rather than the post, they will be looking to their areas of improvement. For the Cutters, the performances of Chudleigh and Creith would be encouraging for their future.
Prediction: Recent form would suggest that this game is there for the Cutters to take.
Mackay Cutters v Tweed Heads Seagulls @ BB Print Stadium Mackay
Kick Off: Saturday 5pm
This Year: Tweed Heads 37 Mackay 24
Last Year: Mackay 34 Tweed 18 / Tweed 24 Mackay 20
CENTRAL v SOUTHS LOGAN
Capras are in after the weekend off and the Magpies are in after a very bad loss that dented their finals chances, mind you the Capras were beaten up the week before thanks to the Blackhawks and so both sides are really coming in off bad losses.
Souths Logan was ahead of the Falcons before last weekend and now they are behind, the Falcons will stay in front regardless of the result as they have the bye and so the pressure will be on the Magpies relentlessly. They will have to win, just to keep in touch with the Falcons and every second they are behind they will here two clocks ticking, the game and the season.
The Capras should be fresh, the late bye was needed after the Country round took them out to Mt Isa and although they will not be involved after the end of the regular season they have had some decent games in between. They should be able to put a spanner in the Magpies season with a good showing here and complete an in season double after they had already beaten the Magpies in Yeppoon earlier this year.
Prediction: CQ Capras 24 Magpies 14.
Central Capras v Souths Logan Magpies @ Browne Park
Kick Off: Saturday 7pm
This Year: Souths Logan 16 Central 28
Last Year: Souths Logan 48 Central 12 / Central 10 Souths Logan 22
TIGERS NEED WIN OVER DOLPHINS TO STAVE OFF CHASING PACK
A great game awaits this Sunday as Easts look to stay in touch with the top 4 and the Dolphins with a win could take top spot.
Redcliffe come into the game having won nine win of their last ten games and earlier this year took the points when these two sides met at Burpengary while Dolphin Stadiu was being refurbished.
Easts have been as high as second this year but have struggled in their last four games. With just one point competition point in that period they have slipped closer to the pack chasing sixth spot than a top four contender. A loss this weekend could see four teams within two points from 5th to 8th.
With plenty to play for, this should be quality viewing for those at home and those lucky enough to enjoy the Sunday afternoon at Suzuki Stadium.
Easts Tigers v Redcliffe Dolphins @ Suzuki Stadium Langlands Park
Kick Off: Sunday 1:40pm
This Year: Redcliffe 28 Easts 26 @ Burpengary
Last Year: Easts 12 Redcliffe 19 / Redcliffe 22 Easts 32
BURLEIGH BEARS LOOK TO END HOME RUN OF PNG TO KEEP TOP SPOT
Burleigh looked on track for a remarkable turnaround in 2016 but suffered a surprise loss to the Pride last weekend. A slip up this weekend could see the Bears lose top spot with Redcliffe, PNG and the Blackhawks in hot pursuit.
One of those teams is their opposition this weekend – the PNG Hunters – and they only just avoided a similar home loss to the Ipswich Jets with a late penalty goal.
The Hunter’s loss to the Jets would have possibly been an even bigger surprise than the Bears defeat as the PNG side have such a strong record at home. They haven’t been beaten anywhere in PNG for over two years and have not yet lost in Port Moresby. Is it because the Hunters life in front of their home crowd, or the opposition are too scared to win?
Either way this should be a classic and probably the game of the weekend. Not just because of the ladder position but on previous games between these sides enjoyed from a live stream. Pity this game will go unwatched in Queensland.
What better way for Hunters coach Michael Marum to celebrate his announcement of continuing as Hunters and PNG coach for next year with a win over the competition leaders.
PNG Hunters v Burleigh Bears @ National Football Stadium Port Moresby
Kick Off: Sunday 3:05pm
This Year: Burleigh 20 PNG 18
Last Year: PNG 44 Burleigh 24 / Burleigh 32 PNG 38
WYNNUM STAYING ALIVE IN TOP 6 RACE
With Norths’ finals charge officially halter for the season you could be forgiven thinking this game is all about Wynnum hopes of making the top 6 themselves.
It is an important game for the Seagulls who currently sit just one point short of the top 6. With the sixth placed Falcons guaranteed two points thanks to a bye Wynnum will need to keep on winning. And winning looks a real possibility given the recent record between the two sides have ended in big wins to Wynnum.
They haven’t met this year though and Norths will still want to finish the season on a high, avoid taking the wooden spoon from the surging Mackay Cutters.
Norths Devils v Wynnum Seagulls @ Bishop Park
Kick Off: Sunday 3pm
Last Year: Wynnum 66 Norths 4 / Norths 16 Wynnum 40
PRIDE V BLACKHAWKS
The Northern Pride stunned the league with an excellent victory over the ladder leading Burleigh Bears last weekend and now will face up to the rather inconsistent Townsville Blackhawks who have pulled together some recent wins, but have not set the League World on fire with their form.
The Pride will still be missing Javid Bowen on Cowboys duties as they face up to the Blackhawks missing Ray Thompson who is similarly employed for the greater good. However, they are in good form and may be confident in causing an upset over the recently formed southern upstarts who have taken a strong lead in the series head to head.
The Blackhawks have not had a great year injury wise, every week they will get a player back to see another one go down for two to three weeks and it has shown in the results. They will need them all back on deck as we get down to the business end of the season, and to be honest the joke is wearing a bit thin.
This should be a very close fought encounter, both teams are evenly matched and whilst you would still think that the Blackhawks would hold the edge in size and skill, confidence is a hell of a drug and the Pride’s field goal victory would have been a nice injection of that. Was it a one off miracle, possibly, but given how both teams seasons are going, it is very hard to use prior form to hold either team truly accountable.
Prediction: Head says Blackhawks 32 Pride 12. But only if the Blackhawks decide to actually turn up to play, if not, it is anyone’s game.
Northern Pride v Townsville Blackhawks @ Barlow Park
Kick Off: Sunday 4pm
This Year: Townsville 26 Pride 13
Last Year: Pride 10 Townsville 52 / Townsville 42 Pride 24
THE TROY LINDSAY TIPPING CONTEST
MATT PRITCHARD (Editor) (78/130)
Draw, Souths Logan, Redcliffe, PNG, Townsville, Wynnum
DAN WHITE (North Queensland Correspondent) (75/130)
Mackay, Central, Redcliffe, PNG, Townsville, Wynnum
SHANNON MEYER (SEQ + PNG Correspondent) (75/130)
Tweed Heads, Central, Redcliffe, PNG, Townsville, Wynnum
SCOTT SATTLER (Channel 9 + Penrith Legend) (83/130)
Mackay, Central, Redcliffe, Burleigh, Townsville, Wynnum
MATT CROWHURST (Tigers TV) (80/125)
|Sunshine Coast Falcons||20||10||1||9||1||415||386||29||23|
|Souths Logan Magpies||20||9||2||9||1||505||516||-11||22|
|Wynnum Manly Seagulls||19||9||0||10||2||435||447||-12||22|
|Tweed Heads Seagulls||19||6||0||13||2||345||560||-215||16|