Week one of the 2018 Intrust Super Cup finals wraps up with a clash between the 4th placed Northern Pride and the 5th placed Easts Tigers at Stan Williams Oval, Cairns at 3pm on Saturday.
Two of the form teams of the second half of the competition they finished the round robin in an almost identical position. Since Round 12 the Tigers won 9 games, the Pride won 7 and had a draw, to finish 1 competition point ahead of the Tigers and 3 points better on for and against.
The match will be highlighted by the battle of halfbacks in Jake Clifford and Brayden Torpy. Two years ago, Torpy was one of four players (along with Jack Svendsen, Linc Port and David Murphy) who made the move from the Pride to the Tigers. Murphy has since returned north, however the other three remain key cogs in this impressive Tigers machine, though Port has not been named for this clash. Tigers fans will be immensely happy that Torpy, who mysteriously spent half of the season playing in the BRL competition, is available to fill the hole left by Billy Walters injury and Brodie Croft’s NRL return.
Fresh from QRL Team of the Year awards on Wednesday night Storm players Scott Drinkwater and Patrick Kaufusi will be hoping to extend their seasons with the Tigers.
Along with the battle of the halves an intriguing battle of the forwards looms. In Graham Clark and William Budgen the Pride have two of the more under rated forwards in the competition and they will looking to match it against an Easts pack including Brett Greinke, Jake Foster and Storm players Kaufusi and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui.
In the centres two of the competitions most dynamic centres Javid Bowen and Marion Seve will go head to head. Seve has been a revelation since his mid-season transfer from the Broncos to the Storm and continues to show why he has long been regarded as an NRL talent.
The teams have played twice this year with the Tigers taking the points on both occasions – 14-4 in Round 6 at Barlow Park and 24-18 in Round 17 at Suzuki Stadium. The Tigers will be leaning heavily on that Round 6 victory to give them the belief that they can do it again, while the Pride will be looking for a measure of revenge as they look to extend their season.
Saturday, September 1 – Elimination Final 2
Northern Pride (4) v Easts Tigers (5) at Stan Williams Park, Cairns 3pm
Northern Pride*: 1. Jack Murphy 2. Murray Taulagi 3. Brett Anderson 4. Javid Bowen 5. Enari Tuala 6. Jordan Biondi-Odo 7. Jack Campagnolo 8. William Bugden 9. Ryan Ghietti (c) 10. Darryn Schonig 11. Graham Clark 12. Tom Hancock 13. David Murphy 14. Connor Jones 15. Emry Pere 16. Troy Kapea 17. Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 18. Nathan Wales 19. Shawn Bowen
Coach: Ty Williams
Easts Tigers: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kea Pere 4. Marion Seve 3. Shane Neumann 5. Brett Kelly 6. Leon Ellia-Niukore 7. Brayden Torpy 8. Albert Vete 9. Tommy Butterfield 10. Brett Greinke 11. Jake Foster (c) 12. Patrick Kaufusi 13. Jack Svendsen 14. Chris Ostwald 15. Dave Tyrrell 16. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 17. Kelma Tuilagi 18. Matthew Groat
Coach: Scott Sipple