A big weekend for the Intrust Super Cup, with just four rounds to go there is something riding on just about every game this weekend.
The biggest of the games comes at North Ipswich Reserve with two of the real entertainers of the competition going head to head in a game that will no doubt entertain the masses who make the effort to get there.
As ever there’s plenty more on offer, with a battle of North Queensland finals contenders in Mackay on Saturday the other headliner. Elsewhere there are three clashes between finals aspirants and teams who can’t make the final 6 in Townsville, Redcliffe and Burleigh. Rounding out the fixture list is the Sunshine Coast potentially delivering more pain to the Capras.
Here’s the ladder.
TOWNVILLE 35 points (Points Diff +428), PNG Hunters 35 (+170), Ipswich 32 (+184), Wynnum 30 (+177), Easts 26 (+199), Northern Pride 26 (+36), Mackay Cutters 24 (+80), Redcliffe 21 (+83), Burleigh 20 (-233), Tweed Heads 19 (-35), Sunshine Coast 17 (-157), Souths Logan 15 (-140), Norths 12 (-302), Central 6 (-490)
Ipswich Jets v PNG Hunters at North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday – 3pm
Round 22 kicks off in the best possible way with two of the competition’s best attacking and most unpredictable sides meeting at North Ipswich Reserve. I do tend to wax lyrical about both of these sides, and especially the Hunters, but they both offer loads of entertainment and a different style of play, which in the ever increasing predictability of NRL rugby league is refreshing.
This is also a clash of 2nd v 3rd, and with the top 4 teams just about confirmed, the jostling for the best position will be all important.
Ipswich come off the bye for this game, and have been tough to beat at home this, but not unbeatable with losses to Burleigh and Wynnum. The PNG Hunters have only lost three games this year, and two of them have been in similar circumstances – against a Top 5 side from South East Queensland. But they were earlier in the year when it looked like second season syndrome was kicking in.
But the Hunters had previously never beaten Easts, and they turned that statistic around last weekend. The week before they saw off Townsville to complete the season double over them. In fact, they have not lost since Round 6, and only a draw at Redcliffe stopping a double figure winning streak.
Either way this guarantees to be a game to please, and picking a winner is almost as difficult as working out which play either team will use next.
Prediction: PNG by 4
This Year: PNG 40 Ipswich 28
Last Year: Ipswich 25 PNG 12
Odds: Ipswich $1.65 PNG Hunters $2.25
Ipswich Jets: 1. Carlin Anderson 2. Marmin Barba 3. Chris Walker 4. Nemani Valekapa 5. Brandon McGrady 6. Josh Cleeland 7. Dane Phillips (c) 8. Josh Seage 9. Landon Hayes 10. Rod Griffin 11. TBA 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Richard Pandia 22. Matt Parcell 15. Kurtis Lingwoodock 16. Billy McConnachie 17. Liam Capewell
Coach: Ben Walker and Shane Walker
PNG Hunters: 1. Stargroth Amean 2. Oti Bland Tony 3. Noel Zeming 4. Edward Goma 5. Adex Wera 6. Israel Eliab (c) 7. Ase Boas 8. Henry Noki 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Esau Siune 11. Brandy Peter 12. Kato Ottio 13. Timothy Lomai 14. Adam Korave 15. Atte Bina 16. Willie Minoga 17. Enock Maki 18. Nickson Borana 19. Warren Glare
Coach: Michael Marum
Townsville Blackhawks v Tweed Heads Seagulls at Jack Manski Oval on Saturday – 4pm
Tweed Heads arrive in Townsville after a three week run of home games in which they were able to beat Top 6 teams Wynnum Manly and Mackay. But that form is a little too late as the Seagulls are virtually out of the running for a finals spot.
Townsville are still in first place, and have only lost once at home this year, to their 2015 nemesis PNG Hunters. Their incredible for and against means that they will be hard to topple on equal points as is the current situation, and with the PNG Hunters playing a hard fixture at Ipswich, they could skip ahead to an effective 2 game lead if they win and PNG don’t. A lead that will be hard to chase down with just three rounds remaining.
So despite the Seagulls’ recent wins, it is hard to see anything other than a Blackhawks win, especially given the near full strength side name, bursting with NRL experience.
Prediction: Townsville by 20
This Year: Tweed Heads 0 Townsville 28
Last Year: N/A
Odds: Townsville $1.17 Tweed Heads $5.00
Townsville Blackhawks: 1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Zac Santo 3. Tom Humble 4. Kyle Feldt 5. Lenny Magey 6. Robert Lui 7. Michael Parker-Walshe 8. Ricky Thorby 9. Anthony Mitchell 10. Daniel Beasley (c) 11. Glenn Hall 12. Kelepi Tanginoa 13. Neville Costigan 14. Ray Thompson 15. Chris McLean 16. Corey Jensen 17. Noel Underwood
Coach: Kristian Woolf
Tweed Heads Seagulls: 1. Ali Grant 2. Nathanael Barnes 3. James Wood (c) 4. Shaun Carney 5. Leva Li 6. Jamal Fogarty 7. Sam Foster 8. Will Bugden 9. Sam Meskell 10. Ethan Price 11. Matt Robinson 12. Blake Anderson 13. Sam Saville 14. Ricardo Parata 15. Tim Cassidy 16. Dane Clarke 17. Jai Ingram
Coach: Aaron Zimmerle
Mackay Cutters v Northern Pride at Stadium Mackay on Saturday – 6pm
A high quality, ultra-competitive game between two North Queensland rivals is on offer in Mackay this weekend.
There is very little to choose between the sides currently, look at the last games between the clubs, however the Pride has the upper hand at the moment as they lie in sixth with 26 points to Mackay 24 points in seventh. A win though for the Pride will give them four points breathing space, and make it very difficult for any other side to make the finals. A win to the Cutters opens up the finals race for themselves as they will leapfrog the Pride and helps others stay in the race too, so Cutters fan and neutrals will be hoping for a home win.
Hard one to tip, away teams have won the last two games, all the more reason to tip the home side.
Prediction: Mackay by 2
This Year: Pride 10 Mackay 12
Last Year: Mackay 16 Pride 18
Odds: Mackay $1.72 Pride $2.10
Mackay Cutters: 1. Sam Clune 2. Blake Atherton 3. Ben Jones 4. Justin Tavae 5. Buchanan Rawhiti 6. Cameron Cullen 7. Liam Taylor 8. Brad Lupi 9. Josh Chudleigh 20. Pulou Vaituutuu 11. Brenden Treston 13. Chris Gesch (c) 10. Steve Rapira 12. Tyson Martin 15. Joss Boyton 18. Ryan Kinlyside 14. Aleki Falepaini 16. Mitch Day
Coach: Kim Williams
Northern Pride: 1. Linc Port 2. Javid Bowen 3. Brett Anderson (c) 4. Justin Castellaro 5. Luke George 6. Ryan Ghietti 7. Sam Obst 8. Jack Svendsen 9. Jason Roos (c) 10. Patrick Kaufusi 11. David Murphy 12. Graham Clark 13. Ben Spina 14. Keelan White 15. Tom Hancock 16. Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 17. Brent Oosen
Coach: Joe O’Callaghan
Sunshine Coast Falcons v CQ Capras at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Sunday- 1.40pm
(Live on Channel 9)
The Falcons proved their improvement in 2015 last weekend with a good win over the Magpies at Davies Park. In fact their recent form is very good with two wins from their last three games, and their only loss was a very narrow one in PNG. Not bad for a side who won just the one game last year.
The Capras themselves have only won once in 2015, and missed a big opportunity against second last Norths in Rockhampton last weekend. The Devils ended up winning quite comfortably, and with the Capras unable to turn it around against that opposition, it is hard to see them doing it in more difficult circumstances for the remainder of the season.
The Falcons turnaround can coincided with their link up with the Melbourne Storm, and they have a handful of those players named for them this weekend. On that alone they look the goods on Sunday.
Prediction: Sunshine Coast by 20
This Year: Central 24 Sunshine Coast 36
Last Year: Sunshine Coast 0 Central 36
Odds: Sunshine Coast $1.22 Central $4.25
Sunshine Coast Falcons: 1. Ben Hampton 2. Rowan Klein 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Young Tonumaipea 5. Travis Robinson 6. Kurt Mann 7. David Oakes 18. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 9. Billy Brittain 10. Ryan Hansen 11. Paul Ivan 12. Jaz Nahu-Main 13. Tom Murphy (c) 14. Jon Platt 15. Johnny Vuetibau 16. Mboya Adams 17. Jye Ballinger
Coach: Glen Dreger
CQ Capras: 1. Reece Baker 2. Jake Ainsworth 3. Marco Delapena 4. Dan Randall 5. Tarrant Mariner 6. Matt Minto 7. Mark Johnstone 8. Gerard Tema 9. Ian Webster 10. Gavin Hiscox 11. Tyson White 12. Rajan Opetaia-Halls 13. Guy Williams (c) 14. Josh Mitchell 15. Nathan Young 16. Dean McAdam 17. Corbyn Kilday 18. Josh Johnston 19. Sam Smith 20. Trai Fuller
Coach: Lionel Harbin
Burleigh Bears v Wynnum Manly Seagulls at Pizzey Park on Sunday – 2pm
The Seagulls will cast their minds back to Round 15 when the Bears snuck up on them, and eventually stole the game in the last moments with a field goal, they will no doubt be looking for revenge and more.
Burleigh have improved in from a few rounds ago where they were the whipping boys of the competition for a few weeks, but their tryless performance against the Pride last weekend will make it hard to think they can beat a side like Wynnum.
But the Seagulls haven’t been in the best of recent form, consecutive losses to Tweed Heads and Ipswich, and a hard fought win against Redcliffe have left them in fourth spot on the ladder. A win for them and loss for Ipswich will see them move into third, so the reward is there for the away side. A loss for Burleigh signals the end of their finals campaign.
Everything points to a Seagulls win.
Prediction: Wynnum by 12
This Year: Wynnum 24 Burleigh 25
Last Year: Burleigh 10 Wynnum 28
Odds: Burleigh $4.00 Wynnum $1.25
Burleigh Bears: 1. Talor Walters 2. Kevin Gordon 3. Jamie Dowling 4. Connor Broadhurst 5. Dimitri Pelo 6. Christian Hazard 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Nathaniel Peteru 9. Chad Redman 21. David Hala 11. Tyron Haynes 12. Ayden Lee 13. Darren Griffiths (c) 14. Sam Swift 15. Louie Fanene 16. Mitch Sharp 17. Josh Ailaomai
Coach: Jim Lenihan
Wynnum Manly Seagulls: 1. Patrick Templeman 2. Peter Gubb 3. Matthew Grieve 4. Mitchell Buckett 5. Greg Eden 6. Matt Smith 7. Mathew Seamark 8. Ben Shea 9. Alehana Mara 10. Tim Natusch (c) 11. David Stagg 12. Jon Grieve 13. Mitchell Frei 14. John Te Reo 15. Brendon Gibb 16. Aaron Rockley 17. Tanu Wulf
Coach: Jon Buchanan
Redcliffe Dolphins v Souths Logan Magpies at Dolphin Oval on Sunday – 2pm
The scenario is simple for Redcliffe, they must keep winning to make the finals. They were competitive against Wynnum last weekend despite not winning, but anything less than the 2 points will spell the end of the finals hopes. As is stands a win may only be holding off the inevitable for another week.
The Dolphins have been in great form of late, they have seen of the Cutters in impressive fashion two weeks ago, and have been the only side to take a point away from the Hunters since Round 6 when they drew 28-28. But they have left their run too late in 2015.
Souths Logan will be disappointed they lost the game and 11th place on the ladder to the Sunshine Coast last weekend, but despite some of the recent improvements, they haven’t improved like Redcliffe have in the last few weeks who should run out easy winners.
Prediction: Redcliffe by 18
This Year: Souths Logan 28 Redcliffe 34
Last Year: Redcliffe 34 Souths Logan 6
Odds: Redcliffe $1.25 Souths Logan $4.00
Redcliffe Dolphins: 1. Marlon Doak 2. Josh Beehag 3. Tom Opacic 4. Aaron Whitchurch 5. Curtis Johnston 6. John Brady 7. Luke Capewell (c) 8. Charlie Faingaa 9. Darcy Etrich 10. Jon Green 11. Nick Ritter 12. Anthony Cherrington 13. Trent Richardson 14. Shane Pumipi 15. Tyson Cleal 16. Harley Aiono 19. Josh Rudolph
Coach: Troy Lindsay
Souths Logan Magpies: 1. Josh Bowen-Bowyer 2. Tim Brooks 3. Scott Doyle 4. David Faamita 5. Dan Russell 6. Jack Joass 7. Rhys Jacks 8. Tikiko Noke 9. Travis Waddell 10. Andrew Edwards 11. Joe Boyce 12. Daniel Tamou 13. Phil Dennis (c) 14. Ben Thorburn 15. Aotealofa Tuimavave 16. Sam Gardel 17. Leon Panapa 18. Ihaka Watene 19. Ken Levu
Coach: Josh Hannay