Just two rounds to go, and there’s still plenty to play for in the Intrust Super Cup. Teams like Redcliffe and Mackay are still holding onto the smallest of finals hope, both of which can be thwarted by the Northern Pride if they beat Norths in far flung Bamaga.
The battle for the minor premiership continues between Townsville and PNG Hunters, and Ipswich and Easts jostle for positions inside the top 6. That and all of the sides out of finals contention are looking for wins to finish off their season.
Plenty to play for competition wide.
Here’s the current ladder.
1. TOWNSVILLE 39 points (F/A +476) 2. PNG HUNTERS 39 (+211), 3. WYNNUM 32 (+176), 4. IPSWICH 32 (+158), EASTS 30 (+201), 6. NORTHERN PRIDE 28 (+32), 7. REDCLIFFE 25 (+131), 8. MACKAY 24 (+64), 9. BURLEIGH 22 (-253), 10. TWEED HEADS 21 (-71), 11. SUNSHINE COAST 19 (-139), 12. NORTHS 16 (-290), 13. SOUTHS LOGAN 15 (-182), 14. CENTRAL 6 (-514).
Sunshine Coast Falcons v Townsville Blackhawks at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday – 2.30pm
Saturday’s opening clash of the Intrust Super Cup is the first clash between the Falcons and the Blackhawks after their earlier clash was abandoned in the aftermath of the James Ackerman tragedy. There have been much better times for the Falcons, and they were set for 4 wins from 5 games last weekend until Burleigh got over them in the second half.
Townsville meanwhile were the beneficiaries of a second half comeback last weekend as they overpowered the Ipswich Jets in Charters Towers. The win kept them equal on points with the PNG Hunters ahead but ahead on the ladder with their enormous for and against difference.
Both of these sides benefit from feeder club arrangements, and the Sunshine Coast have named quite a few of their Melbourne contracted players. Townsville too have their Cowboys contracted players and this game looks a lot closer than the $6.00 v $1.12 suggests.
Townsville with the minor premiership have that little bit more to play for and that just might make the difference.
Prediction: Townsville by 6
Odds: Sunshine Coast $6.00 Townsville $1.12
Sunshine Coast Falcons: 1. Sam Wright 2. Rowan Klein 3. Young Tonumaipea 4. Hymel Hunt 5. Travis Robinson 6. Ben Hampton 7. David Oakes 17. Jordan McLean 9. Billy Brittain 10. Ryan Hansen 11. Paul Ivan 12. Jacob Samoa 13. Tom Murphy (c) 14. Jay Lobwein 15. Johnny Vuetibau 16. Mboya Adams 18. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs 19. Jaz Nahu-Main 20. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
Coach: Glen Dreger
Townsville Blackhawks: 1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Zac Santo 3. Tom Humble 4. Kyle Feldt 5. Samsen O’Neill 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. Corey Jensen 16. Lorenzo Ma’afu 17. Rhyse Martin
Coach: Kristian Woolf
Mackay Cutters v PNG Hunters at Stadium Mackay on Saturday – 6pm
The PNG Hunters arrive in Mackay on a high, a big win over a top 6 opponents in front of a sell out crowd in Port Moresby that were whipped into a frenzy by the second half comeback.
Mackay on the other hand have now lost four straight including a surprise loss to Norths in Country Week, and that run has seen them slide out of the top 6 and almost out of finals contention. They remain a mathematical chance of finals, but must win, and there could hardly be a harder opponent on current form.
Both teams have much to play for, but a loss will hurt the Cutters more than the Hunters, who are guaranteed a top 2 spot regardless of the last two weeks of the season. That means it will probably be very close, and recent form may just see the Hunters sneak home.
Prediction: PNG by 2
This Year: PNG 26 Mackay 24
Last Year: Mackay 20 PNG 4
Odds: Mackay $3.40 PNG $1.31
Mackay Cutters: 1. Liam Taylor 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Ben Jones 4. Justin Tavae 5. Buchanan Rawhiti 6. Aleki Falepaini 7. Sam Clune 8. Brad Lupi 9. Josh Chudleigh 10. Pulou Vaituutuu 11. Tyson Martin 12. Chris Gesch (c) 13. Steve Rapira 14. Joss Boyton 15. Brenden Treston 17. Josh Osborne 18. Ryan Kinlyside
Coach: Kim Williams
PNG Hunters: 1. Stargroth Amean 2. Oti Bland Tony 3. Noel Zeming 4. Thompson Teteh 5. Adex Wera 6. Israel Eliab (c) 7. Atte Bina 8. Henry Noki 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Esau Siune 11. Nickson Borana 12. Kato Ottio 13. Timothy Lomai 14. Lawrence Tu’u 15. Roger Laka 16. Willie Minoga 17. Edward Goma 18. Warren Glare 19. David Lapua 20. Enock Maki
Coach: Michael Marum
CQ Capras v Souths Logan Magpies at Browne Park on Saturday – 7.30pm
Central continue their winless run, and last week was the same as so many weeks before with the Central Capras competitive, and even leading at some stage, but not being able to hang on for a most needed victory.
The visitors are Souths Logan who are winless in 5 rounds, and have really tailed off in the latter stages of the season since their mid season run of wins culminated in a win over the Northern Pride in FNQ. That has seen them drop all the way to second last leaving this clash the battle of the cellar in the Intrust Super Cup.
I’m loathe to tip Central as it only brings bad luck for them, but for one last time this year I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
Prediction: Central by 4
This Year: Souths Logan 48 Central 12 (@ Miriam Vale)
Last Year: Central 14 South Logan 36
Odds: Central $3.10 Souths Logan $1.36
CQ Capras: 1. Reece Baker 2. Jake Ainsworth 3. Marco Delapena 4. Sam Smith 5. Tarrant Mariner 6. Matt Minto 7. Mark Johnstone 8. Gerard Tema 9. Ian Webster 10. Gavin Hiscox 11. Dan Randall 12. Rajan Opetaia-Halls 13. Guy Williams (c) 14. Corbyn Kilday 15. Nathan Young 16. Josh Johnston 17. Tyson White 18. Josh Mitchell
Coach: Lionel Harbin
Souths Logan Magpies: 1. Jack Joass 2. Matt Trnka 3. Josh Damen 4. Tim Brooks 5. Mitch Hallinan 6. Ben Jackson 7. Rhys Jacks 8. Tikiko Noke 9. Ben Thorburn 10. Andrew Edwards 11. Scott Doyle 12. Daniel Tamou 13. Phil Dennis (c) 14. Jack Walters 15. Jack Anderson 16. Sam Gardel 17. Leon Panapa
Coach: Josh Hannay
Redcliffe Dolphins v Easts Tigers at Dolphin Oval on Sunday – 1.40pm* TV GAME
Redcliffe’s last season revival continues, and they still remain a mathematical chance of finals football. Step 1 in that plan is that they need to win both of their remaining games. With Easts arriving this weekend, that will be a hard task. Step 2 is relying on the Northern Pride to lose both of their games including this week against Norths. A lot of ducks need to align, but they are in enough form to at least take care of their end.
But the Tigers are always tough to play against. And their second half of the season has seen them rise up the ladder, all the way to 5th and are now just 2 points off third, and with a superior points difference to the two teams above them, they are still a chance of third, and at least fourth which will supply a home final. A prospect that few teams will relish.
There’s nothing in it as the odds show, and the recent home form of the Dolphins looks like they hold the slightest of advantages. Either way the viewers at home should be plenty entertained given some of the last TV games offered by these two sides.
Prediction: Redcliffe by 1
This Year: Easts 12 Redcliffe 19
Last Year: Redcliffe 24 Easts 12
Odds: Redcliffe $1.90 Easts $1.90
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. Harley Aiono 13. Tyson Cleal 14. Shane Pumipi 15. Joe Bradley 16. Tom Geraghty 17. Taylor Brown
Coach: Troy Lindsay
Easts Tigers: 1. Donald Malone 2. Michael Kai 3. Shane Neumann 4. Mahe Fonua 5. Richard Kennar 6. Shaun Nona 19. Brentt Warr 8. Liam McDonald 9. Tommy Butterfield (c) 10. Francis Tualau 11. Dwayne Craft 12. Jake Foster 13. Troy Giess 14. Mathew Pitman 15. Matthew Zgrajewski 16. Dayne Weston 17. Billy Walters
Coach: Craig Ingebrigtsen
Norths Devils v Northern Pride at Yusia Ginau Oval, Bamaga on Sunday, August 23 – 2pm
In the week after Country Week the Intrust Super Cup have outdone themselves for a remote location this weekend as the Norths Devils take their home game to within 40km of actual Cape York in Bamaga. It works out to be the competition’s 28th different venue for the year, so kudos for the QRL for sharing the love and really giving the grassroots some attention.
Norths enjoyed the Country Week adventure last weekend with a surprise win over Mackay in Dalby, and this week are chasing a third straight win for the first time this year.
The Northern Pride need just one win from the next two weeks to cement sixth place, and lost ground to Redcliffe last weekend with a loss to their now nearest competitors. Their recent form overall has been good, and considering they lost their first five games, their current position is some achievement.
Strangely though, the Pride have lost twice when the home side has taken a game closer to Cairns (Souths Logan and Redcliffe), could be an interesting omen for the Devils. And the Dolphins.
Prediction: Norths by 6
This Year: Pride 42 Norths 10
Odds: Norths $3.10 Pride $1.50
Norths Devils: 1. Luke Pollock 2. Michael Lucas 3. Joel Bailey 4. Ryan Millard 5. Rogan Dean 6. Dan Murphy 7. Liam Tyson 8. Matt Mizzi 9. Byron Creighton 10. Billy Solah 11. Kristian Wanka 12. Brett Greinke (c) 13. Krys Freeman 14. Will McNee 16. Rhett Webster 20. Dylan Smith 17. Josh Afoa
Coach: Mark Gliddon
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. Vaipuna Tia Kilifi 12. Graham Clark 13. Ben Spina 14. Jordan Biondi-Odo 15. Tom Hancock 16. Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 17. David Murphy
Coach: Joe O’Callaghan
Tweed Heads Seagulls v Ipswich Jets at Piggabeen Sports on Sunday – 3pm
The weekend finishes off in a familiar location for a Sunday, at Piggabeen for the Tweed Heads v Ipswich clash.
Ipswich come into this game after a tough run of playing the all the other Top 6 teams since Round 16, and a run which saw them only win the once from these top 5 games. They were in prime position to beat Townsville last weekend with a big half time lead, but were not able to hold on. Ipswich like Wynnum, who have the bye this week, will now be looking over their shoulder to Easts in fifth.
Tweed Heads can’t make the top 6, but have won three of their last four, and one of those games were against their namesake rivals from Wynnum in round 20.
There’s plenty of value for the Seagulls, and we’ll always take that when it is offered.
Prediction: Tweed Heads by 8
This Year: Ipswich 32 Tweed Heads 16
Last Year: Tweed Heads 32 Ipswich 28
Odds: Tweed Heads $3.50 Ipswich $1.30
Tweed Heads Seagulls: 1. Ali Grant 2. Nathanael Barnes 3. James Wood (c) 4. Shaun Carney 5. David Sheridan 6. Jamal Fogarty 7. Sam Foster 8. Will Bugden 9. Sam Meskell 10. Ethan Price 11. Jai Ingram 12. Blake Anderson 13. Sam Saville 14. Ricardo Parata 15. Shane Gillham 16. Dane Clarke 17. Anthony Colman
Coach: Aaron Zimmerle
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. Matt Parcell 10. Rod Griffin 11. Fakahoko Teutau 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Richard Pandia 14. Landon Hayes 15. Kurtis Lingwoodock 16. Billy McConnachie 17. Liam Capewell
Coach: Ben Walker and Shane Walker