The Intrust Super Cup is back this weekend after a week off for international and interstate duties, and there were plenty of ISC players who showed their worth over the weekend.
Players like Jahrome Hughes, Herman Ese’Ese impressed in the Queensland Residents loss to their NSW counterparts, and the Kumuls win over the Fijians featured a plethora of talent from this year’s competition, and a few from last year’s too in Rod Griffin and Kato Ottio.
With the Origin period looming, there’s never been a better time to shine in the Intrust Super Cup, as there will be gaps to fill in the Broncos and Cowboys, and the players who have graduated so far this season have not looked out of place.
There’s six game on offer this weekend for the Indigenous Appreciation Round, and too many highlights to talk about here, so enjoy the preview from the Nothing But League team below.
CAPRAS HUGE TASK IN TOWNSVILLE AGAINST LEADERS
Round 10 kicks off with the Townsville Blackhawks hosting their Central Queensland Cousins in the Capras. Whilst the Blackhawks fought out a tough draw with Burleigh the weekend before the representative round, the Capras fell to Tweed Heads and would have appreciated a long break to help wash away the bad form displayed in that game.
The Blackhawks are the form side this season, and whilst the draw to Burleigh was not what they wanted, they are one of the few teams without a bye so far this season and had been away for four of the last five games and so fatigue would have been a factor. With the break taken, they will look to head back on to home ground and set the next phase of the season in process as they rack up some wins before the State of Origin period takes some of their core away to prop up the Cowboys.
The Capras would have been upset with their last outing, it was a team and a game they would have put in the possible win column and they did not come to play. They will have spent the time off, working hard to fix the issues exposed and will not be the same team from a fortnight ago.
It is the Mitchell boys at hooker this weekend, and whilst Ant and Josh do not look like brothers, it is because they are not. But both are going to be critical in driving their team forward. Ant Mitchell is back from representing Queensland in the Residents match and will be happy to be working with MPW and getting the Blackhawks well on to the front foot. Josh is looking at keeping the hooking role for the Capras after his promotion in round 7.
Blackhawks should be too good for anyone at home this season if they maintain their current form. Final Score: Blackhawks 34 Capras 12.
Townsville Blackhawks v Central Capras @ Jack Manski Oval
Kick Off – Saturday 4pm
Last Year – Townsville 50 Central 12 / Central 6 Townsville 46
BURLEIGH HOPING TO CONTINUE MOMENTUM AGAINST AGAINST PREMIERS
Last weekend’s break may have been slightly inconvenient for the Bears who were building momentum after seeing off the high flying PNG Hunters and holding the all-conquering Blackhawks to a draw in consecutive weeks. It’s all part of a run that sees Burleigh play every other side in the top 6 and last year’s premiers in six weeks.
It is a period which will define the club’s chances in 2016, and from what has been of offer in the previous two games, it looks like no problem and they should be well on the way to finals football after a great start to the season which may have surprised a few.
A surprise to some but in the other directions is the Ipswich Jet’s lowly position in 2016. The reigning premiers have won just three times this season and once at home in Round 1. Losses in the off season and injuries haven’t helped, and finals football may be out of reach if there isn’t a turnaround soon.
Ipswich Jets v Burleigh Bears @ North Ipswich Reserve
Kick Off – Saturday 4:15pm
Last Year – Ipswich 18 Burleigh 28
DOLPHINS FACE TOUGH TRIP TO CAIRNS
This is the Sunday TV game for Queensland residents and puts two of the teams that are pushing for the finals against each other. It what should be a game that leaves Bulldogs Tigers match as the cool down rather than them being the warm up as they are two teams that are relatively equally matched and desperate for some points.
The Pride were absent in their last match and the timing of the representative round was very beneficial for Coach O’Callaghan. He would have deleted the replay off the screens as it was not who the team normally plays like and the DVD put in the dumpster where that game deserved to be.
The Dolphins put up a challenge and pushed the PNG Hunters on their home turf just two weeks ago, they are not afraid of travelling and will be providing a serious opponent for the Pride, and they will be wanting to head home with the honours and the points when the final whistle blows.
Khan Ahwang is 12 points ahead of Darren Nicholls on the individual point scorers list as we enter round 10. The big winger has been nailing (almost) every opportunity when running the ball or putting the extras on, Nicholls has been doing the same whilst carrying the half back duties and he will want to be closing the gap on Khan at every opportunity.
The long break was timely for the Pride who did not recover after a tough match with the Blackhawks prior to their last outing. They should bounce back with an 18 – 10 victory over the Dolphins who probably did not want the break to have happened.
Northern Pride v Redcliffe Dolphins @ Barlow Park
Kick Off – Sunday 1:40pm
Last Year – Pride 18 Redcliffe 16 / Redcliffe 34 Pride 26 (Innisfail)
TV GAME – Live on CH9 / WIN
SUNSHINE COAST LOOKING TO COMPLETE GOLD COAST DOUBLE
The Sunshine Coast Falcons were tipped by many to improve in 2016 on the back of a second season under the Melbourne Storm arrangements, and they are currently just hanging onto the Top in seventh and just two points behind fourth placed Redcliffe. They have already beaten the Burleigh Bears on the Gold Coast, and another win on the Gold Coast will give them a third straight win away from home.
Like other teams, the Falcons have lost some of the players to the NRL this year, but that is business as usual for clubs with an NRL feeder side. One key addition in the off season that they have managed to keep so far is halfback Ryley Jacks. Unlucky not to claim the starting halfback gig for the Queensland Residents, the ex-Burleigh halfback has been some of the reason for the Falcon’s rise in 2016, but with Origin on the horizon and a Cooper Cronk to replace, they may lose him for while.
Tweed Heads have been flying under the radar and are just two points shy of the more fancied opposition, so the Falcons will want to continue their 2015 dominance over the Seagulls or their good start to the season could have been seen as slightly wasted.
Tweed Heads Seagulls v Sunshine Coast Falcons @ Piggabeen
Kick Off – Sunday 2pm
Last Year – Tweed Heads 24 Sunshine Coast 28 / Sunshine Coast 49 Tweed Heads 10
MAGPIES AND DEVILS PAY PRICE FOR SUCCESS AS PLAYERS GRADUATE TO NRL
While the Magpies and Devils aren’t at the sharp end of the Intrust Super Cup ladder, their performances have caught the eye so far in 2016, and as a result some of their players have also caught the eye of some NRL teams.
Losses to the Broncos for either side is to be expected around Origin time given the Broncos contribution to the Origin side and the fact both of these teams are Broncos feeder clubs, but between them they supply three of the Broncos squad of 17 this weekend. Travis Waddell and Herman Ese’ese have graduated from the Magpies, and in their appearances for far for the Broncos have not looked out of place.
Joining the Magpies pair as NRL graduates is the Devils Jai Arrow, who impressed enough at last weekend’s Resident game in addition to his 2016 form to warrant a spot on the Broncos bench. Wayne Bennett continues to show his preference for Intrust Super Cup players to fill Broncos voids over the Under 20 players, and is a big boost to current players knowing an opportunity could be just around the corner.
In a further show of these sides worth to the NRL, Norths Devils forward has been signed by the South Sydney Rabbitohs from now until the end of 2017. A great reward for some great form over the past few seasons.
Norths Devils v Souths Logan Magpies @ Bishop Park
Kick Off – Sunday 3pm
Last Year – Townsville 42 Pride 24 / Pride 10 Townsville 52
CUTTERS SEEK BACK TO BACK WINS AT KOUGARI
Wynnum Manly embarrassed the Pride on their home ground and now play host to last up victors the Mackay Cutters. The Cutters had been showing some patches of optimistic form in the month prior, but they surprised themselves with a solid victory over Ipswich and the will be hoping for more of the same when they head on down to Kougari against a side that they are only trailing by a single victory and an upcoming bye.
Wynnum Manly have had a tough start to the season and yet they were stunning against a Northern Pride team that probably did not expect to face such a motivated opponent. The Seagulls forced a number of errors and will be confident that this is a game plan that will work against a lot of teams in the ISC this year. If they bring the attitude from round 9 then they will be tough to beat.
Mackay dropped the gorilla off their back, but it is replaced by a smaller monkey until they can start to rack up some more wins both at home and away. This is a game that they should be ready for, the break is over and they need to start locking down their opponents rather than giving them soft passage out of their own half.
It is a battle once again for the hookers. Both number nines are key in their sides recent improvements. Mitchell Moore swapped from the Centres with Mitchell Cronin and they have picked up two wins from three games. Chudleigh has been easily one of the Cutters best and will need to continue to produce if they are to get their season back in to some shape.
Sorry Wynnum Manly fans, but every time I pick the Cutters they lose and for them I am choosing you to take the points in a very entertaining match.
Wynnum Seagulls v Mackay Cutters @ BMD Kougari Oval
Kick Off – Monday 3pm
Last Year – Wynnum 10 Mackay 28 / Mackay 16 Wynnum 26
MATT PRITCHARD (Editor) (32/54)
Townsville, Burleigh, Redcliffe, Tweed, Souths Logan, Wynnum
DAN WHITE (North Queensland Correspondent) (33/54)
Townsville, Burleigh, Pride, Sunshine Coast, Souths Logan, Wynnum
SHANNON MEYER (SEQ + PNG Correspondent) (31/54)
Townsville, Burleigh, Redcliffe, Sunshine Coast, Norths, Mackay
SCOTT SATTLER (Channel 9 + Penrith Legend) (31/54)
Townsville, Burleigh, Pride, Sunshine Coast, Norths, Wynnum
MATT CROWHURST (Tigers TV) (29/54)
Townsville, Burleigh, Pride, Tweed, Souths Logan, Wynnum
WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME?
|Sunshine Coast Falcons||9||5||0||4||0||5||10|
|Tweed Heads Seagulls||8||3||0||5||1||-61||8|
|Souths Logan Magpies||9||3||0||6||0||-45||6|
|Wynnum Manly Seagulls||8||2||0||6||1||-85||6|