A weekend of rivalries awaits the Intrust Super Cup this weekend with clashes between geographic rivals, feeder club rivals and other important match ups.
One of the highlights is the all Gold Coast clash between the Tweed Heads Seagulls and Burleigh, which is the weekend’s Live TV game. Another great rivalry this weekend is the Grand Final replay in Townsville. The Blackhawks and Jets flying in opposite directions this season.
Elsewhere the battle of feeder clubs hit Mackay for their clash against the Pride and on the Sunshine Coast for the visit of the Tigers. PNG welcome the Wynnum Seagulls, and Bundaberg welcome both Norths and the Central Capras for a Saturday night in the rum town.
The match by match previews are below.
BATTLE OF THE FEEDER STORM CLUBS
Master v Apprentice, Storm reserves v Storm reserves, call it what you will Saturday afternoons clash between these two teams will be an emotional charged occasion as the teams take time to remember team mates James Ackerman and Grant Giess who both passed away in 2015. Rather than a minutes silence the teams will have a minute’s applause before kick-off.
Sitting in 6th the Falcons will be looking to close the four point gap between themselves and the 5th placed Tigers and to secure their spot in the top six this weekend. They boast a strong pack including new Storm recruit Tui Kamikamica, 100 game man Ryan Hansen, former Tiger Troy Giess and the highly rated pair of Joe Stimson and Pat Hollis. Veteran Paul Ivan has recently returned from a successful sojurn to France and may be included. Injured former Falcons captain Tom Murphy could also be a late inclusion. In the backs Eddie Tautali is always dangerous from fullback, Sam Young is a high flying speedster who will need to be closely marked out wide and Queensland Residents player Ryley Jacks is having a very good season.
The Tigers are having a wretched season with injuries and the pattern has continued in recent weeks. Billy Walters, who has been having an exceptional season, is out with a leg injury suffered against Burleigh. The Tigers welcomed back Javarn White last weekend but lost Tom Butterfield to another shoulder injury. Senior players Jake Foster, Dane Hogan and Matt Zgrajewski were all standouts for the Tigers last week with Foster particularly impressive. All three will need to be at their best this weekend.
Big wingers Dane Chang and Leon Ellia-Niukre made plenty of metres with ball in hand, especially out of their danger zone and will need to be just as strong again.
Sunshine Coast Falcons v Easts Tigers @ Sunshine Coast Stadium
Kick Off – Saturday 3pm
This Year – Easts 24 Sunshine Coast 6
Last Year – Easts 60 Sunshine Coast 12
Live Stream – http://thetigers.com.au/tigertv-live/
BLACKHAWKS AND JETS FACE OFF IN GRAND FINAL REMATCH II
Round two rematch as the Table topping Blackhawks return home after a close loss that would hurt as they had many opportunities to take the points from the Dolphins last weekend. The Jets come in after squeaking out a two-point victory with a second half comeback over the Devils. The round two match was easily taken by the Blackhawks as the Jets adjusted to their new look side, will the intervening weeks have helped?
The Blackhawks will now have Matty Bowen in for the fourth weekend and we should be expecting the team to be able to combine better. With Hughes and Parker-Walshe we should see this team get back into some winning form and they will need to with the Dolphins guaranteed two points and the Bears facing up to Tweed Heads. For and against counts for nothing if you are training on games won.
The Jets are sitting thirteenth, but as Norths discovered, they will be willing to take down any team that does not respect them for the full 80-minutes. With Sebastian Pandia sitting on the opposite wing to Richard Pandia, being the only change to the team, they may well be using the versatile forward to muscle up in defence against the size of the Blackhawks backline. Carlin Anderson was lost to a terrible broken jaw and he will be missed whilst he recovers.
The forwards for both sides will bear the keys to victory this match. Both sides will need to be solid in defence and the Blackhawks have scored many tries out wide thanks to the hard yards completed up the middle. Protecting Hughes and MPW will secure victory for the Blackhawks just as the Jets being able to provide time for Dane Phillips to unleash his damaging game will do the same.
Will the Blackhawks combine? When you look at the talents of MPW, Hughes, Ant Mitchell and Matty Bowen, you know Kristian Woolf has no excuses in attack.
Townsville Blackhawks v Ipswich Jets @ Jack Manski Oval
Kick Off – Saturday 4pm
This Year – Ipswich 18 Townsville 30
Last Year – Townsville 36 Ipswich 28 / Ipswich 36 Townsville 24
BUNDY TO HOST DEVILS HOME FIXTURE
The Devils went down last week in a close game against the underperforming Jets last week and will face up to the Capras, who are inconsistent but slightly better than the Devils. Home ground advantage may be in their favour, but they are not in Bishop Park as they took this game up to Bundaberg.
The Devils are an enigma so far this season, they won their round 2 clash against the Capras in Rockhampton and had some early season form that made you want to tip them, but a solo win in the last 6 rounds is not the form you need. After a strong win over Tweed Heads, you could have considered them back, but last week’s loss was typical and their lack of consistency must be aging the coach with every week.
Capras held on against the other cellar dwellers in the Cutters, but they are capable of scoring points more consistently and it is this difference that to me tips my hand in support for them to take this game. Every possible win is needed by them to catch up to the bottom of the final five and these are the matches they must take, if they are to trouble the leaders, later in the season.
Yorston and Murphy face up to Morseau and Minto in the halves. This battle will be a flip of the coin as both have been both heroes and villains so far and it will come down to who comes ready to play that will decide this battle. The Fullback battle will be equally interesting as Lachlan Maranta faces up to Reece Baker, both show speed and skill. I hope it is a dry night so the crowd can enjoy the display.
Norths Devils v Central Capras @ Salter Oval, Bundaberg
Kick Off – Saturday 6pm
This Year – Central 24 Norths 32
Last Year – Norths 26 Central 24 / Central 10 Norths 38
THIS LOCAL DERBY COULD GO DOWN TO THE WIRE
To paraphrase Admiral Ackbar, this game is a trap. The Pride finally won a game last week after disappointing results over the previous weeks and now face the bunnies of the league, the single victory Cutters. It should be a walk-over, it should be written in ink that this is a win for the Pride. They are five wins clear of them and over 200 points better when it comes to differential.
But the Cutters in recent weeks have kept every team they have played honest. They have been on the wrong side of a number of close games and with a chilly home game come Saturday night, they should be ready for their second win of the season. This game reminds me of their last victory. The Jets were favoured and yet the Cutters turned up and got the two points with a two-point win. The same result would not surprise me for this game.
The Pride are placing their best side on the field as well. Their backline includes NRL level talent in Javid Bowen, Khan Ahwang is kicking the lights out and sitting second on the points scored table, Coen Hess and Patrick Kaufusi are contributing well and yet for some reason I am favouring the local lads.
Tautau Moga and Liam Taylor hold the left side for the Cutters, facing up to Ahwang and Bowen on the outside right for the Pride. If the former can shut down the latter, then the Cutters should take this game. The shuffling in the naming of the hookers and halves may be a cute tactic from the Pride, but the Cutters should also be able to hold their own against the Pride as well.
Mackay Cutters v Northern Pride @ BB Print Stadium Mackay
Kick Off – Saturday 6pm
This Year – Pride 44 Mackay 24
Last Year – Mackay 22 Pride 26 / Pride 10 Mackay 12
BURLEIGH GOING FOR KING OF THE COAST AND INTRUST SUPER CUP THIS WEEKEND
Burleigh’s second round win over the Tweed Seagulls may have come as mild surprise earlier in the season, but a follow up win on Sunday afternoon will almost be successful given their form against all of the top 6 sides this season.
Last year’s rivalry round produced a result that Burleigh would be happy to forget. The 50-4 score line was not after a 78-6 loss to the Townsville Blackhawks, so the progress in 2016 is quite remarkable.
The added bonus is the bragging rights for Sunday’s game is to be regarded as the best team on the Gold Coast for 2016. Burleigh could have that title, a 2016 double over their rival, and the continued share of the Intrust Super Cup ladder if they win, which will give them plenty of inspiration to win at Piggabeen.
Quick Stats – Burleigh have conceded the most points of the teams in the top 7, but their attack has only been beaten by the Blackhawks.
Tweed Heads Seagulls v Burleigh Bears @ Piggabeen
Kick Off – Sunday 1:40pm
This Year – Burleigh 36 Tweed Heads 26
Last Year – Tweed Heads 50 Burleigh 4
TV GAME – Live on Ch9 / WIN
PNG HUNTERS BACK ON TRACK AT HOME
A timely run of home games has got the PNG Hunters back on their feet and within just one point of the lead of the Intrust Super Cup. But the competition points earned may hide the fact that the Hunters aren’t travelling as well as they were this time last year.
By this stage last season the PNG side were in the middle of a steam rolling unbeaten run through the competition which took them all the way to the final series from their loss against the Wynnum Seagulls in April. This year they have already lost one more game than their entire 2015 regular season. Their late snatching of the win last weekend against the Magpies, with two tries in the last five minutes, shows the determination to win is still there, but the wins aren’t coming as easy.
With their home record of no losses in two years in PNG, and the fact they finally broke their away duck against Wynnum earlier this season, it looks a PNG Hunters win on paper. However they may need more than the two competition points for the win. Coming soon is a bunch of games against the other top 5 sides, and so they need to get themselves into form before the big run, otherwise they may risk making an even less meaningful contribution to the final series than last season or may miss it completely.
Quick Stats – PNG have the sixth lowest points scored in 2016 so far. They even trail this week’s opponents Wynnum by 13 points.
PNG Hunters v Wynnum Seagulls @ National Football Stadium
Kick Off – Sunday 3pm
This Year – Wynnum 10 PNG 24
Last Year – PNG 36 Wynnum 13 / Wynnum 36 PNG 18
MATT PRITCHARD (Editor) (52/87)
Easts, Townsville, CQ Capras, Pride, Burleigh, PNG
DAN WHITE (North Queensland Correspondent) (52/87)
SC Falcons, Townsville, CQ Capras, Mackay, Burleigh, PNG
SHANNON MEYER (SEQ + PNG Correspondent) (48/87)
Easts, Townsville, Norths, Pride, Burleigh, PNG
SCOTT SATTLER (Channel 9 + Penrith Legend) (54/87)
SC Falcons, Townsville, CQ Capras, Pride, Burleigh, PNG
MATT CROWHURST (Tigers TV) (54/87)
Easts, Townsville, Norths, Pride, Burleigh, Wynnum
|6||Sunshine Coast Falcons||13||6||1||6||1||249||264||-15||15|
|9||Souths Logan Magpies||14||5||2||7||0||337||356||-19||12|
|10||Wynnum Manly Seagulls||13||5||0||8||1||312||343||-31||12|
|11||Tweed Heads Seagulls||13||5||0||8||1||253||358||-105||12|