By Daniel White
As we head into the first week of the Intrust Super Cup Queensland we have six teams looking to end their season with an all expenses trip to be the curtain raising act. Six teams, the PNG Hunters who will most likely be denied the right to host a game next week, Redcliffe Dolphins who were one point behind the hunters. Easts Tigers who get to host the disappointing Townsville Blackhawks and the Sunshine Coast Falcons who will enjoy home ground advantage of the inconsistent Souths Logan Magpies.
Who out of these six teams will get to play in the ISC Grand Final. Whose fans should be buying tickets for Suncorp Stadium for the last Sunday in September. Who from the lower four can challenge the Minor Premiers and Runner up after their weekend off. First off, we need to compare each teams head to head during the season.
The PNG Hunters record for clashes defeated the Tigers, beat the Magpies by 2, lost to the SC Falcons away, defeated the Dolphins in a close game at home, smashed the Blackhawks, defeated the Magpies, lost to the Dolphins, and beat the Blackhawks. So a 6-2 record, with some valuable away game victories.
The Redcliffe Dolphins record was a loss to the Tigers, defeated the Blackhawks, fell just short against the Hunters, defeated the SC Falcons, smashed the Magpies, lost to the Blackhawks, beat the Tigers, defeated the Magpies, loss to the SC Falcons, and beat the Hunters. With a 6-4 and a lot of games against the top performing sides and yet still had the best for and against record.
Easts Tigers managed to win draw with Falcons, lost to the Hunters, beat the Dolphins, beat the Blackhawks in Townsville, lost to the Magpies, loss to the Dolphins, beat the Falcons by 1, and smashed the Magpies. 5-3 including a win over their first Finals opponent in the Blackhawks.
The SC Falcons recorded, Draw with Easts, lost to the Magpies, beat the Hunters at home, lost to the Dolphins, loss to the Blackhawks, close loss to the Tigers, beat the Dolphins and finished with a strong win over the Blackhawks. 3-4-1 including an early round loss to their opponent this week in the Magpies.
Souths Logan achieved defeated the SC Falcons, close loss to the Hunters, lost to the Dolphins, beat the Blackhawks in Townsville, beat Easts, loss to the Hunters, loss again to the Dolphins, and a bad home loss to the Tigers. 3–5 including losses to the Hunters and Dolphins accounting for four of the five black marks in the losing column.
The Townsville Blackhawks lost to the Dolphins, lost to the Tigers, lost to the Magpies, lost to PNG, a win against the Dolphins, defeated the Falcons, lost again to the Hunters and got smashed by the Falcons. With 2 wins and 6 losses against the top teams, the Blackhawks failed to show up when playing the better teams.
With all this information, what do we see. The Hunters should be confident in making the final dance. The Dolphins and Tigers are closer than most would consider, but I do still favour the Dolphins as they proved to be a high scoring powerhouse. Both the Tigers and Falcons could cause an upset, but if PNG gets at least one home game before the ruling heads unfairly remove their well-earned home ground advantage, then it should not happen.
A Grand Final between the Minor Premiers and the best attack in the game is what this season deserves. I would love to the Hunters be the victors, but both teams are more than capable of representing the North against the Refs favourites from NSW.
Our experts also have their go at predicting the 2017 Intrust Super Cup Grand Finalists, and explain their thoughts below.
You can also follow the fixtures, results, and much more at at our Intrust Super Cup Match Centre.
BRENDAN O’FARRELL – CEO Intrust Super
Grand Finalists: Easts Tigers v Redcliffe Dolphins
“Not sure how it will all pan out but I think Redcliffe could be there. Could well be Easts v Redcliffe final – if the fall out from the draw allows it.
I reckon after the weekend it will be PNG, Redcliffe, Easts and Sunny Coast.”
SCOTT SATTLER – Channel 9 and Penrith Legend
Grand Finalists – Redcliffe v Easts
“Redcliffe to win because their forward pack is the most aggressive but also have the subtle skills and speed to go with it.”
MATT CROWHURST – Tigers TV
Grand Finalists – Easts Tigers v TBC
SHANNON MEYER – Nothing But League Contributor and PNG Hunters Enthusiast
Grand Finalists – PNG Hunters v Redcliffe Dolphins
“Head says Redcliffe v Easts, heart says PNG Hunters v anyone. So I’m going with a combination of both.
In fact it would be a dream final as a Redcliffe supporter by birth, and a converted PNG Hunters follower since their admission in 2014.
The only worry for the Hunters is their 0-3 finals record, and their home form has been a little shaky this year. If the QRL don’t allow a home final if they lose their Week 2 fixture, they may be doing the Hunters a favour. It would be a great story if they can do it, and get some new admirers on NRL Grand Final day.
Redcliffe and Easts are powerhouses and in great form. The Dolphins have the best pack, but the Tigers the best halves. Both are hardly lacking in the other either.
The Falcons can beat anyone on their day, as proved last weekend as they tore apart the Blackhawks, but their patchy form leading into the finals gives doubts. Souths Logan too are a great side but haven’t beaten either of the top two which they will need to do if they want to make the Grand Final. Townsville have plenty to offer still, but the loss of Carlin Anderson will hurt.”
INTRUST SUPER CUP FINALS SCHEDULE + RESULTS
Elimination Final 1 – Sunday, September 3
Sunshine Coast Falcons 26 v Souths Logan Magpies 18
at Sunshine Coast Stadium – 1.30pm* (Live on Channel 9)
Elimination Final 2 – Sunday, September 3
Easts Tigers 20 v Townsville Blackhawks 16
at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park – 2pm
Final 1 – Sunday September 10
Easts Tigers v Sunshine Coast Falcons
at Suzuki Stadium Langlands Park – 1.30pm* (Live on Channel 9)
Final 2 – Sunday September 10
PNG Hunters (1st) v Redcliffe Dolphins (2nd)
at National Football Stadium – 3pm
Final 3 – Sunday September 17
Loser Hunters/Dolphins v Easts Tigers/Sunshine Coast Falcons
GRAND FINAL – Sunday September 24
Redcliffe Dolphins/PNG Hunters v Winner Final 3
at Suncorp Stadium
INTRUST SUPER CUP WINNER ODDS
Courtesy of UBet
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS $2.75
PNG HUNTERS $3.00
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS $4.25
EASTS TIGERS $4.50