The first of two knockout finals for the Intrust super Cup finals series kicks off on the Sunshine Coast on Sunday for the Sunshine Coast Falcons and Souths Logan Magpies, the sides that finished the regular season in 4th and 5th respectively.
The winner will survive another week and face off next weekend against the winner of the other Elimination Final – Easts Tigers and Townsville Blackhawks. The loser can book a venue for Mad Monday celebrations.
Both sides have claims to win the big game, the Sunshine Coast were right at the top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder for the first half of the season, and it looked like they were going to be the minor premiers until a late season run of indifferent results saw them fall behind Easts, Redcliffe and the Hunters. Souths Logan have been in the Top 6 for most of the season, but always looked more likely for the bottom half of the top 6 than the upper half.
LAST TIME OUT
Both sides were impressive last weekend in the last week of the regular season.
The Sunshine Coast had the visit of fellow top 6 side Townsville Blackhawks, and they gave them a large loss to think about, and sent a message to the rest of the competition that the Falcons best was back.
Souths Logan were not to be outdone as they picked up another great win on the road as they defeated the in form Mackay Cutters in Mackay 32-18. Three bursts of two quick tries at a time by the 56th minute ensured that Magpies were on their way to a very good win over a very good side.
There are some great match ups everywhere, but for this match I think the focus should be on the halves.
The Sunshine Coast have the excellent Melbourne Storm affiliated Scott Drinkwater and occasional NRL player in 2017 Ryley Jacks, Drinkwater in particular impressed many in last weekend’s big win over Townsville.
Souths Logan have loads of experience in Matt Minto, who was a close season signing for the Magpies, and one could argue the best recruits of the season as his experience has lifted the Magpies from fringe top 6 side to genuine Top 6 finals competitor. Sam Scarlett, a recruit from Penrith for 2016 has also been great for the Magpies this season and has been the perfect accompaniment for Minto in 2017.
With a reasonably matched forward pack, that added little spark from one of the halves could prove all the difference, and perhaps from an experienced hand such as Minto.
Both sides have plenty of quality, a by product of their NRL feeder arrangements with Melbourne Storm (Falcons) and Brisbane Broncos (Magpies).
The Magpies previous win on the coast this season, their away form (8-2), and the Falcons recent indifferent results before last weekend’s big win over the Blackhawks gives courage to tip an upset here.
Sunshine Coast have loads of quality, and you could argue have the Magpies covered in most positions, any side who can leave Guy Hamilton out of the top 17 has plenty to offer. But if you overlook last weekend’s win their recent form isn’t great, and has been patchy for months.
A Sunshine Coast win could set up an all Melbourne Storm feeder party next weekend if the Falcons and the Tigers got get wins this weekend, which would be a very interesting head to head for the second week of the finals.
So an upset it is to start the 2017 Intrust Super Cup finals series.
Souths Logan by 4.
2017 HEAD TO HEAD
R2 – Sunshine Coast 12 Souths Logan Magpies 22
Live on Channel 9 Brisbane @ 1:30pm
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS $1.52
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES $2.55 (START +5.5 $1.90)
Sunshine Coast Falcons
1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Matthew Soper-Lawler 3. Christopher Lewis 4. Justin Olam 5. Jeremy Hawkins 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Ryley Jacks 18. Tui Kamikamica 9. Brandon Smith 10. Liam McDonald 11. Jye Ballinger 12. Dane Hogan (c) 13. Harrison Muller 14. Alex Bishop 15. Lachlan Timm 16. Jon Grieve 17. Martin Cordwell 19. Guy Hamilton 20. Sam Burns 21. Christian Morris
Coach: Craig Ingebrigtsen
Souths Logan Magpies
1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Cameron Booth 3. Lenny Magey 4. Scott Doyle 5. Luke Archer 6. Matt Minto 7. Sam Scarlett 8. AJ Tuimavave 9. Travis Waddell 10. Sam Lavea 11. Brendon Gibb 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Phil Dennis (c) 14. Jordan Scott 15. Simione Fatafehi 16. Rhys Melville 17. Jordan Mago 18. Jack Anderson 19. Paul Rokolati 20. Matthew Parata
Coach: Jon Buchanan