Each week during the Intrust Super Cup, Matt Crowhurst will give his verdict on the main points to come out of the competition.
This week we provide a catch-up on Four Pointers from previous weeks.
Four Pointers – Round 6
RESPECT MUST BE EARNED
Respect must be earned, not demanded. It’s a lesson most of us learnt in our youths. However, according to his players, at least one Intrust Super Cup coach needs a refresher in this lesson.
STORM CLOUDS OVER THE BAY
When an experienced team, bursting with talent and players who are in, or have recently been in, professional systems starts its season with two wins and three losses questions get asked. When it loses at home (it’s fourth loss of the season) and in so doing hands the bottom of the table team its first win of the season those questions become almost deafening and people start demanding answers.
WHAT YOU LIKE
Over the last two weeks we have learnt what you like. Originally ‘Four Pointers’ was intended to be a purely analytical look at results and form. However the response since we have started talking about the people in our game has been overwhelming. Rest assured we will keep delivering what you are enjoying. Keep those phone calls and messages coming.
IF AT FIRST YOU FAIL, TRY, TRY AGAIN
One Intrust Super Cup side recruited heavily over the summer to strengthen their forward pack. An unfortunate run of injuries has prevented their new pack from playing even one minute together. Unperturbed though they have good back to the marketplace and are hoping to add another big body forward from Sydney to their ranks. We will keep you informed.
Four Pointers – Round 5
DEMISE A BLESSING
The demise of the National Youth Competition has been an absolute blessing for our competition. Jake Clifford will be the rookie of the year, Kotoni Staggs is a point scoring machine who does not shirk the tough stuff and Payne Haas and Patrick Carrigan have ‘NRL player’ written all over them. We might have been denied the pleasure of seeing these, and many other exciting and talented young players, in action if the NYC was still in existence.
COACHING A BOTTOM LINE BUSINESS
An ISC coach once told me that “coaching is a bottom line business, not many guys (coaches) get to choose when they finish up” and of course he’s right. Twenty two men (if you count the Walker brothers as one ‘coach’) have coached ISC teams since 2015. Only the Walker brothers, Michael Marum, Kristian Woolf and Jimmy Lenihan are coaching the same teams they were coaching in 2015. The real question is who will be the first coach punted in 2018? One veteran ISC coach is unhappy with a perceived lack of resources and prospects at his current club and is looking at his options for 2019. Expect a change there. However he may not be the first coach to be moved on in 2018,
GOONDI HERE WE COME
This weekend the Country Round venues were announced. This fantastic initiative features, in it’s seventh season, sees a raft of exciting clashes at country locations. We will be heading out to Goondiwindi to watch the Tigers and Dolphins go at it following yesterday’s 32-16 demolition of the Tigers by the Dolphins. The Dolphins were
red-hot and relentless, while the Tigers had ‘one of those’ days. No team likes to lose at home and it will be a long thirteen weeks for Scott Sipple and his men as they wait for the chance to right yesterday’s wrongs.
FEARLESS PREDICTION TIME
The competition may still have an ‘early season’ feel about it, however in reality Round Six (this weekend) represents the quarter mark in the competition and patterns are starting to appear. With that in mind, here are our fearless predictions. We’d love to hear yours.
Tweed Heads and the Cutters will spend the rest of the season battling to avoid the wooden spoon. We expect them to win a maximum of four games, total between them all year.
The defending Premiers will not make the top 6. The team they beat in the final may make the 6 but they will only be making up the numbers if they do.
In no particular order we think the top 6 teams come seasons end will be – Burleigh, Norths, Souths, Redcliffe, Townsville and either Easts or the Falcons.
Four Pointers – Round 4
THE MAKYBE DIVA OF THE INTRUST SUPER CUP?
What is happening in north Queensland? The North Queensland Cowboys are currently 12th in the NRL (1 win, 3 losses); the Townsville Blackhawks and the Mackay Cutters have the same win/loss record and sit 10th and 13th respectively in the ISC. Only the CQ Capras (7th) are flying the flag slightly higher and their record is an equally unimpressive 2 wins and 2 losses. Now, admittedly, no one was expecting much from the Cutters or the Capras, however people who know tell me the Cowboys should be doing a lot better in the NRL. And we all understand that the Townsville Blackhawks, with a squad boasting no fewer than 9 former NRL players, should be doing a Makybe Diva on this year’s ISC. What’s doing FNQ?
HOME GROUND ADVANTAGE IS NOT MUCH OF AN ADVANTAGE
While this weekend’s results could lead you to believe that home ground advantage is a real advantage (6 of 7 home teams won this weekend), the truth is not so clear-cut. Across the first four rounds of the competition only 56% of games have been won by the home team. That is not exactly an overwhelming advantage.
MONEY DOES NOT BUY SUCCESS
Of the three teams who have the biggest recruitment budget in the ISC none have managed a positive win/loss record to start the season. A record of 2 wins and 2 losses is the best you will find, with the other two teams only managing 1 win and three losses each.
YOU HEARD IT FIRST #HUMBLEBRAG
After Round 3 we told you that a particular ISC halfback was playing for his future. The axe fell faster than even we expected and he did not play in Round 4. This weekend, with their new halfback, the scored a big win.
Four Pointers – Round 3
WHO WOULD BE A TIPSTER?
This competition is near impossible to tip. Anyone who managed to tip all the winners this round, please contact me. I need to discuss next week’s Lotto numbers with you. Congratulations to the Northern Pride for securing the biggest upset of the season so far in defeating the Blackhawks in Townsville.
THE REAL DEAL
The Bears, the Devils and the Magpies are all the real deal this season and they all, even this early in the season, appear finals bound. Conversely Michael Marum needs to do something quickly to arrest an alarming slide in his Hunters. They will always be tough at home, but last season they won on the road. You need to be able to win on the road to amass enough points to make the finals; right now the Hunters do not look capable of doing this.
ALL THE RAZZLE DAZZLE AND A LITTLE BUMP AND GRIND
The Jet’s, as famous as they are for their ‘razzle dazzle’ football, have proven they can grind it out when needed. The addition of big Ben Shea to a pack that already features Nat Neale and Tyson Lofipo represents very smart recruiting. Add in ‘Husky’ Teutau and you have an imposing and talented pack. Also, note down the name Jayden Connors, the young hooker/fullback has blistering pace and great vision and could be a star of the future.
PLAYING FOR HIS FUTURE
Who is the Intrust Super Cup halfback playing for his future? With his third ISC club and after stints in three different NRL systems (without ever actually playing NRL), he is now very definitely playing for his future. He has had success at this level in the past however that may not be enough to save him after a poor start to the season.
Four Pointers – Round 2
GET ON BURLEIGH
I’ve been big on Burleigh for a while now and they despatched Redcliffe comprehensively on Saturday. They already had a stellar forward pack – Matt White, Luke Page, Blake Leary and Josh Ailaomai, the addition of Ben Hannant too that pack is more than a little mouth-watering. The man they call Polar Bear only played 6 minutes on the weekend but Burleigh scored twice in those 6 minutes. If he can stay fit they start to look like the premier pack in the competition.
TWO NEW GRAND FINALISTS?
Will we be looking for two new Grand Finalists in 2018? Early season form suggests we will. It is rare, in any code, to say that a grand final rematch is unappealing, however this weekends Round Three clash between the 8th placed Hunters and 10th placed Falcons is exactly that, unappealing. It is too soon to start talking about seasons being on the line however, neither team will be happy with their start to the season and they will both be desperate to find form this weekend.
UNEXPECTED GAME OF THE ROUND
This weekends clash between the South Logan Magpies and the North Devils all of a sudden looks like being an unexpectedly good battle as two undefeated teams go head to head. If you are free at 3pm on Sunday get to Davies Park, this could be a classic encounter.
THE JETS ARE NOT TO BE UNDERESTIMATED
The Jets are not to be underestimated. They did not make many people’s Top 6 this year and looked unconvincing in Round One. However is accounting for the Blackhawks this weekend they have done something not many teams will do this year and have reminded everyone that they are a force to be reckoned with and intend on being part of the big games at season’s end.