Just four rounds to go as Intrust Super Cup Round 21 looms, and with the competition so tight for finals positions, every game matters.
It is a funny weekend with a lot of the games featuring match ups between sides that are a long way apart on the ladder or recent form.
But last weekend saw five of the top six sides beaten, so anything can happen in rugby league, and it usually does.
The best of Intrust Super Cup Round 21 awaits.
TIGERS CHARGING INTO FINALS CONTENTION
Not too long ago the Easts Tigers were beaten 32-0 in Townsville by the Blackhawks and their continued presence in the finals looked in danger. A run of five wins in their last six games sees them now into 5th place, and with the best for and against of all the sides in the midfield.
They take on the Tweed Heads Seagulls this weekend who have lost four of their last five matches, and as a result have gone in the opposite direction to the Tigers, currently sitting six places further away despite only being two competition points away. The big difference is for and against, the Tigers have a 242 point advantage over Tweed Heads.
Both sides have some big NRL talent lining for them this weekend, two of them have the potential to be superstars of the game. Tweed Heads have named former Penrith forward Bryce Cartwright in the second row, whose move to the Titans isn’t quite working out. The Tigers team sees halfback Brodie Croft playing at halfback, and surely some of the backline will get their chance in the coming seasons. Scott Drinkwater in particular one to watch after a great season for the Tigers.
Easts were beaten by Tweed earlier in the year, but a double seems unlikely as the Tigers keep pushing further up the table.
HUNTERS NEED TO KEEP UNBEATEN DAVIES PARK RECORD TO CONTINUE FINALS PUSH
The PNG Hunters seem to enjoy playing at Davies Park, it is one of the venues that they haven’t been beaten on yet since their arrival to the competition in 2014.
They are slowly coming into the form that took them to a minor premiership last season, with four wins from their past five games. Plus they seem to have a nice settled line up with a good mix of experience and exciting new talent for 2018. They have beaten a number of top six sides the last month.
Whether it will be good enough to replicate their winning feat from last season is debatable, their away form is the main worry. They can certainly start improving that statistic this weekend at a ground where they have yet to taste defeat, and face the Magpies on a dreadful run of results. Souths Logan have now lost seven of their past eight, and they finally fell out of the top six last weekend.
It all points to more Hunters success this weekend.
EVERY GAME MATTERS
The rest of the fixtures have some importance as the race for all of the top six spots heat up. A brief rundown on them all is below.
A tricky game awaits Townsville for the TV game this weekend as they take on the Norths Devils at Bishop Park. They are on a roll at the top of the Intrust Super Cup table, however were slowed down a little last weekend at Davies Park winning by only 16-6, and Norths at Bishop Park should provide a similar test. Norths have lost two in a row now, but did have a big win at home three games ago against Central. Both teams can’t really afford to drop a game this weekend, Norths need to cling onto hopes of a top six finish, and the Blackhawks have games against Redcliffe and Burleigh coming up the next two weeks.
A crucial midfield battle at North Ipswich Reserve is on Saturday between the Jets and the Sunshine Coast Falcons. Both sides won last weekend, and coincidentally by the same 15-14 scoreline. Ipswich could draw level with the Falcons on points if they win, and a loss will see them struggle for a finals spot. Sandor Earl has been named on the wing, which is great news considering he was injured last week and looked likely to miss games.
Despite going down 15-14 last weekend to the Falcons, the Northern Pride still held onto 4th on the Intrust Super Cup ladder, and will be determined to stay there ahead of the chasing pack. They have to do it without star half Jake Clifford who has made himself at home at the Cowboys, a just reward for a great season. Central Capras have now lost three in a row and can’t make the finals, but have a bit to build on for next season.
Saturday’s final game at Dolphin Oval looks to be the most lop-sided on paper, Redcliffe sitting second on the ladder, and Mackay last and winless for months. However Mackay come to Brisbane and plundered a win against Norths, and Redcliffe are certainly beatable at home after recent losses to Ipswich and the Pride. Taking a look at the spines, you could also argue that Mackay’s 1-6-7-9 is better than the Dolphins. A loss for Redcliffe and win for Blackhawks could just about seal a minor premiership for Townsville.
Sunday’s other game is at Pizzey Park, and similar to game above it looks lop-sided on paper if you look at the ladder. But diving a bit deeper, you find that the Bears have lost three of their last four, and have struggled recently for wins at home. This is good news for a Wynnum side who have a better than 50% strike rate on the road this season, and they come into the game after a strong win at home over the Capras. Another potential banana skin for a top six side this weekend.
Intrust Super Cup Round 21 Games
Norths Devils v Townsville Blackhawks at Bishop Park, Saturday – 1.10pm (TV GAME Channel 9)
Ipswich Jets v Sunshine Coast Falcons at North Ipswich Reserve, Saturday – 3pm
Northern Pride v CQ Capras at Barlow Park, Saturday – 3pm
Easts Tigers v Tweed Heads Seagulls at Suzuki Stadium, Saturday – 4pm
Redcliffe Dolphins v Mackay Cutters at Dolphin Stadium, Saturday – 6pm
Burleigh Bears v Wynnum Manly Seagulls at Pizzey Park, Sunday – 2pm
Souths Logan Magpies v PNG Hunters at Davies Park, Sunday – 3pm
Intrust Super Cup Round 21 Predictions
BRENDAN O’FARRELL – CEO INTRUST SUPER
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES
ADRIAN VOWLES – FOG
SHANNON MEYER – ISC CONTRIBUTOR
Intrust Super Cup Round 21 Teams
Norths Devils v Townsville Blackhawks
1. Jack Ahearn 2. Namila Davui 3. Luke Pollock 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Paul Ulberg 6. Gary Riccardi 7. Troy Dargan 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 9. Alex Bishop 10. Riley Leota 11. Oshae Tuiasau 12. Brandon Lee 13. John Palavi (c) 14. Guy Williams 15. Sam Tagataese 16. Carne Doyle-Manga 17. Michael Sio 19. Jack Miers 18. Iain Riccardi
1. Zachary Santo 2. Carlin Anderson 3. Shaun Hudson 4. Ty Carucci 5. Kalifa Faifai-Loa 6. Zach Clay 7. Jaelen Feeney 8. Francis Molo 9. Krys Freeman 10. Rod Griffin 11. Jake Marketo (c) 12. Temone Power 13. Corey Jensen 14. Daniel Beasley 15. Brenden Santi 16. Andrew Davey 17. Joe Boyce
Ipswich Jets v Sunshine Coast Falcons
1. Michael Purcell 2. Marmin Barba 3. Richie Pandia 4. Isimeeli Hafoka 5. Wes Conlon 6. Chris Ash 7. Dane Phillips 8. Tyson Lofipo 9. Jayden Connors 10. Nat Neale (c) 17. Billy McConnachie 12. Ben White 13. Ben Shea 11. Rowan Winterfield 14. Sam Caslick 16. Huskie Teutau 19. Mitch Carpenter C
Coach: Ben Walker and Shane Walker
Sunshine Coast Falcons
1. Matt Soper-Lawler 2. Sandor Earl 3. Justin Olam 4. Christopher Lewis 5. Iliesa Ratuva 6. Rhys Jacks 7. Ryley Jacks 18. Lachlan Timm 9. Harry Grant 10. Jacob Hind 11. Dane Hogan (c) 12. Thomas Eisenhuth 13. Tui Kamikamica 14. Lachlan Roe 15. Louis Geraghty 16. Sam Burns 17. Caleb Daunt
Northern Pride v CQ Capras
1. Jack Murphy 2. Shawn Bowen 3. Brett Anderson 4. Javid Bowen 5. Gideon Gela-Mosby 6. Jordan Biondi-Odo 7. Jack Campagnolo 8. William Bugden 9. Ryan Ghietti (c) 10. Sheldon Powe-Hobbs 11. Graham Clark 12. Ethan Lowe 13. David Murphy 14. Interchange Connor Jones 15. Emry Pere 16. Darryn Schonig 17. Troy Kapea 18. Tom Hancock 19. Nathan Wales
1. Zeik Foster 2. Junior Kirisome 3. Connor Broadhurst 4. Nathan Bassani 5. Chanel Seigafo 6. Blake Goodman 7. Jack Madden (c) 8. Oliver Percy 9. Billy Gilbert 10. Brad Lupi 11. Jerry Key 12. Dave Taylor 13. Jamie Hill 14. Wade Carra 15. Luke George 16. Aaron Flanagan 17. Tyson White 18. Maipele Morseau
Easts Tigers v Tweed Heads Seagulls
1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Linc Port 4. Marion Seve 3. Shane Neumann 5. Jarrod McInally 6. Billy Walters 7. Brodie Croft 8. Dave Tyrrell 9. Brandon Smith 10. Brett Greinke 11. Jake Foster (c) 12. Patrick Kaufusi 13. Jack Svendsen 14. Tommy Butterfield 15. Matthew Groat 16. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 17. Conor Carey 18. Chris Ostwald 19. Ash Little
Tweed Heads Seagulls
1. Alex Grant 5. Kiah Cooper 3. Talor Walters 4. Kody Parsons 2. Ryland Jacobs 6. Lindon McGrady 7. Kane Elgey 20. Kalani Going 9. Eli Levido 18. Leilani Latu 11. Lamar Manuel-Liolevave (c) 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Maia Sands 8. Tristan Lumley 14. Tevita Folau 15. Jack Cook 16. Kirk Murphy
Redcliffe Dolphins v Mackay Cutters at Dolphin Stadium, Saturday, August 4 – 6pm
1. Trai Fuller 2. Jonus Pearson 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Tom Opacic 5. Josh Beehag 6. Bryce Donovan 7. Cameron Cullen (c) 8. James Taylor 9. Jake Turpin 10. Sam Anderson 11. Toby Rudolf 12. Scott Schulte 13. Jamil Hopoate 14. Aaron Whitchurch 15. Samson Graham 16. Tom Geraghty 17. Hugh Pratt
Coach: Adam Mogg
1. Lachlan Coote 2. Yamba Bowie 3. Nathan Saumalu 4. Blake Atherton 5. Johnny Faletagoa’i 6. Kyle Laybutt 7. Nicho Hynes (c) 8. Jordan Grant 9. Cooper Bambling 10. Nicholas Brown 11. Kellen Jenner 12. Brenden Treston 13. Bennett Leslie 14. Jayden Hodges 15. Lona Kaifoto 16. Jye Andersen 17. Jack Brock
Burleigh Bears v Wynnum Manly Seagulls at Pizzey Park, Sunday, August 5 – 2pm
1. Kurtis Rowe 2. Troy Leo 3. Sami Sauiluma 4. Joshua Berkers 5. Toby McIntosh 6. Dylan Phythian 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Luke Page 9. Pat Politoni 10. Matt White 11. Jamie Dowling 12. Hayden Schwass 13. Sam Coster 14. Jeff Lynch 15. Kai O’Donnell 16. Matthew Robinson 17. Jess Savage 18. Tyler Sparkes 19. Darius Farmer
Wynnum Manly Seagulls
1. Daniel Ogden 2. Jack Goodsell 3. Jeriah Goodrich 4. Delouise Hoeter 5. Edward Burns 6. Shaun Nona 7. Patrick Templeman (c) 8. Patrick Carrigan 9. Mitch Cronin 10. Keenan Palasia 11. Til Vea 12. Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard 13. Max Elliott 14. Jayden Berrell 15. Stedman Lefau 16. Salesi Funaki 17. Lachlan Lee 18. Aaron Rockley 19. Alex Barr
Souths Logan Magpies v PNG Hunters
Souths Logan Magpies
1. Corey Allan 2. Benaiah Bowie 3. Lenny Magey 4. Dan Russell 5. Paul Rokolati 6. Guy Hamilton 7. Sam Scarlett 8. George Fai 9. Travis Waddell 10. Thomas Flegler 11. Brendon Gibb 12. Patrick Mago 13. Phil Dennis (c) 14. Manaia Cherrington 15. Sam Lavea 16. Daniel Tamou 17. Simi Fatafehi
Coach: Jon Buchanan
1. Edene Gebbie 2. Junior Rau 3. Thompson Teteh 4. Adex Wera 5. Brendon Gotuno 6. Ase Boas (c) 7. Watson Boas 8. Enock Maki 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Moses Meninga 11. Row Nixon Putt 12. Willie Minoga 13. Stanton Albert 14. Charlie Simon 15. Ila Alu 16. Mekenzie Yei 17. Dilbert Issac 18. Butler Morris 19. Patrick Morea 20. Silas Gahuna