The Intrust Super Cup Finals Series kicks off this weekend in Townsville, as the first of the knock out games is played between 2015 Grand Finalists in Townsville Blackhawks and Ipswich Jets at Jack Manski Oval.
HOW DID THEY GET HERE?
Townsville lost out in the three-way battle with Redcliffe and Burleigh for the minor premiership. Key back to back losses against those teams in the late rounds the main reason they are now playing knockout football.
By Round 19 finals looked unlikely for Ipswich, they had won just two of their last seven, but an upset win over Redcliffe in Round 20 was the beginning of a five game winning run to the end of the season. This saw them leapfrog the PNG Hunters in the very last game of the season against Norths after the Hunters tumbled the night before against the Capras. In the end they got the final top six spot on fora and against.
2018 SEASON PERFORMANCE
TOWNSVILLE – 3rd – W15 – L8 – For 571pts (4th Best) – Against 348pts (1st)
IPSWICH – 6th – W13 – L10 – For 554pts (5th Best) – Against 505pts (9th)
WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO
Any game that the Ipswich jets are involved in should be entertaining at the very least, and their 2015 Premiership proved that it can lead to wins.
Speaking of the Jets 2015 title win, the Townsville Blackhawks were their victims back on the 2015 Grand Final day, so there could be a hint of revenge on Townsville’s mind.
It will be a fascinating battle of the backlines, Townsville have the big advantage on the NRL experience of Zach Dockar-Clay and Jaeleen Feeney in the halves, but no team in the Intrust Super Cup has speed to burn like Ipswich’s back three of Michael Purcell, Wes Conlon and Marmin Barba. Hopefully this leads to many points being scored and maximum entertainment on a Saturday afternoon.
But for all of Ipswich’s famed attack, they are up against the team with the best defensive record in the competition this season, and the games between the two sides this season haven’t been the high scoring free for all they could be.
2018 HEAD TO HEAD
R2 – IPSWICH JETS 20 Townsville Blackhawks 18
R18 – TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 22 Ipswich Jets 14
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Instead of going with the obvious choice of the flashy headline grabbing players, since it is finals time, why not go with a main man in the engine room for players to watch.
For Ipswich, it is prop and captain Nat Neale, who is having arguably his best season in the intrust Super Cup. Not only is he a go to man for hard yards, but this season has also seen him become a regular try scorer for the Jets. And a swag of player of the match awards it seems every time they’re on TV.
Townsville’s hard man of choice is Dan Beasley, the captain of the Blackhawks back in 2015’s near miss. He has worked his way back into the side after a journey to French rugby league and will start at lock for this Saturday’s clash.
BRENDAN O’FARREL – CEO INTRUST SUPER
SHANNON MEYER – ISC ENTHUSIAST