The Queensland Cup is ready to kick off with Round 1 with a Grand Final replay, a new team from Townsville and high expectations which have yet to be evaporated by reality. 7 games, 14 teams and 560 minutes awaits us this weekend, and our preview awaits you below.
If you get a chance, head along to one of the games below, or follow the updates on the twitter feeds from the club listed in our preview. For the Brisbane fans, we suggest the Grand Final replay or the PNG visiting Davies Park as the pick of the views.
TV GAME – IPSWICH JETS v TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS – 1:40pm on GEM.
SATURDAY 4PM – GARY LARSON OVAL, MIRIAM VALE
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES v CENTRAL CAPRAS
Last year – Souths Logan 30 Central 22 (Gladstone).
Odds – Souths Logan $1.80 Central $2.00
The Magpies have taken their home to place that is neither Souths nor Logan as they face the Capras in Miriam Vale. One could say they have moved their game to the far side of Queensland Rugby League, pardon the awful pun based on the name of the ground. Moving their home game to a venue closer to their opponents, the Central Capras, didn’t seem to hurt them last year, and after being well beaten at home by the hurricane of rugby league that is the PNG Hunters, they’ll be hoping that Central Qld is their lucky charm.
Central meanwhile will be hoping to add another victory to their tally after a semi-surprise win against Burleigh last weekend. Central appears to have the superior halves combination plus the added grunt of Broncos young man-mountain Corey Oates and look the likely winners.
A side interest is the battle of the former origin players in the coaches box in Josh Hannay and Jason Hetherington.
TIP: Central by 4.
SATURDAY 5:30PM – BARLOW PARK
NORTHERN PRIDE v SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS
Last year: Northern Pride 36 Sunshine Coast 0
Odds – Northern Pride $1.28 Sunshine Coast $3.65
The premiers will be looking to bounce back after their grand opponents from 2014 avenged their loss in the first TV game of the week last Sunday. Sunshine Coast will be looking to take their late rally against Norths all the way to victory in Cairns.
Both teams however can do nothing about Cyclone Nathan which has forced the game to be postponed.
SATURDAY 6:00PM – STADIUM MACKAY
MACKAY CUTTERS v TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS
Last year: Mackay 8 Tweed Heads 12
Odds – Mackay $2.00 Tweed Heads $1.80
The two sides meet after different fortunes for their away games last weekend. Mackay will be happy to be back in front of their home fans after being the third wheel in the debut win for the Townsville Blackhawks.
Mackay were quite competitive against Townsville, an on a day with less fanfare for the home side may have taken more than frequent flyers points with them home to Mackay.
Tweed Heads though were far more competitive against Redcliffe and took a convincing 44-28 despite being down 16-0 early and 28-20 later, and looked a side well capable of matching their top 5 finishing position of last year.
The seagulls look like they have more points in them than the Cutters, and another win on their northern road trip looks likely.
TIP – Tweed Heads by 8.
SUNDAY 1:40PM – NORTH IPSWICH RESERVE
IPSWICH JETS v TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS
Last year: N/A
Odds – Ipswich $2.00 Townsville $1.80
Townsville were the talk of the Queensland Cup with their great first up win against Mackay last weekend, and given the experience of the Townsville side look every chance of doing it again in Ipswich this weekend. The Blackhawks still have their Cowboys and NRL stars named for this weekend like Neville Costigan, Kyle Feldt and Glen Hall.
Not that Ipswich are short of former NRL stars like Chris Walker and Daniel Vidot, and they will hoping that they can add a little fuel to the Jets this weekend after they let Wynnum pip them in the last minutes of their game last Saturday. All of the stars will be out in force for everyone to see, as this game is the TV game on GEM this weekend for the fans who can’t make it.
For those who can, the match is the annual Defence Force Appreciation Day, a nice touch given the strong relationships both cities and their mascots have with the armed forces. It does beg the question if a Jet can outrun a Helicopter.
TIP – Townsville by 4.
SUNDAY 1:45PM – KOUGARI OVAL
WYNNUM SEAGULLS v EASTS TIGERS
Last year – Wynnum 32 Easts 24
Odds – Wynnum $1.70 Easts $2.12
The first of the local derbies of which there were 4 of last year, which were shared two each. Easts though won the more important later finals clashes to make the Grand Final at the expense of the Seagulls.
It after the first round it looks like it could be a third win straight for the Tigers over the rivals. Both teams did take the two points last weekend, but the Tigers looked the better side as they disposed of the Premiers, whilst Wynnum left it late to beat Ipswich.
It will be the game of choice for the neutral Brisbane-based rugby league fan if free on Sunday, as the atmosphere of the Chook Pen, combined with two good sides and a Sunday afternoon make it the perfect day out for everyone.
TIP – Easts by 6
SUNDAY 2:30PM – BISHOP PARK
NORTHS DEVILS v BURLEIGH BEARS
Last Year – Norths 18 Burleigh 12
Odds – Norths $1.40 Burleigh $2.90
Norths came home triumphant after a quick trip up the Bruce Highway last weekend, but will be worried with the way the Sunshine Coast came home and pushed them hard. Whether Burleigh will provide the same late test is unknown after they were beaten by the Central Capras last weekend.
Another fixture for those in the capital and too scared to cross the river at a traditional Queensland Cup venue in Bishop Park this Sunday.
TIP – Norths by 7.
SUNDAY 2:30PM – KALABOND OVAL
PNG HUNTERS v REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS
Last Year – PNG 43 Redcliffe 36
Odds – Central $1.28 Burleigh $3.65
The PNG Hunters set the Queensland Cup alight last weekend with a win over Souths Logan with their usual exuberant and exciting style, and will be gaining more fans as the season goes on.
A team with no shortage of fans either, Redcliffe, let a lead slip out of the fingers twice last weekend, and the trip to PNG will be as tough a follow up game as any team could want. With ferocious home support which matches their on field performances, the Dolphins will be up against it.
One thing you could probably guarantee for this game based on last weekend games is that there will points and action a plenty.
TIP – PNG by 14.