NORTHERN PRIDE v IPSWICH JETS
Saturday, September 10 – 5.30pm * streamed live at www.northernpride.com.au
Under-strength Ipswich faces a massive challenge to avoid an early execution against the defending premiers in the third semi-final to be played on Saturday. Without fearless skipper Keiron Lander and the anticipated absence of several front-liners, the Jets face a daunting assignment against a Northern Pride outfit which became the first team to beat the minor premiership-winning Tweed Heads Seagulls last Friday night.
The Jets have endured a disrupted preparation and the 17 for the trip to Cairns won’t be finalised until several players undergo fitness tests at training tonight. To avoid a season-ending loss, Ipswich will have to somehow find the grunt in the middle to match motors with a much bigger and more experienced Pride forward pack led by representative players Luke Harlen and Joel Riethmuller.
The Jets, drifting $17 outsiders to win a maiden Queensland Cup premiership, will also have to overcome a horror record against the Pride. In their four previous visits to Cairns, the Jets have returned home with just one victory – way back in 2008. In fact, Ipswich has only beaten the Pride once in their past six meetings since their 08’ semi-final win over the northerners at Briggs Road. But despite that record and the injury setbacks, Ipswich co-coaches Shane and Ben Walker will ensure the Jets won’t die wondering. Led by in-form five-eighth Brendon Lindsay, the patched up Jets beat Wynnum Manly 40-10 last weekend to give their supporters some hope.
The settled Pride outfit enjoyed a few days off after the win over Tweed and have made just the one change it its line-up with Noel Underwood making his way on to the bench in the place of Aidan Day. Pride players Harlen and Brett Anderson are both set to achieve career milestones this weekend, with Harlen playing his 50th Queensland Cup game overall (Pride and North Queensland) and Anderson his 50th game for the Pride (and 64th overall, having also played for North Queensland). Following a successful trial last weekend, the game will be streamed live and is available by visiting www.northernpride.com.au
Head-to-Head: Pride 5 Ipswich 3 Drawn 1
Head-to-Head Finals: Ipswich 1 Pride 0