Country Week preview: ISC Round 20
BURLEIGH BEARS v EASTS TIGERS
Pizzey Park on Saturday, August 3 - 2pm
Referee: Chris Butler
Head to Head: Burleigh 21 Easts 14 Drawn 2
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #ISC #BEARSvTIGES
The Bears stormed home in the final minutes of their game against a star-studded Mackay outfit last weekend to claim a 26-26 draw. While the finals are out of reach, the Bears will be keen to finish the later stages of the season on a high. They will also want to turn around their recent poor record at home at Pizzey Park, where they have lost six of their past seven matches, including their last four games. Dan Kerr comes in at fullback for the Bears with Anthony Don who scored four tries last weekend selected on the wing for the Gold Coast Titans. Sam Irwin will also play for the Titans while Mark Ioane is out with a knee injury, with Dane Clarke and Tommy Gordon coming into the side. The Tigers are set to welcome back two players from injury with centre Shane Neumann and prop Mitch Garbutt both named. Neumann replaces Michael Kai, with Queensland Residents skipper Tim Glasby also named in the second row. Liufau Hala and Dane Hogan who suffered a heavy knock in last weekends win over the Ipswich Jets are the players who make way. Tigers forward Liam McDonald (Burleigh/Souths Logan/Mackay) will run out for his 100th Cup game.
QRL Media tips: Easts Tigers by 6. The Tigers were impressive against the Jets last weekend and they should have too many points in them for the under-strength Bears.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS v CQ CAPRAS
Bassett Park, Roma on Saturday, August 3 - 4pm
Referee: Nick Kalpakidis
Head to Head: Redcliffe 26 Central 6 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #ISC #PHINSvCQC
The Dolphins enter this match with three important wins under their belt which have kept their finals flame flickering. This is another key game for the Phins, who have to win the majority of their remaining matches to remain a chance. The Capras too will still be entertaining thoughts of finals football and this is a must-win match for them after they were thwarted by a late penalty goal to lose to the Norths Devils 24-22 last weekend. Redcliffe have a dominant record against the Central Queensland team with the Capras unable to topple them since 2009. However, the two sides did play out a 24-24 draw in their match earlier this year. The Dolphins have been forced to make one change, with forward Nick Slyney called up to the Broncos bench with Alex Simpson slotting into his place. The Capras too have been required to adjust their team with a shoulder injury to prop John Clayton ruling him out of action for up to three weeks. Sione Tongia has been named to start in the front-row while interchange forwards Mick Esdale and Brent Williams have been drafted onto an extended bench. In the halves, Darcy Etrich comes in to the halfback role in place of Blake Wallace.
QRL Media tips: Redcliffe Dolphins by 6. The Dolphins seem to have recovered some self-belief and have won three tight games in the row. The Capras might feel down about their chances following last weeks cruel loss.
NORTHS DEVILS v MACKAY CUTTERS
Green Energy Sports Park, Airlie Beach on Saturday, August 3 - 4pm
Referee: Chris Anderson
Head to Head: Norths 7 Mackay 5
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #ISC #DEVILSvMC
They are describing this match as footy in paradise but there is still plenty of work to do for both teams in Airlie Beach. The Cutters took their foot off the gas last weekend to allow Burleigh to claim a last-gasp draw; while the Devils were somewhat fortunate to have gotten away with a two-point win over the Capras. Norths can re-enter the top five with a win here, while Mackay now have a number of teams breathing down their necks in their quest for a top-three finish. The Cutters have made a host of changes to the side with NRL call-ups and injuries having a large bearing on the make-up of the team. Tariq Sims and Jason Taumalolo are both in the NQ Cowboys 17, while Rory Kostjasyn has been named on an extended bench. Clint Greenshields has not been named in either team while Chris Grevsmuhl is out with a knee injury. Centre Curtis Rona has been named to return to the side in place of Chris Ulugia, with Tyson Martin, Dave Petersen, Kelvin Nielsen, Matt Constantinou and Karl Davies the other players coming into the team. For Norths, Mark Vaio and Troyden Watene havent been named this week but Broncos pair Scott Anderson and Jarrod Wallace are in the programmed team.
QRL Media tips: Mackay Cutters by 4. After last weekends scare the Cutters should refocus and continue their push for a top-of-the-table finish with a win here.
IPSWICH JETS v WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS
Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba on Sunday, August 4 - 2pm* (Live on Channel 9)
Referee: Clayton Sharpe
Head to Head: Wynnum 18 Ipswich 13 Drawn 3
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #ISC #JETSvWYN
The Queensland state league returns to Toowoomba this weekend when the Ipswich Jets and Wynnum Manly Seagulls meet for their Country Round match in the Garden City. The Seagulls will make the trip up the range with heavy hearts following the passing of Graham Murray. Well-liked and respected in rugby league circles, Murray had a strong association with the Seagulls club and was to coach the side this year before he suffered ill health. With both teams coming out of round 19 losses there is much at stake in this match especially for the Jets who slipped out of the top five after their 38-18 loss to the Tigers last weekend. While the Seagulls are still holding on to their top three spot they suffered a disappointing 24-0 defeat at the hands of Tweed Heads last weekend and will look to claim back some vital winning momentum. The Jets hope to have key halfback Ian Lacey back from injury, and if he takes the field it will be his 150th game Cup game. Wynnum Manly centre Jason Moon is also set to reach a milestone, with Sundays game his 100th for the Seagulls. Bronco Corey Norman, who played in the No. 14 jersey last week, has been named at five-eighth for the Seagulls.
QRL Media tips: Wynnum Manly Seagulls by 4. There is a school of thought that Sundays winner will march into the finals and the loser will do it tough. That may not turn out to be the case but there can be no denying just how important this encounter is.
SUNSHINE COAST SEA EAGLES v TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS
Woodford Showgrounds on Sunday, August 4 - 2pm
Referee: Nick Morel
Head to Head: Tweed 7 Sunshine Coast 2
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #ISC #SCSEvTHS
Sundays match will carry extra significance for Sunshine Coast twins Callum and Rowan Klein. The talented brothers will chalk up their 50th appearances for the Sea Eagles and in a further thrill, the honour will take place at their junior club. The Kleins played their junior footy with the Stanley Rivers club at Woodford, which is hosting an Intrust Super Cup game for the first time. While competitive in most matches, the Sea Eagles have lost 14 in a row and will be eager to avoid another defeat. They will need to be at their very best against the Seagulls, one of the form teams of the competition after wins over the Burleigh Bears, Easts Tigers and Wynnum Manly. The Tweed have also won their past five matches against the Sunshine Coast, the most recent of those a 44-24 result at Piggabeen in round 11. Slippery utility Marmin Barba is set to return on the bench for the Seagulls, but they may not have the services of Titans players Ryan James and Luke ODwyer with the pair likely to return to the NRL.
QRL Media tips: Tweed Heads by 8. The Seagulls have the form on the board and should get the job done, but they need to be wary of the talented Klein brothers, who have a lot to play for this week and could spark at upset.
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES v NORTHERN PRIDE
Jilara Oval, Yarrabah on Sunday, August 4 - 2.30pm
Referee: Michael Gordon
Head to Head: Pride 10 Souths Logan 4
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #ISC #SLMvPRIDE
Home grown stars Hezron Murgha and Noel Underwood will receive plenty of attention when they return to Yarrabah on Sunday with the table-topping Pride. Fullback Murgha is one of the real entertainers of the Intrust Super Cup, while Underwood is a versatile forward who rarely turns in a bad performance for the Pride. The presence of both players will add to the excitement in what will be a fabulous occasion for the people of Yarrabah, a small Aboriginal community located about 50 kilometres to the east of Cairns. The Jason Demetriou-coached team is ticking all the boxes in its quest for this years title. But the Pride wont want to drop their guard against the Magpies, who are virtually playing to keep their finals hopes alive after a 33-30 loss to Redcliffe last weekend. The Magpies always seem to aim up against the Pride, particularly in matches which have been played away from their respective home grounds. In 2011, the Magpies upset the Pride 40-22 at Bamaga while in last years match at Mount Isa, the Pride snuck home 28-26 on the back of a final minute penalty goal.
QRL Media tips: Northern Pride by 4. The unfancied Magpies should push the Pride all the way, but its hard to overlook the northern powerhouse at this stage of the season.