PNG HUNTERS v NORTHERN PRIDE
Kalabond Oval, Kokopo on Saturday, March 22 – 2.30pm
Referee: Tim Rutherford
Head to Head: First match
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PNGvPRIDE
The Intrust Super Cup’s top two teams meet in a heavyweight showdown to open round 4. This match is sure to have a bit of everything as the competition newcomers test themselves against the ultra-consistent Northern Pride. Chasing a third-straight win at home and their fourth win in succession, the Hunters will throw everything at the Pride in this one. The home team will roll out a new halves combination, with Noel Zemming coming in at halfback for Roger Laka. Zemming is in sparkling touch, having crossed for a double off the bench in last weekend’s 46-14 win over the Central Queensland Capras. The Pride are aware of the enormity of the challenge that awaits them, but if there is one team that is equipped to handle the humid PNG conditions, it’s the Far North Queenslanders. Jason Demetriou’s team has also won six of their past seven away matches dating back to late last year. Pride front-rower Alex Starmer will play his 100th game for the Pride and co-captain Jason Roos becomes the most capped player in the club’s history, passing Ben Laity’s previous record of 117 matches in the blue, white and orange.
Ben ‘Dobbo’ Dobbin (Triple M) says: Wow, how good are the Hunters? The real test will be this weekend though in the top-of-the-table clash. This will be a smorgasbord of tries. Attack is king with both these sides. Northern Pride by 6.
MACKAY CUTTERS v WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS
Stadium Mackay on Saturday, March 22 – 7pm
Referee: Clayton Sharpe
Head to Head: Wynnum 7 Mackay 5
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #MCvWYN
Defending Intrust Super Cup premiers the Mackay Cutters will go in search of their first win of the season on Saturday night. And their chances have been boosted by the inclusion of talented North Queensland Cowboys outside backs Curtis Rona and Zac Santo. Rona was an integral part of the Mackay team last season, with his form catching the eye of Queensland Residents selectors. A noted flyer with outstanding footwork, Santo adds further class to a Cutters’ backline which has been well contained so far this season. Wynnum Manly coach Jon Buchanan has made one change, with Jeriah Goodrich coming in for the injured Mitchell Moore. The Seagulls suffered a surprise 32-22 loss to the understrength Ipswich Jets last weekend and sit just outside the top five. Wynnum have won five of the past six games against Mackay, although the Cutters won their last clash in 2013. Mackay have not lost two games at home in succession since round 15 last year (18 games) – they lost their last game there against Easts in Round 1.
‘Dobbo’ says: Wynnum Manly will be very upset that they let last week’s game slip against the Jets. Mackay need a win as much as I need a steak! After last week’s bye and some soul searching (bonding), look for a much improved performance from the Cutters. But giant Seagull Dylan Smith might be the difference. Wynnum Manly by 12.
BURLEIGH BEARS v IPSWICH JETS
Pizzey Park on Sunday, March 23 – 2pm* (Live on Channel 9)
Referee: Chris Anderson
Head to Head: Burleigh 17 Ipswich 14 Drawn 2
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #BEARSvJETS
Sunday’s Channel 9 match of the round will see last start winners the Ipswich Jets travel to the Gold Coast’s Pizzey Park to play the Burleigh Bears. The Jets recorded a tenacious victory over Wynnum Manly Seagulls last weekend and have named an unchanged 17 for the round 4 match. However, they may yet make late changes, with several players a chance of returning from injury and suspension. Burleigh Bears have suffered two tight losses and will be eager to bounce back in front of their home fans. The Bears team boasts plenty of strike power, with Gold Coast Titans contracted players Anthony Don, Siuatonga Likiliki and Steve Michaels named in the backline. But coach Carl Briggs is likely to be without former Eels hooker Matt Keating, who is poised to miss a week due to a pectoral injury. Sam Meskell has been named in the No. 9 jersey this week. Ipswich have won their past five games against Burleigh, with the Bears’ last win against the Jets back in July, 2010. However, Ipswich’s away record stretching back to late last year is some concern, as they have only won one of the past seven matches on the road (v Wynnum Manly in the 2013 Elimination Final).
‘Dobbo’ says: Once again the Jets are proving that you don’t need big names to win matches. Team work and belief are the cornerstone to the Ipswich Jets in 2014. There are huge wraps on Ipswich half Haydan Lipp, who is born and bred on the buffel grass at Wandoan. Ipswich Jets by 12.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS v EASTS TIGERS
Dolphin Oval on Sunday, March 23 – 2pm
Referee: Michael Wise
Head to Head: Redcliffe 23 Easts 14 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PHINSvTIGES
Redcliffe coach Troy Lindsay has named an unchanged line-up for this weekend’s game against the Tigers – keeping faith in the side that stood toe-to-toe against the Northern Pride for much of their match last weekend. The visiting Dolphins eventually went down 20-12; bringing their recent history against the Pride to a remarkable 12 losses in a row, surely one of rugby league’s greatest hoodoos. While it was a close encounter up north; the Tigers easily accounted for the Sunshine Coast Falcons last weekend, racking up a 50-6 victory, with Tim Glasby, Jarrod McInally and Cody Walker all scoring doubles. This weekend they will be filled with confidence and will also welcome some key personnel back into their side. Mitch Garbutt returns from a rib injury while Joel Romelo returns from suspension. Liam Tyson and Maeli Seve will play for the Easts Tigers FOGS Cup team. While Redcliffe comfortably hold the advantage in the head-to-head stakes, Easts had the better of last year’s encounters – winning both games. However, the Dolphins did win the four matches played before that and after losing their first home game this season (against the PNG Hunters); they will be looking to once again establish Dolphin Oval as a fortress against visiting teams.
‘Dobbo’ says: The poor old Dolphins! What has happened after 3 rounds? The strongest club in the Intrust Super Cup has struggled a little in the first two games and now they come up against the Tigers. But throw form out the window … Redclifffe are desperate and will win. Redcliffe Dolphins by 4.
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES v TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS
Davies Park on Sunday, March 23 – 2pm
Referee: Rob Gallacher
Head to Head: Tweed 12 Souths Logan 11
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #SLMvTHS
Undefeated Souths Logan will host Tweed Heads on Sunday, with the visiting side looking for their first win of the season. The Magpies snared a hard-fought, come-from-behind 28-26 victory over Burleigh last weekend; while the Seagulls were unable to capitalise on their chances against the Devils and lost 24-12. Magpies coach Josh Hannay has been able to name an unchanged side this weekend. Kurt Baptiste was a welcome late addition last Sunday, scoring a try in his first appearance for the club this year. He will come off the interchange bench and work in tandem with starting hooker Mitch Cronin again this weekend. For Tweed Heads, captain Matt King returns to the hooking role after serving a one match suspension. Sam Irwin, who replaced King last weekend, injured his ankle against Norths and is out. In other changes, Tom Kingston comes in for Ryan James (named on an extended Titans bench) and Beau Henry makes his return after a long injury layoff as five-eighth. Luke Dumas has been omitted. Titan Maurice Blair is also reported to be a late addition for the Seagulls on Sunday.
‘Dobbo’ says: The Souths Raiders, sorry Magpies, have surprised some. Josh Hannay has done a great job so far in his first year of coaching an Intrust Super Cup team. There is lots of rising talent coming through this great club. Look for a strong showing once again. Souths Logan by 4.
NORTHS DEVILS v SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS
Bishop Park on Sunday, March 23 – 3pm
Referee: Tyson Brough
Head to Head: Norths 7 Sunshine Coast 3
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #DEVILSvSCF
One of the oldest clubs in the competition; the Norths Devils will this weekend play their 400th Cup game. The home team will be the third club to reach the milestone behind the Redcliffe Dolphins and Easts Tigers. In that time, they have won 214 games, lost 170 and drawn 15. This weekend’s match will see them take on the Sunshine Coast, with coach Mark Gliddon making minimal changes. Fullback Shaun Carney is to return from injury, while James Geurtjens has been named on the bench for Bronco Jarrod Wallace. Namila Davui is the 19th man. The Sunshine Coast will aim to repeat their success at this ground last year where a field goal saw them claim a 17-16 win – the last time they were able to record a victory. For the Falcons, Tyson Skyring will start at lock in place of Kristian Wanka who wasn’t able to return to the field in the second half of the Falcons’ loss to the Tigers last weekend. Tom Hearn, Sam Broomhall, James Leavai and Brenton Stonier have been added to an extended bench. This will be the 50th Cup game for Norths forward Pat McPherson (Redcliffe/ Norths). Young referee Tyson Brough will make his Intrust Super Cup debut.
‘Dobbo’ says: Undefeated and ready to rumble, the Norths Devils have been super impressive so far this season. Hard running Beachmere junior Tristan Lumley is the wrecking ball of the Intrust Super Cup and more tries could be coming his way this weekend. Norths Devils by 14.
CQ Capras – bye