Tight race to the finish line for finals hopefuls
(Round 6 team lists can be downloaded below.)
SOME coaches have likened the competitions to a sprint; and this weekend the Mal Meninga Cup and the Cyril Connell Cup will reach the penultimate round of matches – with places in the finals series still up for grabs in both age groups.
A perennial powerhouse in both competitions – the Townville Stingers are the only club who are yet to be defeated so far – with both the Under 16 and Under 18 sides recording four wins from four games. A bye in round 1 sees both teams sit at the top of their Pool B tables with 10 points – which should be enough to see them once again play in the finals.
They do have their challengers however – especially in the Meninga Cup, with the Central Crows only one win behind them on eight points. Following the bye this weekend, the Sunshine Coast Falcons will automatically move to eight points – putting pressure on both those teams to perform well in the final round.
In Pool A; it is the Norths Devils who are setting the pace, having won four of their five matches so far. Another club that has experienced a high level of success in these highly-regarded competitions, they are well experienced in playing these vital matches.
However, they too have other clubs snapping at their heels, with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls, the Redcliffe Dolphins and Gold Coast Green all just one win behind them on six points.
This weekend, Wynnum will face Souths Logan on Friday night, while both the Dolphins and Green will play Sunday matches with Redcliffe to host the Devils in what promises to be a quality match-up. Green will to travel to play Ipswich.
In the Cyril Connell Cup pools, the competition for a finals place is just as intense – with the Northern Pride pressing to take top spot off the Stinger before the final round, where they are guaranteed two points with a bye.
The Mackay Cutters, who play the Pride this weekend and the Toowoomba Clydesdales in the final round, are also a chance of claiming a top two spot in Pool B.
In Pool A, Ipswich and the Souths Logan Magpies share the competition lead with eight points from four wins each. The two teams played in round 4, with Ipswich claiming the spoils with a 16-8 win.
Gold Coast White and Gold Coast Green (seven points) and Easts Tigers (six points) are right behind them on the ladder – ensuring the final rounds will remain full of intrigue. However, with White hosting the Tigers this weekend, that result will go a long way in deciding the fate of the losing team.
The finals series will begin on the weekend of April 19-20, with the top two teams in each Pool making it through.
The top ranked team from Pool A will play the number two team from Pool B, while the highest ranked Pool B team will face off against the second team from Pool A.
The winner of each match will then go through to the State Final, with the winning state champion next getting the opportunity to play against their NSW counterparts to decide the National Final winner.
The dates and venues for the finals series matches will be confirmed shortly and announced via the QRL website at www.qrl.com.au.