PNG HUNTERS v IPSWICH JETS
Kalabond Oval, Kokopo on Saturday, August 9 – 2.30pm
Referee: Peter Gough
Head to Head: Ipswich 1 PNG 0
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PNGvJETS #CountryWeek
The PNG Hunters face their moment of truth in Saturday’s crucial match against Ipswich at Kalabond Oval. A loss would almost certainly close the door on their top five aspirations, while a victory would see them close to within one competition point of fifth-placed Jets. Hunters coach Michael Marum has made one change to the team that beat Norths Devils last weekend, with back-rower Sebastian Pandia coming into the side for the injured Noel Zemming. Ipswich will have at least three changes to the team that thumped Mackay Cutters 62-10 in a stunning display at the North Ipswich Reserve last weekend. Fullback Javarn White and centre Nemani Valekapa are both out, while Marty Kennedy is in line to return to NRL duties with the Broncos after a powerful performance against Mackay. Queensland Residents star Rod Griffin returns after a week off and Ben White is the other confirmed addition to the Jets line-up for what promises to be a fascinating contest. PNG have won seven of their past eight at home, while the Jets are unbeaten from their last four away matches.
Ben ‘Dobbo’ Dobbin (Triple M) says: By far the match of the round this week with so much at stake for both teams. Ipswich’s last 30 minutes against the Cutters has been described as the best rugby league to be played on the North Ipswich Reserve in 20 years. Fifty points in the 30 minutes shows just how dangerous the Jets are when they get it right. The Hunters have really hit form and they have had this game marked down for weeks. Tough game to pick. Ipswich Jets by 6.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS v BURLEIGH BEARS
Longreach Showgrounds on Saturday, August 9 – 3.30pm
Referee: Robert Gallacher
Head to Head: Redcliffe 21 Burleigh 18 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PHINSvBEARS #CountryWeek
Redcliffe Dolphins coach Troy Lindsay has named Alex Bishop to make his Intrust Super Cup debut in this week’s Get in the Game Country Week clash against Burleigh in Longreach. Bishop will become the 11th player from Redcliffe’s 2012 Colts premiership side to play first grade for the club. After a month of strong form in FOGS Cup where he picked up two player of the match awards, the grandson of former Great Britain international Tommy Bishop gets his chance to shine at hooker in the top grade. The change might be just the spark the Dolphins require after eight consecutive losses. Redcliffe boast a dominant recent record over the Bears, who have won only one of the past 13 games between these two sides. This will be Burleigh's 400th Cup game – they have won 224, drawn 18 and lost 157. In that time the Bears have lifted two premiership trophies, and they will look to recapture some of that former glory under Jimmy Lenihan who was last week appointed to coach the Pizzey Park club for the next two years.
‘Dobbo’ says: Plenty of fans will be at Longreach to watch this top clash. Both sides won’t feature this year in the finals so it’s all about rebuilding. Could be a trap for the teams – the plane trip might have the feeling of an end of season trip, which spells danger! Both teams will want to win and then enjoy the great town of Longreach. Burleigh Bears by 10.
EASTS TIGERS v CQ CAPRAS
McIndoe Park, Emerald on Saturday, August 9 – 5pm
Referee: Nick Morel
Head to Head: Easts 25 Central 9 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #TIGESvCQC #CountryWeek
The Easts Tigers just keep rolling toward September, with a hard fought win against Souths Logan last weekend moving Craig Ingebrigtsen’s side into second position. With Tweed Heads, Wynnum Manly and Ipswich all snapping at their heels; a victory this weekend in Jacob Ling’s 100th Cup match is vital if the Tigers want to keep their top-two status. They meet a CQ Capras side buoyed by a 40-12 victory over the Falcons; and one who – with no chance of finals action – will be keen to do all they can to spoil the Tigers’ run to September. Eddie Tautali takes Cameron Munster’s place at fullback for the Tigers, while Mitchell Garbutt comes into the starting side for the injured Felise Kaufusi. Liufau Hala, John Puna and Dwayne Craft join an extended bench that sees Foisa Peni out with a broken arm. The Capras meanwhile have named two changes, with Peter Gallen making way for Matt Mizzi to start while Russell Webber takes the vacated spot on the bench. Easts will enter the match with confidence, having won three of the past four meetings between the two sides, including a 34-4 victory in round 15.
‘Dobbo’ says: A danger game for the Tigers at Emerald. This is essentially a home game for the CQ side and they are in good touch after a big win over the Falcons. Easts have all their big guns back firing, including Cody Walker, and will be really dangerous. Travel might rock them a little and so will a night out at the Emerald Tavern! Easts Tigers by 12.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS v MACKAY CUTTERS
Darryl Bourke Oval, Moranbah on Saturday, August 9 – 6pm
Referee: Chris Anderson
Head to Head: Mackay 10 Sunshine Coast 2
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #SCFvMC #CountryWeek
Mackay’s hopes for a finals berth were ended last weekend following a 62-10 loss at the hands of a rampant Ipswich Jets. Prior to the weekend, the Cutters were one of the form teams of the competition and looked to be setting themselves for a run to the finals. The Falcons will be aiming to regain the form which saw them push finals contenders – including the Hunters and the Jets – all the way in recent weeks. In team news, Doug Hewitt takes his place in the starting side over Dan Murphy for the Cutters while Josh Osborne drops to the bench for Chris Gesch. Although the Falcons named an unchanged line-up to the one that lost to the Capras last weekend, they will be forced to make changes with lock Jacob Samoa out with a finger injury. Mboya Adams is in doubt with a wrist complaint, while Sam Wright is battling a foot injury. Mackay will fancy their chances having won the past eight encounters between the sides, including a 38-18 victory against the Falcons at the same venue last year. Mackay local Kelvin Nielsen will bring up his 50th Cup game for the Cutters.
‘Dobbo’ says: Mackay’s first 50 minutes last week against the Jets was outstanding, but their last 30 was horrible. Where to for last year’s premiers? They need to do a job on the Sunny Coast who have come along in leaps and bounds but will welcome the season’s end. Anthony Mitchell was fantastic when he had the ball in his hands last week. Look to see Mackay strike back. Mackay Cutters by 10.
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES v NORTHERN PRIDE
Davies Park, Mareeba on Saturday, August 9 – 7pm
Referee: Liam Kennedy
Head to Head: Pride 12 Souths Logan 4
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #SLMvPRIDE #CountryWeek
The Pride all but confirmed their second minor premiership in a row with their gutsy win over Tweed Heads last weekend; while despite a strong effort, the Magpies were downed by the Tigers to extinguish their finals hopes. For this match, the Pride will be without Alex Starmer, Javid Bowen and Ben Jeffries who were all injured last weekend. Star back-rower Blake Leary – who recently signed a two-year deal with the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles – has also not been named. However, Joel Riethmuller, co-captain Brett Anderson, fullback Hezron Murgha and Ryan Ghietti have been named as replacements. One of their more impressive performers in recent weeks, Magpies fullback Jordan Rapana will play his first NRL match for an injury-ravaged Canberra Raiders side against the Eels in Darwin this weekend. Other changes to the Magpies line-up see Leon Panapa return from injury and Rez Phillips from suspension. Skipper Phil Dennis has again been named to return after missing the past few weeks. Simanu Crichton and Daniel Tamou are the players to make way. Back-rower Patrick Mago – who scored a double in last week’s loss – was hit with a Grade 1 Dangerous Contact charge, but is free to play after entering an early guilty plea.
‘Dobbo’ says: Souths Logan lose Jordan Rapana – and will lose this match too. The Pride are red hot and their win against Tweed last week showed how good they are. Souths have been up and down and only time will tell where they end up. Big game and it could get ugly. Northern Pride by 20.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS v WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS
TJ O’Neill Oval, Kingaroy on Sunday, August 10 – 2pm* (Live on Channel 9 / WIN / NBN)
Referee: Michael Wise
Head to Head: Tweed 14 Wynnum 14
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #THSvWYN #CountryWeek
The first Intrust Super Cup game to be played in the peanut capital of Australia is set to be a cracking one, with fierce feathered rivals the Tweed Heads Seagulls and the Wynnum Manly Seagulls to face off in Kingaroy. While both sides are seemingly on track to play finals, a loss here could potentially add some pressure, with the PNG Hunters closing in fast. Last weekend, the Wynnum side posted a big 44-10 victory over the Dolphins, while the Northern Pride ended Tweed’s impressive run of 12 games undefeated with their 22-18 win. Tom Merritt is set to return on the wing for the Tweed, with Caleb Binge also included on an extended bench that includes Tom Kingston. Steve Gillett and Chris Piper are the players to make way. Wynnum coach Jon Buchanan has named an unchanged line-up for his team. While in the head-to-head stakes the sides cannot be separated, the Baysiders have won three of the past four games played, including a close match in round 1 where they recorded a 32-28 victory.
‘Dobbo’ says: Kingaroy is the home of some of Queensland’s finest rugby league talent and it will produce a classic match here between two of the Intrust Super Cup’s title contenders. This game is difficult to pick, but I’m leaning towards Tweed with Titans livewire Albert Kelly set to be a late addition. Tweed Heads by 2.
Norths Devils – bye