The battle for the top two spots in the Struddys Sports pre-season competition comes to a head this Saturday in the final round before finals. Six sides remain a mathematical chance of playing off for the pre-season silverware on March 28.
Easts Tigers v Logan Brothers at Tapout Energy Stadium, Saturday 1.45pm
The Tigers scored more tries than Wynnum Manly Redland City last week but finished on the wrong side of the scoreboard at BMD Kougari Oval. They take on the undefeated Logan Brothers, who have a slight orange and black flavour. Brothers are captained by former Tiger Trevor Exton and five-eighth Wayne Kennedy has represented Easts at Colts level.
Statistically speaking, the Tigers boast the equal best defence, while Logan are the top attacking side. Vastly experienced back Donald Malone has been named in the centres for Easts.
Wynnum Manly Redland City v Redcliffe Dolphins at BMD Kougari Oval, Saturday 3.15pm
Two undefeated sides do battle at BMD Kougari Oval in what shapes as the match of the round. The Dolphins have earned maximum points from their opening two matches, while WM Redland City has disposed of Gaters and Easts.
We may sound like a broken record but WM fullback Mitch Lollback is again the man to watch –four tries from two games has the ex-Grafton player presenting a strong case for Intrust Super Cup honours if injuries strike further up the ladder. The halves battle could decide this one, with the nippy Matthew Smith and elusive Alex Brady going head-to-head.
West Brisbane Panthers v Normanby Hounds at Kev McKell Oval, Saturday 3.15pm
West Brisbane and Normanby will be looking to break their Struddys Sports pre-season duck on Saturday afternoon. Both sides have been competitive thus far but have been guilty of falling away at the back-end of games.
The Hounds had a second half lead against Valleys last weekend but were unable to hold on in the final ten, despite encouragement from coach Wayne Treleaven on the sideline. The Panthers have the services of hard-hitting Troyden Watene, who has been named at centre.
Gaters v Valleys Diehards at Southpine Sports Complex, Saturday 3.50pm
Valleys have been the surprise packet in the opening fortnight but face their biggest test this weekend. The Diehards are two from two but those wins have come against ninth-placed Normanby and tenth-placed West Brisbane.
After conceding 40 points in the opening round against Redcliffe, the Gaters put 42 points on Ipswich last week and could be on track for an upset if they can continue in a similar vein.
Carina v Ipswich Jets at Leo Williams Oval, Saturday 5.00pm
A vastly-improved Carina went within a whisker of toppling Logan last weekend and would rate themselves a good chance of beating Ipswich. Prop Sunia Hala barged over for two tries in an improved forward performance.
Defence remains a concern for Ipswich, with the Jets conceding 88 points in just two matches. However, with the ball in hand, Smith Samau looms at the danger-man in the backline. The former NRL and Samoa representative (11 games for Melbourne and Gold Coast) is named to start at centre.
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