PNG HUNTERS v EASTS TIGERS
Tapout Energy Stadium, Saturday, March 21 – 3.30pm
Referee: Chris Anderson
Head-to-Head: Easts 1 PNG 0 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #TIGESvPNG
Livestream: QRL.com.au & Tiger TV
In the corresponding match last year, spectators stood as one to applaud both teams after a pulsating 20-20 draw. Another thriller could be on the cards here, with both sides appearing evenly matched.
The Hunters are undefeated after two matches and boast the best for-and-against record so far this year. Easts would have joined them at the top end of the table had they not conceded a late try to arch rivals Wynnum Manly in last Sunday’s intense derby.
For the Tigers, lock Troy Giess lines up for this 100th Intrust Super Cup game tomorrow in a forward pack set to be boosted by the return of Dane Hogan from injury. Coach Craig Ingebrigtsen has brought Eddie Tautali into his side at fullback, with Cameron Munster shifting to centre.
Fresh from a powerful performance off the bench in last weekend’s win over Redcliffe, PNG’s Thompson Teteh slots back into the starting line-up at left centre. At right centre is the destructive Adex Wera, a three-try hero against the Dolphins.
The change to the three-quarter line means Kato Ottio will now pack down in the back-row. There could yet be a further change with the crafty Noel Zeming in line to make a return from injury after being named in the 19-man travelling party.
BURLEIGH BEARS v SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS
Pizzey Park on Saturday, March 21 – 4pm
Referee: Nick Pelgrave (debut)
Head-to-Head: Burleigh 9 Sunshine Coast 3
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #BEARSvSCF
The start of the 2015 season has been a frustrating one for both the Bears and Falcons. Burleigh has lost its opening two games by eight point margins, while the Falcons haven’t yet had the chance to atone for their close Round 1 defeat at the hands of the Norths Devils. That was because last weekend’s scheduled match against the Northern Pride was postponed due to Cyclone Nathan. Coach Glen Dreger will be hoping his team can launch a storm of their own against the Bears at Pizzey Park tomorrow.
The Falcons are fielding arguably their strongest side since the club’s Manly Sea Eagles-aligned days in 2010. Storm contracted five-eighth Ben Hampton and hooker Slade Griffin shape as key figures in the Falcons’ bid to open their 2015 account.
For the Bears, Siuatonga Likiliki is out of action due to a one match suspension for striking. His absence is offset by the availability of Titan Jamie Dowling, who comes into the centres for the Pizzey Park clash.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS v MACKAY CUTTERS
BMD Kougari Oval on Saturday, March 21 - 5pm
Referee: Nick Morel
Head-to-Head: Wynnum 7 Mackay 7
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #WYNvMC
Livestream: Wynnum Manly TV
A Cup debut that would have been one to savour instead left Mackay rookie Zac Walker with mixed emotions after he injured his ankle scoring a try in the win over Tweed Heads. The Cutters will travel to Wynnum Manly’s home ground this weekend intent on bringing down another flock of Seagulls.
Walker’s place on the wing for the away trip will be taken by Buchanan Rawhiti while the only other change to the side is a cosmetic one, with Pulou Vaituutuu moving to the bench and Cowboys-contracted prop John Asiata to start the match.
This mission is a difficult one however, with the Cutters having lost their past three away games. In their favour is the fact they have won the past three games played between the two teams; in the process levelling the head-to-head ledger at seven apiece.
Wynnum too are in good form and are two from two this season, with another last-minute try from Seagulls winger and English import Greg Eden coming to their rescue in their Round 2 win over Easts. This week there has only been one change to the team for the home side with forward Jon Grieve in for Albanian-born Olsi Krasniqi. Wynnum prop Ben Shea is free to play after accepting an early plea to a dangerous contact charge.
CQ CAPRAS v IPSWICH JETS
Browne Park on Saturday, March 21 – 6pm
Referee: Tyson Brough
Head-to-Head: Ipswich 23 Central 11 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #CQCvJETS
Capras livewire Javarn White confronts his old team for the first time since his off-season switch from Ipswich to Rockhampton. The classy fullback didn’t have the happiest of outings against Souths Logan Magpies, who tore through the Capras on their way to a 48-12 win at Miriam Vale.
CQ will look to respond in front of their home fans at Browne Park. Their only outing at home this year resulted in a 22-14 win against the Bears. Coach Jason Hetherington has already flagged his team’s intentions for this weekend’s match.
“We need to control the ball a lot more because when they (the Jets) have it, they are really exciting," Hetherington told the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin. “They are hard to play against and hard to defend when they have the ball ... they also like to ask questions after every tackle.”
Ipswich will again be boosted by the inclusion of Bronco Daniel Vidot, while big forward Gerico Cecil is set to back up for his second match in the top grade after the late withdrawals of Kurtis Lingwoodock and Josh Seage with injury.
NORTHERN PRIDE v TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS
Barlow Park on Sunday, March 22 – 1.40pm
Referee: Michael Gordon
Head-to-Head: First game
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PRIDEvTSVB
The Blackhawks will bus to Cairns this weekend to take on reigning Intrust Super Cup and NRL State National Champions the Northern Pride at Barlow Park. The local derby is shaping up to be a great contest with the Pride ready to play some football after their last match was postponed due to Cyclone Nathan and Townsville keen to improve on their Round 2 loss to Ipswich.
The Pride won all their games at Barlow Park in 2014 and will look to maintain that record against their ‘local’ rivals. Blackhawks coach Kristian Woolf has made some key changes to the squad with a shuffle required to include NQ Cowboys allocated player Rob Lui in the halves.
Michael Parker-Walshe will move to halfback, while Tom Humble is in the centres. A try-scorer in last week’s loss, Wayne Ulugia is on the wing. The Pride however have named the same side that was set to face the Falcons and despite the limited match fitness entering the game, coach Joe O’Callaghan told the Cairns Post he trusted his players to be prepared. “These are men, these aren’t schoolkids,” he said. “They knew there was a big game coming up so I trust that they looked after themselves.”
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS v NORTHS DEVILS
Piggabeen Sports on Sunday, March 22 – 1.40pm* (LIVE ON CHANNEL 9/WIN/NBN)
Referee: Henry Perenara
Head-to-Head: Norths 13 Tweed 9 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #THSvDEVILS
Seagulls’ coach Aaron Zimmerle’s 50th match in charge of the Cup side will not be an easy one – with their opponents this week on a good run of form. The Devils have won their past five games since late last season and have also been victorious in their past three outings to Piggabeen.
The Seagulls lost 34-18 last weekend to Mackay who played well to earn their victory. However, the Gulls also suffered multiple injury blows; with five-eighth Tom Dawney (biceps), prop Jake Leary (shoulder) and interchange hooker Zac Friend (shoulder) going down after the first 20 minutes.
Winger Blake Anderson was able to play on despite suffering a suspected fractured hand and has been named again this weekend, while reinforcements include Titans Matt Srama (hooker) and Matt Robinson and Agnatius Paasi on the bench. Reinstated Titan Kalifa Faifai Loa joins them in jumper 17.
Norths will be without key forward Todd Lowrie who will sit out one match after pleading guilty to a grade 1 striking charge. Referee Henry Perenara, who has officiated in 67 NRL matches, will take charge of his first Cup game.
Tweed now have an added incentive to perform at their best on Sunday after keen fan Paul Sheedy offered to donate $5 for every tackle made by Seagulls skipper James Wood and $20 for every Tweed try in support of the Vanuatu Cyclone Pam Relief Appeal. Wood is the captain of the Vanuatu national team.