Gaters v Valleys Diehards
South Pine Sports, Brendale
Valleys made it to the Struddys Sports pre-season competition final, but are yet to hit their stride in the season proper. Injuries and Intrust Super Cup promotions have resulted in a disrupted start for Pat O’Doherty’s side. However, they have some continuity this weekend.
The inclusion of former Central Queensland Capras utility Reece Baker at hooker is the only change to the side that went down to Ipswich. Scoring points hasn’t been an issue for Valleys in the opening fortnight but in both fixtures they’ve been forced to chase after slow starts.
The Gaters scored a gritty win over Easts in round 1 and are hoping to channel that vein of form after going down 44-10 to the Panthers last weekend.
Ipswich Jets v Carina
Redbank Plains Recreational Reserve
Perhaps the old rugby league adage ‘pre-season form counts for nothing’ really does ring true. Ipswich failed to win a game during the Struddys Sports pre-season competition, but have rebounded by claiming their first two regular season games. They are aiming for three-in-a-row against Carina this weekend.
“We started slowly but in reality we gave around 40 young fellas a run,” Ipswich CEO Wayne Wendt said. “We always try to give opportunities … if you come and trial with us, you’ll get a run.”
According to Wendt, young halves paring Haydan Lipp and Ipswich Brothers junior Chris Ash have been crucial to club’s strong start.
“Chris steers the team around and Haydon started the year in Intrust Super Cup and is on the comeback from injury,” he said.
Carina enters this match off the back of a heavy loss 46-16 at the hand of Logan Brothers. Veteran fullback Kev Stephensen has not been named by coach Peter Edwards, with Dave Watts set to take over custodian duties.
*To read the full story with Wayne Wendt, pick up your copy of Rugby League News at a match this weekend.
Redcliffe Dolphins v Logan Brothers
Two undefeated sides meet at Dolphin Oval on Sunday afternoon in what shapes as the match of the round. Both Logan Brothers and Redcliffe are two-from-two to start the year and top the league in attack stats-wise.
There are two changes for Redcliffe in the halves with Alex Bishop returning at five-eighth and 22-year-old Nick Ritter replacing John Brady at halfback. After an Intrust Super Cup appearance against Townsville last weekend, Kyle van Klaveren has been named on the bench, but it remains to be been just how he’ll slot into the backline.
Logan Brothers are without the services of Ramon Filipine, with the barnstorming winger unsurprisingly called up to Josh Hannay’s Souths Logan Magpies side after a fortnight in the BRL. David Faamita and Ihaka Watene, who scored five tries between them last weekend, have also been named on an extended Magpies’ bench.
Wynnum Manly Redland City v West Brisbane Panthers
BMD Kougari Oval
Wynnum Manly Redland City were pipped at the post by Easts last Saturday, conceding a late try with the match seemingly in the bag. They come up against a resurgent West Brisbane Panthers who put Gaters to the sword last round.
Captain Tim Brookes is again absent for the Panthers, with John Matters in line to start hooker for the second week in a row. Michael Rasmussen takes the reins as skipper and is partnered in the halves by five-eighth Shaun Tupou.
The red and green are always a tough proposition in front of a boisterous home crowd and have kept a largely settled squad to this point. This match is the curtain raiser to the Seagulls’ Intrust Super Cup clash against Norths Devils.
Normanby Hounds v Easts Tigers
The Tigers got out of jail against Wynnum Manly last weekend to register their first win of the season in front of an appreciative Tapout Energy Stadium audience. A big plus for the Tigers is the inclusion of Brenton Horwood at lock. The 25-year-old is trekking the comeback trail after injuring his leg in Easts’ pre-season hit-out against the Melbourne Storm and is no doubt looking for big minutes to impress top grade coach Craig Ingebrigtsen.
Normanby are without the nippy Ollie Olds, who has been elevated to starting halfback for Souths Logan. Workhorse prop Rez Phillips is another notable absentee for the Hounds, who may face an uphill battle to crack one of the better defensive outfits in the competition. Normanby have scored just 22 points in their opening two fixtures.