Ipswich Jets v Gaters
North Ipswich Reserve
Ipswich are yet to drop a match after five rounds and have named a largely settled side for their match at home against Gaters. Halves Chris Ash and Haydan Lipp continue to improve, as does the dummy half work of Peter Whittaker. Ipswich forward Tyson Lofipo continues his comeback from a long-term cruciate ligament injury suffered in early April last year.
The Gaters have relied on their defence to this point, but face their biggest test against the most lethal attacking team in the competition. They were perhaps lucky to sneak a penalty goal against Carina last weekend, but their comeback from 24-12 down in the final half showed plenty of mettle. A few pieces of skill from Marlon Doak changed the game and despite being selected on the wing, you can expect him to pop up all over the field.
Valleys Diehards v Easts Tigers
Valleys supporters breathed a sigh of relief a fortnight ago, with the Diehards registering their first win of the season against Normanby. While they crossed the line for 42 points, the club’s defence in the first two-thirds of the match would have impressed coach Pat O’Doherty the most. They’ll need to replicate that effort against a dangerous Easts outfit.
However, the Tigers attack may take a hit. They look set to be without talented playmaker Billy Walters, who has been named to play his second Intrust Super Cup match. Kevin Bell comes in at five-eighth with Brent Warr transitioning to halfback. Maeli Seve remains a key player at the back and is hard to tackle against a broken line.
Logan Brothers v Wynnum Manly Redland City
Two form sides go head-to-head at Civic Park on Saturday afternoon. Both Logan Brothers and Wynnum Manly are stacked with talent, with the sides contributing nine players to the preliminary Poinsettias squad. Brothers have lost Leon Panapa to Intrust Super Cup duties, but still boast a strong forward pack lead by veteran Trevor Exton, while Ramon Filipine returns outside David Faamita to add even more punch on the wing.
Wynnum Manly are also well-stocked in the backline stakes, with elusive fullback Mitch Lollback in a rich vein of form. The battle between Matthew Smith and Logan’s Ihaka Watene in the halves is another exciting match-up which will go a long way to deciding the outcome of the match.
Carina v Normanby Hounds
Leo Williams Oval
Carina were desperately unlucky not to jag their first win of the season against Gaters last weekend. Locked at 24-24 with three minutes to play they missed a penalty shot in front before the opposition marched downfield and booted two points of their own. It was a cruel way to lose in match after arguably their most complete performance of the season.
Powerful Carina forward Ronnie Alovilli lines up at lock for the second week in a row, while Benn Malley returns at hooker pushing Brandan Purcell to the bench. Normanby are coming off a loss to Valleys and much of their game revolves around the performance of hooker Jack Walters and halfback Ollie Olds. Walters is one of the best in the competition at sneaking tries close to the line.
Redcliffe Dolphins v West Brisbane Panthers
Live Stream: http://livestream.com/accounts/9436031/events/4062121
After claiming the Struddys Sports pre-season competition, most punters expected the Dolphins to continue their winning ways in the regular rounds. However, their form has been on a downward slide, dropping three in a row to top four sides Logan Brothers, Ipswich and Easts. They’ll need to reinvigorate their season against West Brisbane at home on Sunday.
The Panthers are coming off a one-point loss to Easts and would fancy their chances of causing an upset. Redcliffe should have too many points, but their defence has been leaking points in recent weeks making this a tight one to call. This match will be streamed online ahead of the Dolphins’ Intrust Super Cup clash against Central Queensland.