Southport Tigers (7th) v Tugun Seahawks (2nd)
Saturday June 20, 5.30pm at Owen Park
Southport Tigers host a replay of the 2013 and 2014 Coast-2-Coast Earthmoving Cup grand finals this Saturday night. The Tigers are the defending champions but continue to chase an elusive first win this season. Last week they went down 22-10 to competition leaders Burleigh. It has been a frustrating couple of months for the Tigers who have now lost their last five games by a margin of 12 points or less. They aren’t getting blown away by anybody, but their struggle to score points is hurting them. They have only gone past 20 points in a game on one occasion this season and they have scored the second least amount of points in the whole competition. If the Tigers can get their attack to click, a maiden win isn’t far away.
Tugun meanwhile have been enjoying a much smoother run of form. The Seahawks have notched six wins from seven appearances including three on the trot. Last weekend the Seahawks thumped the competition heavyweights 42-12 and it looks like they are again building to a big season. Prop forward Bryce Thomas was best on ground in a two-try performance while Tim Matenga also added two tries of his own. The return of veteran back-rower Robert Apanui and expert finisher Joel Sykes in recent weeks has given a boost to an already strong side and it’s hard to see Tugun’s momentum stopping anytime soon.
Tweed Heads Seagulls (3rd) v Burleigh Bears (1st)
Sunday June 21, 1.15pm at Piggabeen
After winning their first five games straight the Tweed Heads Seagulls find themselves in a bit of a tough spot. They have lost back-to-back games and conceded 42-points in both of them. The draw hasn’t been kind to Tweed who play competition front-runners Burleigh and Tugun two times each in the space of five rounds, but these are games they are going to need to win if they are to be a premiership threat. They already knocked off Tugun once back in round four (the only team to do so this season), now they have a chance to prove themselves against the competition leaders.
Last time these sides met (Round 7) the Bears scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to run away with victory. Tweed showed enough in the first half however to suggest they have what it takes to beat the Bears. They led at halftime after controlling the bulk of the opening stanza. If they can rediscover that form and tighten up their defence they are capable of ending Burleigh’s four game winning run. They’ll have to earn the win though because the Bears have set the standard this year. They have the best attacking and defensive stats in the competition and a roster full of talent.
While they have been largely excellent this season, the Bears have showed a tendency to drift in and out of games. Games against Bilambil, Tugun and Tweed have followed a pattern of the Bears jumping out to a big lead, then taking the foot off the pedal and letting opposition back into the game before pulling away again in the back end to get the win. If they can produce 80 minutes of consistent quality they will be odds on favourites to win every game they play, but if they continue to let teams back into the contest it will eventually come back to bite them.
Bilambil Jets (4th) v Currumbin Eagles (6th)
Sunday June 21, 2pm at Bilambil Sports
The Bilambil Jets return to action after an extended period on the sideline. A Round 8 bye was preceded by the Queen’s birthday weekend off meaning the Jets haven’t taken the field since May 31. In fact, the Jets have only played one game in the last five weeks as they also had the bye in round six. They will be itching to get back on the field and build some momentum heading into the second half of the year.
The Jets are a dangerous side in this competition and will be especially dangerous come the knockout stages, but they have struggled to build momentum this year. They haven’t won back-to-back games all season and with three wins and three loses currently sit in fourth spot on the ladder. There is a big opportunity for them to shoot up the ladder however. Their next five games will be against sides currently below them on the ladder while the sides above them will be playing each other. If the Jets can stay composed and play consistently they could find themselves towards the top of the ladder very soon.
Currumbin meanwhile remain in striking distance of the top five. A grinding 6-6 draw against Runaway Bay last week keeps them within a win of the top five and a trip to the finals. Like Bilambil, Currumbin’s draw for the next month is pretty good. They don’t face a top side again until round 12 and have a bye to come as well. If they can snag an upset win over the Jets it will put them I good stead heading into the run home.
Runaway Bay Seagulls - Bye
Coast-2-Coast Earthmoving Cup Ladder
1. Burleigh Bears 14
2. Tugun Seahawks 14
3. Tweed Heads Seagulls 12
4. Bilambil Jets 10
5. Runaway Bay Seagulls 7
6. Currumbin Eagles 5
7. Southport Tigers 2
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