‘Get in the Game’ Country Week
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS v IPSWICH JETS
Bill Lewis Oval, Charters Towers on Saturday, August 15 - 5pm
Referee: Chris Anderson
Head-to-Head: Ipswich 1 Townsville 0
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #TSVBvJETS #CountryWeek
Bill Lewis Oval in Charters Towers hosts its second Cup game when two of the competition’s heavyweights arrive in town to kick off Country Week. The strike power spread throughout both of these line-ups suggests this Round 23 clash will be one of the highlights of the weekend.
Their first encounter back in March was simply breathtaking. Ipswich produced a stunning opening 40 minutes that had everyone talking, before the Blackhawks blasted their way back into contention with a flurry of tries. In the end Ipswich got home 36-24 on the back of some Rod Griffin/Matt Parcell magic – and that pairing will again be critical to Ipswich’s prospects of upsetting the minor premiership fancies.
Interestingly, the only previous Cup match played in Charters Towers was 10 years ago when North Queensland and Tweed played out a 14-14 draw. Current NRL stars Matt Scott, Scott Bolton and Gavin Cooper were all members of that North Queensland Young Guns team.
Last weekend, the Blackhawks took another step towards wrapping up top spot with a big win over Tweed Heads. In contrast, an error-riddled Jets were completely outplayed by the PNG Hunters. Ipswich barely completed a set of six and a repeat performance against the Blackhawks could result in a cricket score against them.
CQ CAPRAS v TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS
Salter Oval, Bundaberg on Saturday, August 15 – 6.30pm
Referee: Tyson Brough
Head-to-Head: Tweed Heads 18 Central 6 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #CQCvTHS #CountryWeek
Bundaberg’s Salter Oval will once against host a Cup game with CQ side the Capras and interstate opponents Tweed Heads taking to the field. In the past it was the home ground for the Bundaberg Grizzlies.
Capras have named an unchanged side for this match following last weekend’s 36-16 loss to the Falcons. Both sides went try-for-try in an entertaining opening 40, before the Sunshine Coast ran away with the game in the second half.
The Gulls will be out to avenge a heavy Round 22 loss to Townsville where they were blown away by the ladder leaders in the first half. Despite an improved defensive effort in the back-end of the game, they still went down 52-12.
James Wood and Nat Barnes both scored in the loss and Wood now needs two more tries to become the seventh player to score 100, while Barnes also requires two tries to reach 107 for Tweed Heads, equalling the most for a single club (held by Liam Georgetown from Redcliffe).
For this game, the Gulls have named Under 20 Titan Anthony Colman to make his debut. The Ballina Seagulls junior comes onto the bench for Tim Cassidy.
EASTS TIGERS v SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES
Blackall Showgrounds on Saturday, August 15 – 7pm
Referee: Nick Pelgrave
Head-to-Head: Easts 27 Souths Logan 11
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #TIGESvSLM #CountryWeek
Livestream: Tiger TV (plus pre-match coverage from Blackall)
Despite their last meeting being a lopsided 52-0 win to the Tigers in Round 5, this first-ever Cup game at Blackall is set to be an entertaining one, with plenty of talent on show for both Easts and the Magpies.
Souths Logan hooker Travis Waddell has been named to play in his 50th Cup match and will need to put in a strong performance if his side are to upset the Tigers. This week’s Magpies team will also feature new faces David Pritchard (wing), Tim Brooks (centre) and Leon Panapa (bench) with Ken Levu and David Faamita not named and Ihaka Watene moving to an extended bench.
The Tigers come into this match after a bye and will field a new-look line-up following their Round 21 loss to PNG, headlined by Storm prop Dayne Weston into the starting line-up. Donald Malone returns as fullback for Kev Stephensen, with Mahe Fonua in at centre for Michael Kai (suspension). Skipper Dane Hogan also returns from injury in the backrow with Foisa Peni, Brenton Horwood and Dwayne Craft the players omitted. Mathew Pitman has also been named on the bench to face up against his old Magpies team-mates.
NORTHS DEVILS v MACKAY CUTTERS
Dalby Leagues Ground on Saturday, August 15 – 7pm
Referee: Nick Morel
Head-to-Head: Norths 8 Mackay 8
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #DEVILSvMC #CountryWeek
Only one point could separate these two teams the last time they meet, with a Liam Taylor field goal giving Mackay a 13-12 victory back in Round 5.
Mackay have hit a rough patch of late losing their past three matches and will be looking to get things back-on-track with a win. In a tough northern derby match against the Pride last weekend; Mackay could not overrun their rivals despite a spirited second-half comeback.
Norths however, will be hoping to string back-to-back wins together for only the second time this season (Round 1 and Round 2). Coming into this game off the bye, the Devils proved too strong for the CQ Capras in their Round 21 match, posting six tries to one in their victory.
For this trip out to the Darling Downs, the Devils have named an unchanged side with centre Joel Bailey named to play in his 50th Cup game (all for Norths).
The Cutters welcome back hooker Josh Chudleigh and prop Sam Hoare from Cowboys duties with Mitch Day omitted and Pulou Vaituutuu moving to the extended bench.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS v BURLEIGH BEARS
Sullivan Oval, Stanthorpe on Sunday, August 16 – 1.40pm* (Live on Channel 9 / WIN / NBN)
Referee: Tim Rutherford
Head-to-Head: Burleigh 10 Sunshine Coast 3
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #SCFvBEARS #CountryWeek
Although they are out of finals contention, the Falcons can lay claim to being one of the form teams of the competition, having won three of their past four games. That loss was a close 24-20 result against the Hunters in PNG where the Falcons pushed their highly-fancied opponents all the way.
This weekend the Falcons will boast an impressive line-up with NRL regular Jordan McLean lining up as prop in one of two changes to their victorious Round 22 team. Jacob Samoa joins the team on the bench with Jon Platt and Jye Ballinger moving onto the extended bench.
After suffering a handful of heavy losses in recent weeks, Burleigh will be hoping their recent strong record against their coastal rivals remains firm, with the Bears having won the past five (and eight of the past nine) matches between the two sides.
Experienced prop Pele Peletelese is set to return for this match with five-eighth Todd Seymour also named to make his comeback. Christian Hazard and Tyler Sparkes have been omitted.
This match will also be the 150th Cup appearance for Bears skipper Darren Griffiths (who has previously played with Mackay).
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS v NORTHERN PRIDE
Callendar Park, Innisfail on Sunday, August 16 – 2pm
Referee: Jarrod Cole
Head-to-Head: Pride 14 Redcliffe 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PHINSvPRIDE #CountryWeek
It’s going to take a minor miracle for the Redcliffe Dolphins to figure in this year’s top six. With just three rounds to play, the Phins are five points adrift of the sixth-placed Northern Pride.
But if Troy Lindsay’s team can find a way to snatch two competition points in Innisfail, their faint play-off hopes will flicker for at least another week. The Pride will be keen to slam the door shot on the Dolphins, and history suggests they will do just that. Incredibly, the Cairns club has won 14 of the 15 Cup encounters between the two teams since the Pride’s inception in 2008.
Redcliffe is coming off a dominant victory over Souths Logan in which Josh Beehag and Luke Capewell scored two tries each. However, the Phins enter this match without strike forward Anthony Cherrington, one of the most destructive forwards in the competition.
The Pride did just enough to clinch a vital 26-22 win over the Mackay Cutters in last weekend’s northern derby. In milestone news, Pride fullback Hezron Murgha plays his 100th Intrust Super Cup game.
PNG HUNTERS v WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS
Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby on Sunday, August 16 – 2.30pm
Referee: Michael Gordon
Head-to-Head: Wynnum 2 PNG 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PNGvWYN #CountryWeek
The only match to be played outside of regional Queensland has all the makings of classic encounter. Such is the popularity of the PNG Hunters, finding a spare seat in Sir John Guise Stadium could be as fiercely contested as the match itself.
While both teams are entrenched in the top six, there is still plenty to play for on Sunday. Michael Marum’s Hunters are right in the mix for the minor premiership, while Wynnum could yet make a late dive for a coveted top two finish if they can upset the Hunters on their home soil.
A more likely scenario for the Seagulls is a third or four placed finish, with either enough to secure a home game in week one of the semi-finals. Key forward David Stagg won’t be travelling to PNG, with Stephen Coombe coming into the 17. Aaron Rockley is set to start in Stagg’s absence.
There was a lot to like about PNG’s performance in Ipswich last weekend. Their 32-14 victory was built on a solid defence effort which frustrated the normally free-flowing Jets attack. Captain Israel Eliab was once again magnificent for the Hunters, with his 90m solo try a highlight of PNG’s commanding win.