TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS v PNG HUNTERS
Jack Manski Oval on Saturday, September 12 – 5pm
Referee: Chris Anderson
Head-to-Head: PNG 2 Townsville 0
Head-to-Head Finals: First game
Finals Record: First for both
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #TSVBvPNG
Live Stream: QRL TV
The competition’s two newest teams go head-to-head to kick start their maiden finals campaigns tomorrow afternoon. Minor premiers Townsville and their nearest rivals the PNG Hunters both enjoyed a successful night at Wednesday’s QRL Gala dinner – taking home a number of prominent awards.
The Hunters are the only side to have got the better of the Blackhawks in both of their encounters this year; with their last match a thriller which came down to a two-point margin in the end.
With the winner of tomorrow’s game to qualify directly for the grand final on September 27 at Suncorp Stadium, there is a lot riding on the result.
Coach of the Year Michael Marum has made two changes to his side since their Round 25 victory over Burleigh, with Adam Korave into the back row and Brandy Peter on the bench. David Lapua has been omitted with Nickson Borana and Edward Goma named on an extended bench. The team flew to Port Moresby from Kokopo on Wednesday before heading to Cairns yesterday en route to Townsville for the match.
The Blackhawks have also made two adjustments to their final round team, with Ricky Thorby returning as prop and Mosese Pangai in at centre following a lengthy suspension. Lenny Magey has not been named while Corey Jensen is on a five-man bench.
If Townsville win this game, they will become the second new entrant team to make the decider in their first year – (Sunshine Coast were the others in 2009); while if it is the Hunters who prevail, they will follow the Northern Pride
There will also be a charity match played before the main game, with the Australian Army v Queensland Police Service pulling on the boots in support of a local Townsville family who are caring for their terminally ill daughter. There will be multiple raffles and a sporting memorabilia charity auction held as key fundraising activities for Islah. More information can be found here.
IPSWICH JETS v EASTS TIGERS
North Ipswich Reserve on Sunday, September 13 – 1.35pm* (Live on Channel 9/WIN/NBN)
Referee: Michael Gordon
Head-to-Head: Easts 20 Ipswich 19 Drawn 1
Head-to-Head Finals: Ipswich 2 Easts 0
Finals Record: Easts P31 W15 L16; Ipswich P17 W7 L10
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #JETSVTIGES
An enthralling contest is on the cards when the two Week 1 semi-final winners meet at the North Ipswich Reserve on Sunday afternoon.
At stake is a preliminary final berth against the loser of the Townsville Blackhawks v PNG Hunters clash. Both Ipswich and Easts have strong claims to be the team to advance, with two contrasting outfits impressing for long periods during their respective elimination final wins last weekend.
Ipswich opened with a bang and finished with a flurry in their 54-26 win over the Pride, while Easts sailed away to a commanding lead before shutting out Wynnum Manly 32-24. There is no love lost between the two sides, with the intense rivalry reflected by the head to head record where only one win splits them.
The two clubs last met in an elimination final at a raid-sodden North Ipswich Reserve in 2007, when Josh Lewis inspired the Jets to a thrilling 18-16 win over the Tigers. That game came down to the final few seconds and a similar tense finish could be just the tonic for Channel 9 viewers.
The Jets have made one change with Brandon McGrady coming onto the wing for the injured Daniel Vidot (hamstring). Easts have a few niggles of their own to contend with after the bruising Seagulls clash.
But the Tigers will be quick to shrug off any adversity. The Langlands Park club has stuck rock solid this season through some challenging times and are now only two wins away from a third consecutive grand final appearance under coach Craig Ingebrigtsen.
This weekend will see Ingebrigtsen move to 78 games, putting him into the top 20 of Cup games coached (47W, 3D, 27L). In other milestone news, promising Ipswich back-rower Kurt Capewell plays in 50th match for the Jets.