ROUND 8 PREVIEW – Anzac weekend
Redcliffe Dolphins v Easts Tigers
Burpengary Sports Ground on Saturday, April 23 – 2pm
Referee: Nick Morel
Head-to-Head: Redcliffe 25 Easts 16 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PHINSvTIGES
Crafty Redcliffe Dolphins playmaker Zach Strasser steps up for his 50th Cup game with the Phins. The young five-eighth played a key role in Redcliffe’s come-from-behind win over the Mackay Cutters last weekend, crossing for a clever solo try that gave the Dolphins vital momentum at a crucial period in the first half. Redcliffe went on to claim their fourth win of the season against a Mackay team desperate to stamp itself as a genuine top-six finals contender this year. For Easts, key back-rower Jake Foster returns to the starting line-up after serving a one-match suspension. The former NSW Residents forward will pack down in the back-row alongside captain Dane Hogan and Storm young gun Dean Britt. The trio will need to be at the peak of their powers against a big Dolphins pack, led by impressive recruit Sam Anderson. The Tigers were brought undone by the magic of Javid Bowen and Khan Ahwang last weekend, with the elusive Northern Pride pair both bagging two tries each in their 30-16 win over the Tigers.
Sunshine Coast Falcons v Ipswich Jets
Hervey Bay on Saturday, April 23 – 6.30pm
Referee: Tim Rutherford
Head-to-Head: Ipswich 10 Sunshine Coast 3 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #SCFvJETS
Intrust Super Cup action comes to Hervey Bay’s Stafford Park, the home of the Seagulls, for the first time on Saturday evening. The local Seagulls will be in action against Wests in a Bundaberg Rugby League curtain-raiser before the Sunshine Coast Falcons take the field against the Ipswich Jets. There will plenty of activity off the field as well, with the Men of League Foundation encouraging fans to drop into their marquee at the Fraser Coast Kick Off Club. The Falcons will be striving for their fifth win of the season, while the Jets will be looking to break a run of outs after a miserable few weeks compounded by a potential season-ending injury to speedster Marmin Barba. Impressive Colts star Joshua Robinson has been named as Barba’s replacement, while injury clouds still hover over several other players following Ipswich’s costly 30-22 loss to Wynnum Manly last weekend. Hard-running forward Billy McConnachie will play his 50th match for the Jets. The Falcons took the fight up to competition favourites the Townsville Blackhawks with a super impressive first-half last weekend, only to be overrun late in the game by the northern powerhouse.
Souths Logan Magpies v CQ Capras
Webb Park, Yeppoon on Saturday, April 23 - 7pm
Referee: Chris Anderson
Head-to-Head: Souths Logan 20 Central 17 Drawn 2
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #SLMvCQC
Souths Logan prop George Fai achieved a unique feat when he crashed over for the second of his side’s five tries in their win against Tweed Heads last weekend – that four-pointer was the 25000th try scored in the statewide competition. This weekend, he will be missing his fellow front rower Herman Ese’ese who has been called into the Broncos side for the injured Alex Glenn. Magpies coach Josh Hannay has said Tikiko Noke would replace him for the match, but was yet to name a replacement for centre Scott Doyle who will miss this game in Yeppoon after receiving a one-match ban for Contrary Conduct. Those losses will make this ‘home’ game against the Capras even harder, with the CQ side buoyant following an upset win over the Burleigh Bears last weekend. Coach Kim Williams has rewarded his players for their win and has named an unchanged line-up for this weekend's game. While the head-to-head tally for these two sides is quite close, the Magpies have the upper hand, having won the past six and 12 of the past 13, games. They also hold the winning record for games played in Yeppoon – having taken the honours 22-12 when they first met there in 2011. *Don’t forget to say hi to the Men of League team who will be manning the marquee at the ground all day.
Tweed Heads Seagulls v Mackay Cutters
Piggabeen Sports on Sunday, April 24 – 1.40pm* (Live on Channel 9 / WIN / NBN)
Referee: Michael Gordon Assistant Referee: Nick Pelgrave
Head-to-Head: Tweed 9 Mackay 3 Drawn 4
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #THSvMC
The stakes could not be higher for both sides in this Sunday’s live telecast game – with the Cutters hunting win number one and the Seagulls desperate to get their season back-on-track following some heavy losses. Both sides however would have taken some positives from their Round 7 games despite recording losses as both held the lead at halftime against Redcliffe and Souths Logan respectively. Their second half performances though showed there are still many areas they can improve on. Interestingly, these two sides also have a history of playing close-fought matches, with 11 of their 16 games having been decided by a converted try or less (including four draws, which is the most between any two sides in Cup history). In team news, Mackay saw injuries to Tyson Martin and Jack Creith last weekend, while Tweed Heads have added David Sheridan to an otherwise unchanged line-up for this match. Cutters halfback Liam Taylor – who scored eight points last weekend thanks to a try and two conversions – requires just 13 more to move into the Top 10 of the all-time Cup points scorers ladder.
XXXX Rivalry Match of the Round*
Townsville Blackhawks v Northern Pride
Jack Manski Oval on Sunday, April 24 - 4pm
Referee: Jarrod Cole
Head-to-Head: Townsville 2 Pride 0
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #TSVBvPRIDE
This northern derby is shaping as a match to look forward to, with the improving Pride out to test themselves against the top-of-the-table Townsville. While the Blackhawks have won the two games played between the sides – and both by convincing margins – the Pride will be hoping to buck that trend with a strong performance this weekend in a XXXX Rivalry Match of the Round that evokes the feeling of the old clashes from the days of the Foley Shield. The Blackhawks will be aiming to improve on their start from Round 7 last weekend where they we ambushed by an enthusiastic Falcons side. The Pride started and ended well in their victory over the Tigers last weekend and coach Joe O’Callaghan will be urging his charges to maintain a strong focus through the whole of their encounter against the formidable Blackhawks outfit. As this is the Anzac Round this weekend, Townsville will wear their camouflage jerseys and the day will include a pre-game Anzac Day Ceremony in an early commemoration of the national day of honour. In a big day of football, the fans at Townsville will also see two great games of junior rugby league with the Blackhawks hosting Victoria in both the Under 16 Cyril Connell and Under 18 Mal Meninga Cup quarter finals.
Burleigh Bears v PNG Hunters
Pizzey Park on Monday, April 25 – 3.30pm
Referee: Chris Butler
Head-to-Head: PNG 3 Burleigh 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #BEARSvPNG
Live Stream: QRL Live Stream
The traditional Anzac Day clash between the Bears and Hunters looms as one of the Round 8 highlights, with a massive crowd tipped to pack into Pizzey Park. Along with the two premiership points, the prestigious Kokoda Cup is up for grabs on Monday. Burleigh will need to improve on last weekend’s performance against the Central Queensland Capras if they are to seriously challenge the joint Intrust Super Cup leaders PNG. The Bears leaked 38 points in their eight-point loss to the Capras, a scoreline that wouldn’t have impressed coach Jim Lenihan. In what has become the biggest day of the year for the club, the Bears will commemorate the Anzacs with a pre-game ceremony and will wear special Anzac jerseys which will be auctioned off after the game. Representatives from the Kokoda Army Barracks will be in attendance to present awards to the player from each team that best demonstrates the core values of the Anzacs. The Hunters have won the past three games against the Bears and are in strong form after a 38-22 win at home against the Norths Devils last weekend.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls v BYE
Norths Devils v BYE
*Each week, the XXXX Rivalry Match of the Round will highlight a match that showcases a traditional rugby league rivalry. The storied histories of club battles, local derbies and bitter grand final combatants will take centre stage in this new promotion by XXXX that helps celebrate the heritage of the “greatest game of all”.
**statistics by Brad Tallon