ROUND 19 PREVIEW
Men of League / NRL Foundation Round
Over the next two weeks, Intrust Super Cup clubs will support the Men of League Foundation at their games. Some clubs will be hosting special functions and wearing socks this weekend at their home games as next weekend’s matches will all be taken on the road for “Get in the Game” Country Week.
Townsville Blackhawks v Burleigh Bears
Jack Manski Oval on Saturday, July 16 - 4pm
Referee: Tim Rutherford
Head-to-Head: Townsville 2 Burleigh 0 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #TSVBvBEARS
The Burleigh Bears sit on top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder for a very good reason and will travel to Townsville confident of securing their first ever win over the Blackhawks. Their last encounter in Round 9 was a 28-28 draw and was a tough, physical encounter. Unfortunately, a much-anticipated showdown of the forward packs will not eventuate with the Blackhawks having been racked by injury this year. Co-caption Glenn Hall is the latest to suffer a season-ending injury; while Burleigh will be boasting big guns Luke Page, Josh Ailaomai and Paterika Vaivai. In their second last home game for the season, the Blackhawks will however welcome the return of some special talent into the team, with Matt Bowen and Jahrome Hughes named to play. Lorenzo Maafu will also return from suspension to add some muscle to the pack while recruit Davin Crampton who move to his preferred position in the back row. For the Bears, they will have to make sure they stay focused for the full game after the Norths Devils nearly stole a win from them last weekend after the Bears ‘put the cue in the rack’ in the second half.
*This weekend, the Blackhawks will host a Men of League function and will also wear special socks. Men of League will also be the Community Corner participant at the game. – with Blackhawks Media
Norths Devils v Sunshine Coast Falcons
Bishop Park on Saturday, July 16 – 4pm
Referee: Jarrod Cole
Head-to-Head: Norths 10 Sunshine Coast 4
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #DEVILSvSCF
Despite both teams posting losses last weekend, the Devils and the Falcons remain in the hunt for a top six finish at the end of the season. Last weekend, the Devils came two successful conversions short of sharing the points against the top-of-the-table Burleigh Bears when they ran in five unanswered tries in the second half. They trailed 24-4 at halftime – so can be expected to put in a stronger performance from the get-go this weekend. The Falcons will have a number of players backing up from Wednesday night’s Under 20 Origin match, with Queensland hooker Jake Turpin and NSW centre Curtis Scott lining up for the side. Scott was an impressive performer for the young Blues in their win and took home the player of the match medal. While the Devils enjoy a superior head-to-head record against the Falcons, the Sunshine Coast were able to snatch one back when they met in Round 9 earlier this season, recording a strong 28-4 win. This was their first victory in five games against Norths. This game will be the 85th Cup game coached for Mark Gliddon, with the Devils mentor to pass Mark Gee and Ivan Henjak to enter the top 20 of Cup games coached.
Ipswich Jets v Mackay Cutters
North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday, July 16 – 4.30pm
Referee: Tyson Brough
Head-to-Head: Ipswich 11 Mackay 6
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #JETSvMC
After four straight wins, Ipswich has suddenly rocketed back into semi-final contention. This weekend, the defending premiers will host the bottom placed Mackay Cutters at the North Ipswich Reserve. If the Jets win and other results fall their way, the rejuvenated Ipswich outfit could finish Round 19 in sixth spot. Such a scenario looked next to impossible only a tick over a month ago after the Jets slumped to a 22-12 loss to the Tweed Heads Seagulls. But since that defeat – their ninth of the season – the Jets have found some consistent form. Wes Conlon has been a key plank in Ipswich’s charge up the ladder since returning from a knee injury. The former Swifts junior was one of the stars of the team’s 30-10 win over the Northern Pride in Cairns last weekend. Winger Richard Pandia also impressed with two tries, while back-rower Jesse Roberts was a constant threat on the edges. Although languishing at the foot of the table, the Cutters have lifted their game in recent weeks. They pushed Redcliffe all the way in a tight loss before beating the Sunshine Coast Falcons 26-18 in Round 17.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Northern Pride
BMD Kougari Oval on Saturday, July 16 - 6pm
Referee: Liam Kennedy
Head-to-Head: Pride 10 Wynnum 8
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #WYNvPRIDE
There are milestones aplenty to celebrate for both sides this weekend, including former Seagulls skipper Tim Natusch playing in his 150th Cup game. The imposing forward – who put his retirement plans on hold this season in order to help guide their young crop of forwards – becomes the fourth Wynnum Manly player to reach the milestone behind Matt Seamark, Luke Dalziel-Don and David Seage. For the Pride, rugby league veteran Col Wilkie will play his 50th Cup game. Starting his Cup career in 2005, he has previously played for Norths and the NQ Young Guns. One of the team’s young guns in Javid Bowen will play in his 50th Cup game for Pride, a tally which includes his appearance in their successful National State Championship final win over Penrith in 2014. Last week, the Seagulls survived a late comeback attempt from the Souths Logan Magpies to post their seventh win of the season, while the Pride were cut down by a resurgent Jets outfit at Barlow Park in a rare win for them in Cairns. Ben Spina will return at lock for the Pride following his showing for the Cowboys against the Raider last week, while Salesi Funaki will return for the Seagulls after serving a one-week suspension. In other Seagulls news, earlier in the week announced the appointment of Adam Brideson to the head coaching role for the 2017 season onwards.
***New day and time***
CQ Capras v Tweed Heads Seagulls
Browne Park on Sunday, July 17 - 12.30pm***
Referee: Nick Pelgrave
Head-to-Head: Tweed 20 Central 6 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #CQCvTHS
It’s do-or-die time for Tweed Heads and they’ll be hoping their superior head-to-head record against the Capras is a truthful indicator of things to come. The Seagulls have won the past 11 games played between the two sides, including a strong 38-4 result back in Round 9; and they are a side desperate to return to the winner’s list. The visitors had last weekend off with the bye, but were at the end of a 40-10 loss at the hands of the Hunters in Round 17. In many ways, that unflattering scoreline did not reflect the closeness of the match, with the Hunters only running away with the game in the final 20 minutes. The Capras however will be keen to improve on their positive result last weekend where they were two minutes away from posting a remarkable upset victory over the Easts Tigers. The Capras started well against the Tigers with make-shift five-eighth Aleki Falepaini posting the first try of the afternoon. This weekend, regular 6 Maipele Morseau has been named to return to the side in a big boost, while Brandon Manase is another in. This will be the 100th Cup game for Capras skipper Gavin Hiscox who starts at prop this weekend.
Redcliffe Dolphins v PNG Hunters
Dolphin Oval on Sunday, July 17 – 1.40pm* (Live on Channel 9)
Referee: Chris Anderson Assistant Referee: Belinda Sleeman
Head-to-Head: PNG 4 Redcliffe 0 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PHINSvPNG
Featuring the teams with the biggest chance of catching the ladder-leading Burleigh Bears – this showdown between the second-placed Redcliffe and third-placed Hunters is sure to entertain. The Hunters are well-rested from a bye following their much-needed away win over Tweed Heads in Round 17, while the Dolphins are also coming into this encounter with winning form behind them having posted a 28-8 victory over the Falcons. Hunters coach Michael Marum named an extended bench on Tuesday as he figures out who to best cover his missing players. His injured players include co-captain Noel Zeming (injured wrist) and Watson Boas who is still recovering from a knee injury. Fullback Stargroth Amean has been given time off for personal reasons, which has seen Bland Abavu deputising in the custodian role. He has performed admirably, scoring two tries in their 40-10 win over Tweed Heads. Late last week, the Dolphins welcomed home prop Dave Hala from the Gold Coast Titans. Injuries cruelled his chance to make a consistent run in the NRL and he won’t be returning to the field yet he is still recovering from a dislocated elbow. While the PNG side have never lost to Redcliffe in five meetings, the Dolphins will be eyeing this match as a great opportunity to half their winning streak, as the Phins have lost only one of their past eight home games this year (against Wynnum).
XXXX Rivalry Match of the Round
Souths Logan Magpies v Easts Tigers
Davies Park on Sunday, July 17 – 2.05pm
Referee: Adam Devcich
Head-to-Head: Easts 29 Souths-Logan 11
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #SLMvTIGES
The Magpies have launched a mid-season revival and need these two points against the Tigers to get out of the mid-table quagmire that sees them locked with the Pride and Ipswich in the battle for sixth spot. Easts too would like to get as many points in the bag now as they face a tough run home against top-of-the-table opposition. Easts might consider themselves lucky to have a draw with the Capras last weekend; while the Magpies fell short of posting a remarkable comeback against Wynnum Manly last week in an entertaining match. Much of their fightback centred around the play of prop Herman Ese’ese who has been named in the Brisbane Broncos starting line-up to take on the Rabbitohs. Marion Seve and Joe Boyce have also been named on an extended Broncos bench. Ese’ese’s starting position is to be taken by Terry Kepu. For this game, the Tigers have named junior Maroon Brodie Croft at halfback following Wednesday night’s Under 20 Origin match. Jake Foster has been named in the backrow and earlier this week re-signed with the Tigers at least until the end of the 2018 season. Currently in his second year with the Club, Foster has been in great form for the Tigers after signing with the club from the Canberra Raiders in 2015. – with Matt Crowhurst
*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