ROUND 21 PREVIEW
Mackay Cutters v Townsville Blackhawks
Stadium Mackay on Friday, July 29 - 7pm
Referee: Nick Morel
Head-to-Head: Townsville 3 Mackay 0
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #MCvTSVB
Are the Blackhawks back? That’s the question on the lips of many Intrust Super Cup fans after the Townsville club belted the Central Queensland Capras 74-12 last weekend. The magnitude of the win well and truly snapped the Blackhawks out of a mini-form slump. However, there is still a slight question mark over the premiership credentials of last year’s grand finalists given they only have a win and draw to show from their past six away games. While Townsville will be heavily favoured to topple the bottom-placed Mackay Cutters tonight in Mackay, the Round 21 clash is certainly no foregone conclusion. The Cutters produced their best performance of the season last weekend in downing the Wynnum Manly Seagulls 28-10 in Moranbah. Inspired by the return of veteran Grant Rovelli, the Cutters scored five tries to two on their way to a well-deserved victory. Rovelli, a former Cowboys and Warriors playmaker, will wear the No. 7 jersey against the Blackhawks.
PNG Hunters v Ipswich Jets
National Football Stadium on Saturday, July 30 – 4pm
Referee: Tim Rutherford
Head-to-Head: PNG 3 Ipswich 3
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PNGvJETS
A must-win game in PNG awaits an understrength Ipswich Jets this Saturday. After dropping two spots on the Intrust Super Cup ladder in the wake of last weekend’s Country Week loss to the Burleigh Bears, the eighth-placed Jets desperately need the two competition points to be a realistic shot of figuring in this year’s finals. However, the brutal reality is the odds are stacked heavily against the Jets. So much so that if they were to return with a win, it would surely have to be the greatest victory in the club’s history. Without a number of key players, including suspended duo Wes Conlon (two games – dangerous contact) and Mikaere Beattie (one match – dangerous throw), Ipswich will embark on what could be dubbed the Intrust Super Cup’s version of mission impossible. The Hunters have won 30 of their 32 home games in PNG, including their last 24. The Jets will however be able to draw considerable confidence from their 30-12 win over the Hunters at the North Ipswich Reserve in Round 12. Forwards Adam Korave and Brandy Peter will both play their 50th games for the Hunters, who are coming off a strong 38-8 win over the Easts Tigers.
Burleigh Bears v Northern Pride
Pizzey Park on Saturday, July 30 - 4.30pm
Referee: Michael Gordon
Head-to-Head: Pride 10 Burleigh 6 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #BEARSvPRIDE
Northern Pride lock Tom Hancock lines up for his 50th Intrust Super Cup game for the Pride this weekend. Hancock forms part of a strong forward pack that includes three players who have had a run in the NRL this year – Ben Spina, Patrick Kaufusi and Coen Hess. Young back-rower Hess is one of the most promising prospects at the North Queensland Cowboys and is expected to push strongly for a regular top grade spot in 2017. But for now, Hess and his team-mates will focus on this weekend’s tough away encounter against the table-topping Bears. Jimmy Lenihan’s men took another big step towards securing the minor premiership during last weekend’s Country Week round when they easily accounted for the Ipswich Jets in Charleville. All of their big guns – including key halves Cameron Cullen and Jamal Fogarty – will back up this weekend for the Round 21 Pizzey Park clash. The Bears have four wins and a draw from their past five home games. In contrast, the struggling Pride have lost four of their past five away games to be all but out of semi-final contention.
Souths Logan Magpies v Sunshine Coast Falcons
Davies Park on Sunday, July 31 – 1.40pm* (Live on Channel 9)
Referee: Chris Anderson
Head-to-Head: Souths Logan 11 Sunshine Coast 4 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #SLMvSCF
The last time these teams met in Round 11– nothing could separate them, with Souths Logan fighting back to snare a share of the competition points with a 16-16 draw. In what would have been a frustration for the Falcons, they scored four tries to two in that match, but missed all their goal attempts. The Sunshine Coast side have the lowest goal percentage in the competition, converting goals at just on 50%. This was evident in their win over the Tweed Heads Seagulls last weekend in Gympie, where only two of their six tries were converted. In this weekend’s TV game, the Falcons will be aiming to win in the hopes to taking the Magpies spot in the top six. In late-breaking news, Souths Logan coach Josh Hannay has been appointed as an assistant coach with the reigning NRL premiers the North Queensland Cowboys from next season. With his Magpies currently in the top six, he will be hoping his charges can push on with the impressive form to cement their place in the finals. Despite being named for this game, Sunshine Coast prop Pat Hollis will not play, having taken an early guilty plea for dangerous contact. He will miss the next two matches. Falcons half Ryley Jacks has been in great for this year and requires one more try to equal the club's season try scoring record of 15 held by Shane Neumann (2009).
XXXX Rivalry Match of the Round
Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Tweed Heads Seagulls
BMD Kougari Oval on Sunday, July 31 – 3pm
Referee: Clayton Sharpe
Head-to-Head: Wynnum 17 Tweed 15
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #WYNvTHS
With both teams coming off losses – there is more than pride on the line this weekend for the two clubs who have become strong rivals. The Tweed Heads Seagulls put in a commendable showing last weekend in their loss to the Sunshine Coast Falcons at Gympie, key men Ali Grant, Sam Meskell, Michael Burgess and Tevita Folau all ruled out before kick-off. There are more woes for the team however, and despite being named earlier in the week by coach Aaron Zimmerle, Tweed Heads will be without Kierran Moseley for this game, with the hooker having to get appendix removed after suffering from appendicitis which will likely rule him out for six weeks. Ryan Simpkins, who started at lock for Tweed last weekend has this week been called into the Titans line-up, with Jackson Clarke moving into that position from the centres. Named at right centre for Wynnum Manly this weekend, this will be the 50th Cup game for XXXX Queensland Residents representative Mitch Cronin. Cronin, who has previously played with Souths Logan, has scored nine tries so far this season, including one in their 28-10 loss against the Cutters last weekend. Wynnum halfback Mat Seamark requires 13 points to overtake Liam Georgetown (1247) to become second top point scorer in competition history.
Redcliffe Dolphins v Norths Devils
Dolphin Oval on Sunday, July 31 - 4pm
Referee: Ben Watts
Head-to-Head: Redcliffe 28 Norths 12 Drawn 2
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PHINSvDEVILS
The Redcliffe Dolphins are flying high on the ladder and will hoping to keep their strong run of form at home intact when they when host the Norths Devils on Sunday. Having won six of their past seven games at home this year, the Dolphins have also had the better of the form against their opposition, winning the past three games played between the two sides; including a big 52-10 result in Round 11. The Devils have won six games so far this this season, but have lost their past four outings, including their past five away games. They started well in their game at Barcaldine against Souths Logan last weekend and even held a slim 14-12 lead at halftime, but let in four tries in the second half to eventually go down 32-24. Devils winger Rogan Dean – who scored a try in each half against Souths Logan – will suit up for this 50th Cup game. A commentators’ favourite, “Guns” Dean has also played for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the past. Redcliffe coach Adam Mogg will need to find a replacement for big winger Curtis Johnston who was found guilty of a dangerous throw and will miss the next two games.
CQ Capras - bye
Easts Tigers - 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