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Round 23 Preview

Norths Devils v Mackay Cutters
Bishop Park on Saturday, August 13 - 4pm
Tim Rutherford
Head-to-Head: Norths 10 Mackay 8
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #DEVILSvMC

Buoyed by one of their best performances of the season last weekend, the Norths Devils will go in search of rare back-to-back wins. While a semi-final berth is out of reach, Mark Gliddon’s men will be looking to finish the season on a high. Last weekend’s 38-26 win over the Wynnum Manly Seagulls was certainly a high point in what has been a patchy season for the Nundah club. With new additions Shaun Carney and Danny Kerr firing, the Devils flew out of the blocks to leave Wynnum’s semi-final aspirations in disarray last week. A repeat performance would make it tough on the travelling Cutters, although their own fortunes are looking up after a forgettable first half of the season. They put 30 points on the Tweed Heads Seagulls last weekend to record a comfortable victory, their fourth of the season. The two teams have met once this year, with Norths recording a 32-16 victory in Mackay.

Ipswich Jets v Redcliffe Dolphins
North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday, August 13 - 4pm
Jarrod Cole
Head-to-Head: Redcliffe 26 Ipswich 15
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #JETSvPHINS

The Ipswich Jets come up against the high-flying Phins in what is ultimately a make-or-break clash for the defending premiers at the North Ipswich Reserve. The Jets must win all three of their remaining matches to be any chance of figuring in the 2016 play-offs following a heartbreaking two-point loss to the PNG Hunters a fortnight ago. After using the bye round to freshen their weary legs after tough trips to Charleville and Port Moresby, the Jets are ready to throw everything at the Dolphins tomorrow afternoon. Redcliffe will be without the services of gun winger Jonus Pearson, who will replace Lachlan Maranta on the wing for the Broncos in tonight’s NRL match at Suncorp Stadium. Even without the speedy Pearson, the Dolphins will start hot favourites to extend their winning run. Adam Mogg’s team shot to the top of the Intrust Super Cup standings last weekend after a 28-22 win over the Easts Tigers. Ipswich have won their past three games at home against Redcliffe, however the Phins were convincing 38-12 winners overs the Jets at South Pine earlier this year.

Townsville Blackhawks v PNG Hunters
Jack Manski Oval on Saturday, August 13 - 4.05pm
Chris Anderson
Head-to-Head: PNG 3 Townsville 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #TSVBvPNG
Livestream: QRL Livestream

Team three meets team four in arguably the match of the round this weekend. The Hunters (32 points) are applying pressure to Redcliffe (34) and Burleigh (33) in the race for the minor premiership. But such is the competitiveness of this year’s Intrust Super Cup, the Hunters would slip to fourth with a Round 23 loss at the hands of the Townsville Blackhawks.  Townsville enters this match without former Eels forward Lorenzo Maa’fu, who is serving a two-match suspension for a Grade 1 dangerous throw. While the Blackhawks are in no danger of missing the semi-finals, their recent form is a little worrying for fans eager to see them go one better than last year. Last week, the Townsville team snuck home 22-20 over the Pride in a tense local derby. Interestingly, PNG were the only team to beat the Blackhawks at home in 2015 and earlier this year, it took an Ase Boas field goal in the final minute for the Hunters to overcome Townsville 11-10 in Port Moresby. 

Sunshine Coast Falcons v CQ Capras
Sunshine Coast Stadium on Sunday, August 14 - 1.40pm*
Michael Gordon Assistant Referee: Tyson Brough
Head-to-Head: Central 8 Sunny Coast 7 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #SCFvCQC

The Falcons are currently in sixth spot on the ladder – but with three games yet to play – they will be doing all they can to make sure the teams below them can’t make a late claim for a finals position. With the closest competitors Souths Logan receiving an automatic two points this weekend for the bye, the Falcons will must at least draw to maintain their spot. The Sunshine Coast are hitting their straps at the just the right time and have won their past three games in a row and have two home games left to play before a tough final-round visit to PNG. This weekend they face the CQ Capras who went down fighting against Souths Logan last weekend, with Matt Minto’s conversion attempt to draw scores level at 24-24 waved away in the final moments of the game. It will be a challenge though for the visiting CQ side to topple the opposition, with the Falcons winning the past three games played between these two sides. They are also travelling to the Sunshine Coast without prop Jack Kavanagh (early guilty plea for a Dangerous Throw) and winger Chanel Seigafo (guilty plea for a shoulder charge). Both will miss one week each with suspension. The two clubs will also be playing at part of the RizeUp round.

Tweed Heads Seagulls v Northern Pride
Piggabeen Sports on Sunday, August 14 - 2pm
Liam Kennedy
Head-to-Head: Tweed 9 Pride 9
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #THSvPRIDE

The Tweed Heads Seagulls will be looking to restore some pride when they host the team of the same name this Sunday. The last time these two sides met back in Round 6 at Barlow Park, the Northern Pride put on a clinic to defeat the Seagulls 48-0. It has been a difficult season for the Gulls who have been plagued by injury, not only in their Cup side, but with their Titan’s personnel. Last weekend, the Seagulls dropped to 13th place on the ladder following a 30-10 loss to the Mackay Cutters, despite starting well in the game. Co-captain Sam Meskell told the Gold Coast Bulletin that he wanted his inexperienced side to learn to “convert winnable situations into two competition points”, a challenge he hopes can be met at their final home game of the year which is also the club’s Old Boys day. They will have to do without the services of Tevita Folau will serve a suspension that will see him return to the game next season. The Pride however will travel to Piggabeen full of confidence having won the past four games played between the two sides and they will be looking to take out their frustration following a close 22-20 loss to derby rivals Townsville last weekend.

XXXX Rivalry Match of the Round
Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Easts Tigers 
BMD Kougari Oval on Sunday, August 14 - 3pm
Adam Gee
Head-to-Head: Easts 22 Wynnum 20 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #WYNvTIGES

The Easts Tigers have hit a rough patch of late and will need to turn things around quick-smart if they are to be a major feature of this year’s finals series. Last weekend’s heavy loss against the top-of-the-table Redcliffe Dolphins aside, the Tigers have not been able to notch a win since Round 17 and will be aiming to turn regain that winning feeling against the Seagulls this weekend. Wynnum Manly have been staging a mini-comeback in past weeks to keep their faint finals hopes alive, but suffered a damaging blow with a poor loss against the Norths Devils last weekend. These two Brisbane rivals always put on a show and this weekend should be no different with some much going on the line. While the Tigers go into this game with a 22-20 head-to-head record, or recent times, the numbers favour the Gulls who have won four of the past five games, while Easts have lost four of their past five away games. In another quirky stat, the past 12 games between these two sides have been won in pairs – Easts have won the last two games, so Wynnum Manly are due to take a victory back.

Burleigh Bears – bye

Souths Logan Magpies – bye

XXXX Rivalry Match of the Round

*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

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