ROUND 19 PREVIEW - Men of League Round
This weekend sees the annual Men of League Round – all clubs in the Intrust Super Cup and FOGS Colts are wearing the Men Of League socks in recognition and to raise funds for this great organisation that provides financial, emotional and physical support for past and present players and their partners and children.
Townsville Blackhawks v Northern Pride
Jack Manski Oval on Saturday, July 15 - 6pm
Referee: Belinda Sleeman
Head-to-Head: Townsville 5 Pride 0
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #TSVBvPRIDE
The Blackhawks will be out to maintain their unblemished record against their northern rivals at Jack Manski Oval tomorrow night. Yet to beat the Blackhawks in five encounters, the Northern Pride will again be up against it in the opening match of the Men of League Round. Townsville has three wins and a draw from their past four home games and they should prove too strong for a Pride outfit which is down on confidence after seven-straight losses. Currently in fifth spot, a top three berth is still a realistic target for the Blackhawks, who have a good run home to the finals and some key personnel back on deck. In milestone news, the Pride’s William Bugden will line up for this 50th match in the Intrust Super Cup. The 115kg prop has been a shining light for the Pride this season after joining the Cairns club from the Tweed Heads Seagulls.
Mackay Cutters v CQ Capras
BB Print Stadium Mackay on Saturday, July 15 - 6pm
Referee: Nick Morel
Head-to-Head: Mackay 12 Central 6
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #MCvCQC
Mackay’s quest for an Intrust Super Cup finals berth hit a snag last weekend after a 34-10 loss to the Easts Tigers left them five points adrift of the sixth-placed Magpies. However, there is still enough time for Steve Sheppard’s men to make up the ground and force their way into the play-offs for the first time since 2013 – the year of their grand final success. If they are to figure in September, they will need to beat the Capras at BB Print Stadium tomorrow night. Halfback Cooper Bambling again shapes as one of the key players for the Cutters in their bid to keep their season alive. A Yeppoon Seagulls junior, Bambling will go up against the club he represented as a junior star in the Round 19 match. Mackay back-rower Setaimata Sa is free to play after taking the early plea to a careless high tackle charge. The Capras have lost their past five games to be out of semi-final contention, but they do have enough talent in their line-up to give this a real shake.
Redcliffe Dolphins v Wynnum Manly Seagulls
Dolphin Oval on Saturday, July 15 - 7pm
Referee: Chris Anderson
Head-to-Head: Redcliffe 29 Wynnum 16 Drawn 2
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PHINSvWYN
Live Stream: Seagulls TV
John Te Reo will celebrate his 200th Intrust Super Cup match in a major milestone for the Wynnum Manly utility. Te Reo has been named at hooker for the clash against fierce rivals the Redcliffe Dolphins, but he has excelled in numerous other positions with the Seagulls. A former Toowoomba and Aspley star, Te Reo becomes the 16th player to join the Intrust Super Cup’s exclusive ‘200 Club’. While Wynnum Manly’s season has not gone to script, the Seagulls do have an impressive recent record against Redcliffe at Dolphin Oval. They have won three of their past four games at the venue and will be out to put a dent in the Dolphins’ top three bid. Seagull Daniel Ogden requires one try to equal Nathanael Barnes’ all-time record of 134 tries. While Ogden has been a try-scoring weapon for both the Seagulls and former club Norths, team-mate Salesi Funaki did his best to steal that tag last weekend when he scored a hat-trick in Wynnum’s 36-18 win over the CQ Capras.
Norths Devils v Souths Logan Magpies
Bishop Park on Sunday, July 16 – 1.40pm* (Live on Channel 9)
Referee: Michael Gordon
Assistant Referee: Nick Pelgrave
Head-to-Head: Norths 23 Souths-Logan 18 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #DEVILSvSLM
After falling to the Ipswich Jets last weekend, the Souths Logan Magpies will be eager to bounce back in front of the Channel 9 cameras on Sunday. The Magpies conceded a big start against the rampant Jets last weekend and couldn’t pull it back, despite a positive start to the second half. Souths will field a vastly different team to the one which took the field last weekend, with speedster Jamayne Isaako and forwards Tevita Pangai and Jaydn Su’A all named in the Broncos’ 20-man NRL squad for their game against the Newcastle Knights this weekend. Herman Ese’ese is also out after sustaining a knee injury, forcing a further reshuffle with George Fai and Sam Lavea the new starting front-rowers. Souths Logan have an impressive recent record over the Devils, having recorded six wins and a draw in their past seven games. Norths put a rough patch of form behind them to beat the Northern Pride last weekend, but they won’t have the services of young lock forward Jai Arrow who has been elevated to the Brisbane Broncos side.
Tweed Heads Seagulls v Burleigh Bears
Piggabeen Sports Complex on Sunday, July 16 - 2pm
Referee: Jarrod Cole
Head-to-Head: Burleigh 14 Tweed 13 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #THSvBEARS
While both sides are out of finals contention, this game won’t lack any intensity. Burleigh got the better of the Tweed 22-16 in their XXXX Rivalry Round match earlier this year, but the Seagulls are travelling much better than they were at the time of their last meeting in Round 8. They have managed to secure four wins since that defeat to the Bears, including a stunning upset win over the Hunters in PNG. Impressive young Queensland Under 20s forward Keegan Hipgrave is one player to watch for the Seagulls this weekend. Hipgrave recently joined the Titans from the Brisbane Broncos and will be out to push his claims for an NRL berth with the Gold Coast club. Burleigh has yet to hit its straps this year, with a heavy injury toll and NRL call ups hindering their Intrust Super Cup premiership defence.
Easts Tigers v Ipswich Jets
Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park on Sunday, July 16 - 3pm
Referee: Liam Kennedy
Assistant Referee: Tyson Brough
Head-to-Head: Easts 22 Ipswich 20 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #TIGESvJETS
The Fijian flyer Nemani Valekapa plays his 100th top grade match for the Ipswich Jets. A member of the Jets’ premiership-winning team in 2015, Valekapa has forged a reputation as a key strike weapon for the Jets since linking with the club from the Ipswich Rugby League’s Fassifern Bombers. His form has been a little patchy this season, but the former Residents centre has roared back to his best with two outstanding performances in Ipswich’s most recent wins over Tweed Heads and Souths Logan. The seventh-placed Jets remain in contention for a finals berth, but they can ill-afford to drop this game against the Tigers. Easts are coming off a strong win over the Mackay Cutters and could force their way into the top three by the completion of Round 19. Scott Sipple’s Tigers beat Ipswich 22-20 earlier this year, and have won three of their past four games against Ipswich.
PNG Hunters – bye
Sunshine Coast Falcons – bye
*Statistics provided by Brad Tallon