Panthers lead the pack as finals apprach

The In Safe Hands Cup reaches the three-quarter mark this weekend as Round 15 gets underway.

The Panthers still lead the competition on 33-points, just one-point clear of the Redcliffe Dolphins in second.

The battle between third and fourth is a little bit clearer after the Seagulls managed a win over the Diehards last week, establishing a narrow two-point lead over the defending champions.

The Tigers (23) and Magpies (22) are still a chance to play finals with six games remaining, however any loss from here could end that chance.

The Panthers might be flying high at the top of the ladder and fresh off a win over the Dolphins in Round 14, but they have yet to taste victory against Valleys in 2018.They get another chance this Saturday when they travel to Emerson Park.

Wests have named the same 17 players as last week, the only positional change sees Dominic Biondi move into the starting 13 with Mitch Hallinan moving to the bench.

Mikaere Beattie was outstanding playing at halfback for Wests last week, setting up three tries including the match-winner for fullback Gavin Cuaser. Kyle Van Klaveren will again partner him in the halves after a strong showing of his own last week.

The Diehards have named a strong side for the weekend. The experience of Callum Klein in the halves, Stephen Coombe and Liam Herrington up front plus the speed out wide from Tom Collins and Declan Morrissey means they certainly have the cattle to knock over the Panthers for the third time this season.

On Saturday night, the Dolphins will host the Tigers at Jim Lawrie Oval, Deception Bay at 6pm. While the temperature may drop, the intensity is sure to be sizzling between these two sides who are both coming off consecutive losses.

The Tigers, who caught fire recently, will need to rediscover that form in the final six weeks as their season is on the line, while Redcliffe have slipped from top spot and will be desperate to get it back.

Easts have the ability to score plenty of points, but will be looking towards their defensive steel, which coach David Krause has said in the past is the backbone of their best performances.

It won't be easy for Easts as the Phins have some of the most potent attacking players in the competition. Trai Fuller, Tony Tumusa and Reece Braun are dangerous in the backs while Bailey Butler, Ben King and the highland warrior Jordan Pinnock bring the power up front.

Easts hooker Jack Walters will look for the same urgency from his battering rams in Gene Ropoama, Matt Groat and Jack Anderson, as Easts look to stay in touch with the top four.

Finally, fresh off a win over the defending premiers, Bayside Seagulls have an opportunity to move into equal second if they can get a win over the Magpies at Davies Park on Sunday.

The Seagulls were outstanding last week against the Diehards, using the might of their forward pack to bully their way up the middle of Kitchener Park.

Working against them is a backline injury crisis, resulting in John Te Reo playing in the six and the massive Brad Mana moving to the centres.

The Magpies, fair to say, fear no sides. They have shown enormous character to put on two wins with their last two starts with the barest of players left for selection.

Souths are starting to get players back and with the current momentum and belief, they will fancy their chances again this weekend, as they look to keep their season alive for another week.

Diehards vs Panthers – Emerson Park Saturday 21 July at 3.00pm

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Diehards

1. Stacey Everitt 2. Tom Collins 3. Jamie Casey 4. Ethan Quai-Ward 5. Declan Morrissy 6. Jordan Mitchell 7. Callum Klein 8. Stephen Coombe 9. Chris Aiton 10. Liam Herrington 11. Eddie Blacker 12. Paul Ivan 13. Brendan Cousins 14. TBA 15. Mattais Heimuli 16. Patrick Akauola 17. Jacob Kelly

Coach: Don Gailer

Panthers

1. Gavin Causer 2. Namilla Davui 3. Kennedy Pettyborne 4. Sam Collins 5. James Olds 6. Kyle Van Klaveren 7. Mikaere Beattie 8. Hemi Mullen 9. Adam Harris 10. Michael Molo 11. Troy Swift 12. Billy Rogers 13. Dominic Biondi 16. Mitchell Hallinan 17. TBA 18. Henry Togiasua 19. Simona Vavega

Coach: Wayne Weekes

Dolphins vs Tigers – Jim Lawrie Oval Saturday 21 July 2018 at 6.00pm

Dolphins

1. Trai Fuller 2. Tony Tumusa 3. Corban Daniels 4. Justice Utateo 5. Will Partridge 6. Reece Braun 7. Josh Fauid 8. Bailey Butler 9. Tristan Hope 10. Ben King 11. James Flack 12. Agassi Stowers 13. Samson Graham 14. Jordan Pinnock Patrick Randall 15 Tauaalo Vaipulu 16. Aiden Devery 17. Manaia Rudolph

Coach: Daniel Green

Tigers

1. Jacob Teevan 2. Brendon Downey 3. Connor Jones 4. Leon Ellia-Nuikore 5. Rahkeem Auda 6. Josh Ralph 7. Brayden Torpy 8. Anton Iaria 9. Jack Walters 10. Matt Groat 11. Jarred Tuite 12. Jack Anderson 13. Michael Egan 14. Adam Crear 15. Gene Ropoama 16. Harry Pondekas 17. Haydin Elsebach

Coach: David Krause

Magpies vs Seagulls – Davies Park Sunday 22 July 2018 at 3.00pm

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Magpies

1. Bernard Mosby 2. Shaiquan Terekia 3. David Pritchard 4. Cameron Booth 5. Luke Archer 6. Sato Ketia-Opo 7. Lane Ferling 8. Jordan Mago 9. Savaan Tahere 10. Will Samuel 11. Matty Brown 12. Justin Fai 13. Jesse Matafeo 14. San Tolu 15. Alex Beaumont 16. Cody Mc Intosh 17. George Terekia 18. Juwaan Terekia One to be omitted.

Coach: Steve Bretherton

Seagulls

1. Matthew Milson 2. Peter Gubb 3. Bradley Mana 4. Harlan Collins 5. Jack Goodsell 6. John Te Reo 7. Adrian Elder 8. Billy Solah 9. Kalolo Saitaua 10. Josh Hoffman 11. Salesi Funaki 12. Kelly Tate 13. Corey Davis 14. Ben Jackson 15. Semisi Ahoafi 16. Jacob Paulo 17. Jaz Nahu-Main Tamati Ioane

Coach: Ron Troutman

In Safe Hands Cup Ladder   
1. Panthers  33  +41 
2. Dolphins  32  +55 
3. Seagulls  30  +46 
4. Diehards  28  -22 
5. Tigers  23  +77 
6. Magpies  22  -197 

*John Devine is a QRL correspondent covering the BRL A Grade competition