Player wellbeing will take centre stage this weekend when players and match officials from the Intrust Super Cup and Hastings Deering Colts participate in the annual ‘Turn to Me’ Round.
Initiated in 2013 by Petero Civoniceva, Isaak Ah Mau and Steven Johnson with the backing of the QRL, the ‘Turn to Me’ campaign encourages the game’s participants to reach out to a coach, player, mate or professional.
As a display of unity, players and referees will wear blue socks and rival teams will come together and shake hands on the field before kick-off.
The initiative will this year align itself with the game’s wellbeing partners, including headspace.
Mini footballs which promote the ‘Turn to Me’ initiative will be distributed to the crowd as well.
QRL Competitions Manager Dave Maiden said the campaign would help deliver some key messages during a crucial period for participants.
“The ‘Turn to Me’ initiative and the message that it puts out there is a really important one for our game, especially at this time of the year when there is pressure on to perform,” Maiden said.
“We’re proud of what this initiative has delivered since 2013, and we look forward to working with our clubs over the course of the weekend to ensure the campaign reaches as many people as possible throughout the rugby league community.”
The ‘Turn to Me’ campaign is supported by Ipswich charity group Swich On Inc, which is staging a special luncheon at Swifts Sports Club tomorrow to raise funds for the initiative.
Easts Tigers v Burleigh Bears
Suzuki Stadium, Saturday, August 25*
Live on Channel 9 from 1pm
Head-to-Head: Burleigh 24 Easts 20 Drawn 2
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #TIGESvBEARS
- Burleigh Bears will be out to play their way into top spot on the ladder in the final round clash against the Tigers.
- If the Bears get the win and the Sunshine Coast upsets Redcliffe later in the day, Burleigh will clinch the minor premiership.
- Easts have won their past five home games, the last four by eight points or less.
- Burleigh have won four of their past five games; and last weekend coach Jimmy Lenihan became only the fourth coach to notch 100 Cup games.
- Bears star Jamal Fogarty requires one point to bring up 600 in the Cup; and it’s a milestone match for prop Luke Page who chalks up a century of games for the Gold Coast club.
- For the Tigers, a win will secure their spot in the finals series, but a heavy loss could bring about their undoing if seventh-placed Ipswich was able to land a big win against Norths.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Townsville Blackhawks
BMD Kougari Oval, Saturday, August 25 – 5pm
Head-to-Head: Townsville 4 Wynnum 0
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #WYNvTSVB
- While the minor premiership is now out of reach for the Townsville Blackhawks; they will still be aiming to claim an important top-two finish when they travel to SEQ to take on the Seagulls.
- The Blackhawks will be hoping for a win to avoid a new record losing streak for the club. They have currently lost their past three games; equal to their worst ever run.
- However, it won’t be an easy task to claim a win; with Wynnum Manly boasting a strong recent home record; having won three of their past four games at BMD Kougari Oval.
- Townville skipper Andrew Niemoeller played his 50th Cup game last week (all for Townsville) and has been named on the bench for this weekend’s match.
- This is set to be the 150th Cup game (all for Wynnum Manly Seagulls) for winger Peter Gubb (pictured below) who is a fan favourite at the club.
Mackay Cutters v Souths Logan Magpies
BB Print Stadium Mackay, Saturday, August 25 – 6pm
Head-to-Head: Souths Logan 15 Mackay 4 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #MCvSLM
- Mackay's win last week was their 100th in the Cup, and their first win in 13 games.
- Souths Logan have endured a lean end to the season, finishing on the wrong end of the scoreboard in 10 of their last 11 games.
- Both the Cutters and Magpies are extremely proud clubs, and their fighting qualities are reflected by premiership wins in 2008 (Souths) and 2013 (Mackay).
- Unfortunately for the Cutters, this will be their third wooden spoon (following 2009 and 2016).
- Magpies five-eighth Guy Hamilton is on track to collect an individual award at next week’s QRL Petero Civoniceva Medal Dinner, with the former Falcon nicely clear at the top of the leading scorers’ standings.
Northern Pride v Tweed Heads Seagulls
Barlow Park, Saturday, August 25 – 6pm
Head-to-Head: Pride 12 Tweed 10
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PRIDEvTHS
- In Round 11 this year, Tweed got the better of the Pride 28-22 to continue their mid-season revival.
- That victory was Tweed’s first in eight games against the Pride.
- Pride have won six of their last seven games at Barlow Park and are strongly fancied to confirm their spot in the 2018 semi-finals series with another victory here.
- Tweed have lost seven of their past eight games to drop out of finals contention.
- Pride stalwart Ryan Ghietti (pictured below) joins Jason Roos with most games played for the club (163 in Cup plus the NRL SCF for both).
- Team-mate and former representative centre Brett Anderson plays his 150th match for the Pride.
- Tweed’s Shaun Carney will notch his 100th game in the Intrust Super Cup.
Redcliffe Dolphins v Sunshine Coast Falcons
Dolphin Stadium, Saturday, August 25 – 6pm
Head-to-Head: Redcliffe 12 Sunshine Coast 8
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PHINSvSCF
- Dolphin Cameron Cullen will make his 50th Cup appearance for Redcliffe. He has previously played for Burleigh and Mackay.
- Redcliffe can control their own destiny, with a win enough to clinch the minor premiership.
- The lowest they can finish is second, but for that to happen, Burleigh would need to beat Easts and then rely on the Sunshine Coast upsetting the Phins.
- Sunshine Coast have lost their past three games to slip out of finals contention. However, they would dearly love to give outgoing coach Craig Ingebrigtsen something to celebrate in his final match in charge of the club.
- Sunshine Coast's win under Ingebrigtsen in the preliminary final at Dolphin Stadium last year was only their second win in their nine games at the venue.
Intrust Super Cup Top 5: Round 23
CQ Capras v PNG Hunters
Browne Park, Saturday, August 25 – 6pm
Head-to-Head: PNG 6 Central 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #CQCvPNG
- The PNG Hunters have a simple equation ahead of them this weekend if they want to play finals football – they must beat the CQ Capras in their final round game if they are to lock in a space ahead of the Ipswich Jets who are breathing down their neck.
- The last time the two sides met in Round 11, it was a close-run affair with the Hunters holding on 18-10 at National Football Stadium.
- The Hunters are currently on a six-game winning streak, having pushed past some indifferent early-season form.
- They have also won their past two away games after winning only one of their previous nine away from home.
- The Capras do have experience beating the Hunters at Browne Park, with their only win over the side coming at the venue in 2016.
- The Capras also enjoy playing in CQ and have won their past three games in the region.
- This will be the 100th game for Hunters back Adex Wera (including NRL SCF); making him the second player to reach the milestone at the club behind Wartovo Puara.
Norths Devils v Ipswich Jets
Bishop Park, Sunday, August 26 – 3pm
Head-to-Head: Norths 24 Ipswich 18 Drawn 2
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #DEVILSvJETS
- There is only one game being played on Sunday – but it could be a vitally important one with the Jets aiming to claim a finals berth.
- Ipswich will be hoping the Capras have done them a favour by defeating the (current) sixth-placed Hunters in their Saturday game.
- While in the head-to-head stakes, Norths have the upper hand; Ipswich have won seven of the past eight games between these two sides.
- However, Norths win over them at Bishop Park last year was their first in five home games against the Jets.
- The Devils have a strong record at home and have won seven of their past nine games; while Ipswich have lost five of their past seven away games.
- In a quirky statistic, Ipswich are on track to be the first Cup team to have kicked more goals than scored tries in a season (88 tries, 89 goals currently).
- Retiring Jets back Wes Conlon requires three points to bring up 500 for Ipswich – he also scored 15 for Souths Logan, making his current Cup total 512.
- Fellow back Marmin Barba requires seven points to bring up 500 in the Cup.
- Halfback Todd Murphy requires 10 points to bring up 500 for Norths (he has 554 Cup points overall).
*Statistics by Brad Tallon
NOTE: The livestreams linked in this preview are not official QRL productions.