While the real 2019 XXXX Queensland Residents side will be named this coming Sunday, Intrust Super Cup fans have been sharing their thoughts on which players they think have done enough to earn a jersey.
QRL content producer Nathan Jones has run his eye over the statistics and named his predicted line up - Best in Intrust Super Cup to line up for XXXX Queensland Residents - while Channel 9 commentator Peter Psaltis has also had a go at naming his side.
Into a crowded field comes another opinion, this time from QRL content producer and female participation media Colleen Edwards.
- Edene Gebbie – Wynnum Manly Seagulls
While Jack Ahearn has a huge case to be considered for this position with his form and leadership this season, there is just something about the style of Edene Gebbie that is exciting to watch. While PNG Hunters are not eligible for this team, Australian-based PNG representatives are (although Gebbie may yet get his representative chance with the Kumuls later in the year). He makes a strong case for Residents selection and has been a run-making machine in 2019, averaging more than 216 per game. He also doesn’t mind breaking a tackle or two, and has done so 59 times this season (the most of anyone so far).
- Troy Leo – Burleigh Bears
One of three backs to be leading the top try scorers tally so far this season with seven (alongside Bears team mate Jesse Arthurs and Wynnum Manly’s Ed Burns). Sitting behind only Harry Grant for line breaks with seven; the softly-spoken Takapuna-born Leo has constantly proven his skills on the field for the Bears this season.
- Gehamat Shibasaki – Norths Devils
An incumbent XXXX Queensland Residents centre, Shibasaki has continued to produce strong efforts this season, which helped earn him a recall to the Brisbane Broncos in Round 4 after making his NRL debut last year. Shibasaki, who was named in the initial squad, but did not play for Japan in the Emerging Nations World Cup last year, featured in the victorious Queensland Under 20 side last season and knows what’s needed to make things happen on the representative level.
- Izaia Perese – Redcliffe Dolphins
While Redcliffe Dolphins have discovered the crown of being the defending premiers can weigh heavily, they have seen some new faces shine. Perese is a familiar name to footy fans due to his rugby union background at Queensland Reds; but the Broncos-contracted back has taken a liking to league and it shows, with defence just as key to his success as his attack, with some striking big hits changing momentum for his team.
- Kalifa Faifai-Loa – Townsville Blackhawks
The unofficial 'Mr Congeniality' of the competition, Faifai-Loa is also an experienced head who is more than happy to share his knowledge with young players coming through. While the Townsville Blackhawks have not been quite the dominant force of past seasons as yet, the 2018 XXXX Queensland Residents winger has been in solid form and can be relied upon to get the job done.
- Nicho Hynes – Sunshine Coast Falcons
Deciding who should fill either of the two halves positions was tough, with many strong, eligible talents in the field including 2018 five-eighth Billy Walters, young gun Tom Dearden and Ipswich Jets general Josh Cleeland all considered for five-eighth. But the early season form of Hynes makes him hard to leave out. He was a standout performer last year in a team that struggled to find wins; and this year he has continued his great form in a team yet to lose a game. Versatile in that he has also made an impact playing at fullback this year, he likes to help others and has 10 try assists so far this season and 10 line break assists.
- Sam Scarlett – Wynnum Manly Seagulls
Always a talent to watch, the Wynnum Manly Seagulls half seems to be playing with a new-found freedom this year and has been instrumental in the Seagulls' strong start to the season. Fresh off the back of a Hastings Deering Man of the Match performance in Round 8, Scarlett leads the competition for try assists with 11 and has the most kick metres with 2184.
- Nat Neale – Ipswich Jets
The Ipswich Jets captain and 2018 Petero Civoniceva Medal winner has not put a foot wrong this season. While the Jets are sitting mid-table currently, the former South Sydney Rabbitohs ace continues to produce the ‘lead-from-the-front’ effort Intrust Super Cup fans have come to expect.
9. Harry Grant - Sunshine Coast Falcons (c)
Even without looking at the statistics, the circumstantial confirmation is in – almost every match report written about the Sunshine Coast’s eight straight wins so far this season outline just how important Grant’s contribution has been to the result. And fittingly the stats back that up, as Grant’s figures are right up there in many key areas, having made the most tackles with 294, the most line breaks with eight and seven line break assists and seven try assists to boot.
- Aaron Pene - CQ Capras
With Easts Tigers bookend Albert Vete unavailable for at least the next month due to injury, it has thrown up a head scratcher for the jersey left vacant by the exodus of Redcliffe Dolphins gun Sam Anderson to New South Wales. Patrick Carrigan came off the bench in last year’s match and would be a natural selection, but given his recent NRL duties, may not be available. Luke Page too is a consideration, but is expected to be offered a representative opportunity with the PNG Kumuls later in the season. Despite their poor start, the CQ Capras have unearthed a forward talent in Aaron Pene, who can also play second row / lock. The former Newtown Jet has featured in his past four games at prop and twice played the full 80 minutes in that position with some strong results.
- Keenan Palasia - Wynnum Manly Seagulls
It’s always great to see good people doing well, and this year, hard-working forward Keenan Palasia looks to have gone to another level. No stranger to the rep arena, he was part of the Queensland Under 20 side in 2017 alongside Brodie Croft and Corey Allan. A friendly face off the field, but a tough competitor on it, his output this year has played a big part in lifting the Seagulls to their strong start.
- Shane Wright - Mackay Cutters
The young North Queensland Cowboys prospect, much like his team mate Mitch Dunn, has impressed with his contributions week-to-week despite the Mackay Cutters finding it hard to string wins together. The Perth-born talent averages just under 128 running metres per game (with 403 post contact metres in total) and has shown a good turn of speed and neat footwork for a big man, which was best demonstrated by his two-try haul against the Tweed Seagulls in Round 6.
- Thomas Gilbert – Townsville Blackhawks
A popular choice it seems across the board, the young Cowboy has been a revelation in the Intrust Super Cup this year – a huge step for someone who said during pre-season he simply wanted to “play good footy” and put his hand up for a Cup start and to play consistently. The junior Queensland representative player has more than done that and would not look out of place in another maroon jersey.
- Mitch Cronin - Wynnum Manly Seagulls
We have a ‘Mr Congeniality’ in the team, so why not make room for ‘Mr Reliable’. Mitch Cronin has been there before and done the job for the team. While in this hypothetical squad, Grant is in the hooking role and for the most part plays the full 80 in club games, he shared the role with Reed Mahoney to good effect in the Queensland Under 20 win last year. Cronin is also just two votes behind Grant on the Petero Civoniceva Medal leader board and has helped spark much of the attack for the Wynnum this year.
- Peter Hola - Northern Pride
Another popular fan choice for inclusion. Despite Northern Pride’s early season struggles, Peter Hola’s performances have been eye-catching. Playing mostly at lock, he has made a total of 1049 run metres (just under 400 of them post-contact) and 178 tackles. Highly regarded by the Cowboys, he earlier this year signed a four-year extension with the club and was one of four Cup players named for the Junior Kiwis in their Test last year.
- Lamar Liolevave - Tweed Seagulls
Perhaps because they are a New South Wales-based team, Tweed Seagulls can sometimes be overlooked when it comes to XXXX Queensland Residents selection discussions. In a mixed start overall for the Gulls, second rower Lamar Liolevave has stood up and done a good job for his side, playing firstly at centre before moving to his preferred position in the back row. While he has some errors in his game, he also brings a level of creativity and would be a handy option off the bench.
- Bennett Leslie - Easts Tigers
Bennett Leslie is another forward who has made great strides this season. While always a solid performer for the Mackay Cutters, the change of scenery seems to be doing wonders for Leslie, who moved to the Tigers in the off-season. He more than holds his own in a star-studded Tigers team and has an average of 135.6 running metres per game. He is in the top five for tackles made this season with 253, with a tackle efficiency of just under 95 per cent.
18th Man: Patrick Mago - Souths Logan Magpies
Picked at lock in last year’s XXXX Queensland Residents team, the Souths Logan Magpies forward has spent the majority of this season in the front row. While the form line of the Magpies overall has seen them only win two games so far, Patrick Mago is a known performer and would put in the work – be it either in the front or second row – if called upon.
Tune into Gem this Sunday, May 5, and onto QRL.com.au for the official 2019 XXXX Queensland Residents team announcement.