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Falcons and Wynnum clash includes some epic match ups

The undefeated Sunshine Coast Falcons will this weekend overtake the record for the most consecutive wins at the start of the season if they topple second-placed Wynnum Manly Seagulls. 

Falcons coach Eric Smith put it perfectly when he said it would be an exciting game because there were so many epic match ups - Mitch Cronin and Harry Grant, Sam Scarlett and Todd Murphy, Edene Gebbie and Nicho Hynes. 

"They're the team for us to beat in the competition," Smith said. 

Smith said his team's determination to give every game "a red hot crack" meant they had been so far unbeatable and he - and his team - looked forward to the challenge this weekend. 

"I didn't see this start coming," Smith, in his first year coaching Intrust Super Cup at the Falcons, said. 

"We're the same as every other team in the competition - we go out with the mindset every weekend that we want to win that game. 

"We've been very fortunate that we've been able to do that for 13 games - an exceptional effort."

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Smith said he had been asked a few times what the key was; he said it came down to having a "really hardworking" squad. 

"They're driven to get better, they're driven to keep improving as a team and individuals, and they're pretty driven to make sure they hold their spot in the team," Smith said.

"We've got plenty of good players in our squad who have only played a couple of games, who are putting plenty of pressure on as well.

"They're a really hardworking team and that attitude has been making it really hard for teams to get on top of us. 

"There have obviously been times during the first 13 rounds where teams have got on top of us, but again, one of the big parts of our game is we have the ability and mindset that we are going to fight for 80 minutes. 

"And when teams have got on top us so far this season, we've just continued to fight and made sure we worked hard until the end to get the result."

Smith said from what he had seen, Wynnum would test his team the most. 

"Obviously we played them Round 1 and we only just got the victory by two points - with a couple of minutes to go actually, so it was a really tight contest," Smith said.

"It's going to be interesting to see how both teams have improved. I know they definitely have, and so have we, so it's going to be a good challenge to see how much we have improved."

Smith said given the calibre of players within both sides, it would be a very exciting game.

Edene Gebbie. Photo: QRL Media
Edene Gebbie. Photo: QRL Media

"They're a quality team - obviously Gebbie at the back has been outstanding... he's run I don't know how many thousand metres, he's so unpredictable and dangerous when he runs the footy," Smith said.

"Obviously Sam Scarlett and Delouise Hoeter on that right edge have got a great combination going together... they've given just about every team they've played against a headache. 

"They're probably a pretty complete team when you look at their back rowers in Love-Henry and Barr, and their centres, and both their halves.

"I think Cronin, along with our hooker Harry Grant, are probably the two best nines in the competition, so that's going to be a good match up. 

Harry Grant. Photo: QRL Media
Harry Grant. Photo: QRL Media

"And Scarlett's going great, their halfback, and Murph - our halfback, is going great too, so that's another exciting match up. And obviously Gebbie and Nicho Hynes at fullback.

"It's going to be a really exciting game with those match ups around the field, and being a top-of-the-table game.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to testing our guys."

Wynnum coach Adam Brideson said he was impressed with how his team had been performing and he expected them to perform well again this weekend. 

Brideson said facing the Falcons would be the ultimate test.

"They haven't been beaten and they've done a very good job - they put a lot of pressure on you defensively, their No.7, No.6, No.9 and No.1 are very talented football players and they've been able to score plenty of points," Brideson said. 

"Collectively we've been able to defend really hard and come out with some good results off the back of our defensive efforts.

"Obviously we're going to have to be good right across the park - both defensively and in attack. It's certainly a good challenge for us and something we're really looking forward to."

Seagulls skipper Mitch Cronin said he expected it to be a "tough game". 

Mitch Cronin. Photo: QRL Media
Mitch Cronin. Photo: QRL Media

"We expect it will be another close game... it will be a massive test for us," Cronin, who recently celebrated his 100th Intrust Super Cup game, said.

"We've been improving every week. We've won I think seven in a row now.

"This is definitely a game we've been looking forward to... I've got no doubt if we  turn up with the right attitude, we'll be alright.

"We haven't really spoken too much about what they can do... everyone knows what they can do and the players they've got.

"We've just been focusing on our job and what we can do. If we can get ourselves right and prepare well, it puts us in a good place. 

"If we can get another win leading into the bye, then we can start the back end of the season with some confidence and hopefully keep the winning streak alive."

Seagulls CEO Hanan Laban said "it has been a positive start to the year for the Gulls and pleasing to see where are currently sitting in the ladder".

"The community has really got behind the team and the Chook Pen has been rocking the last few home games," Laban said.

"When the Chook Pen is loud and parochial like that, BMD Kougari Oval is a hard place to be for visiting teams.

"I am certain the volume will be dialled up this weekend when the undefeated Falcons are in town.”