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Foley Shield feeling to Brothers derby

There will be Brothers but no others tussling for top spot in the Components Only Cup tomorrow.

Typically close allies, both the Mackay and Townsville Brethren will forgo their tight-knit confraternity for one night only as both teams aim to remain undefeated after four rounds of Mackay's first grade competition.

Separated by only for-and-against points on the ladder, this round's pinnacle between the two powerhouses will mean more than just claiming the win, with Townsville coach Roy Baira suggesting there is a Foley Shield feeling to it.

"This year's competition definitely has a bit of a Foley Shield feel about it," Baira said.

"All three regions [Cairns, Townsville and Mackay] have always challenged each other and had the thought in our head that whoever wins that grand final thinks they're better than the other comps.

"Mackay won the Foley Shield last year with a really good squad and have a really strong competition.

"This is our chance to go down there and do well in their comp, especially against Brothers this weekend."

Currently sitting third and fresh off a bye, the former Townsville Blackhawks Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup coach says his outfit will need to be ready from the opening whistle.

"They're a young team with really good leaders," Baira said.

"We'll have to make sure we're on deck and completing our sets at a high rate and our defensive structures are in place.

"Chris [Sandow's] kicking game has been on song in the opening games they've played.

"He's got full control of the game at the moment so our job is make him feel a little uncomfortable and just stay with it.

"We really have to be switched on to come up against them or even come close as they are quality opposition."

Former Blackhawks coach and current Townsville Brothers coach Roy Baira.
Former Blackhawks coach and current Townsville Brothers coach Roy Baira.

Sandow - now at the helm of the ladder-leading Mackay Brothers - says the good feeling at his club is the reason for their three wins from three starts this season.

"Training is going well and all the boys are buying into what we're doing here at Brothers," the former 150-game NRL star said.

"We've got a lot of young fellas and they're willing to learn and do the right things.

"We do have a few injuries heading into this weekend's match, but whoever will come into the 17 will join knowing they have a job to do. 

"Brothers have been really strong up in Townsville for quite some time now so it'll be great to play them to see where both teams are at."

The clash will be extra special for Mackay playing in memory of club legend, Peter Keogh.


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"We had a chat at training last night with Peter's wife and daughter about what the occasion means to them," Sandow said.

"Mackay Brothers are a great, family club and to play for Peter is going to be something special.

"There are a lot of local boys in the team and at the club playing for our jersey, just like Peter did.

"We'll hopefully have a good crowd tomorrow to support both teams as it'll be a great day."

The matchup headlines four games of rugby league at Leprechaun Park from 1pm.

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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