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Red-hot Seagulls perched on top

The Wynnum Manly Seagulls sit perched at the top of the In Safe Hands Cup ladder after another 80-minute effort, defeating the West Brisbane Panthers 16-10 at Frank Lind Oval last Saturday.

In the previous two seasons, the red and green have lifted the prestigious silverware in its former format, walking a fine line just to qualify.

But this season, they are now the hunted.

The Panthers loss to the Gulls has them in third place on 10 points with Valleys sitting second after their comprehensive 36-10 win over Carina, giving them a slight edge in the for-and-against tally. 

The Brighton Roosters - with their massive 36-point first win over Bulimba - are now in fifth, just below the Tigers who currently occupy the final spot in the top four.

Normanby also registered their first win, taking care of Pine Rivers 28-10 to draw level with Bulimba and Normanby in the ladder - all three sitting outside the top four by only two points.

This weekend, the competition has the teams from the north side of the river up against the southerners.

Wynnum Manly will be out to stay in front when they take on Pine Rivers at home.

Coach Darren Ferricks has former Canberra Raiders regular Luke Bateman returning off the bench, with Max Elliott getting better with each outing at lock.

It will be a fascinating battle in the forwards with the mercurial Brenton Stonier joining the energised Pine Rivers big men, meaning the Seagulls will have to be on their game with the visitors looking for their second win.

Wynnum may have to call the safety word "dewey" in case the Bears get deadly.

West Brisbane, who enjoy sparring with the Diehards, face another traditional rival in Normanby at Bert St Clair Oval.

Luke Srama is the only coach to name an unchanged line up from last week after the Hounds' impressive win.

"It was definitely a big confidence boost for the boys last week," Srama said.

"It has been a bit frustrating for me and the squad for the first few rounds knowing what we can do as a group."

Meanwhile, the Panthers will be out to right the ship after their first loss.

Coach Craig Ingebrigtsen has named another fullback with regular half Gerard McCullum wearing the number one jersey as Intrust Super Cup half Bryce Donovan comes in to partner Reece Braun.

Donovan, who captained Redcliffe last season before moving to Norths, will be joined by another former ‘Phin in Corban Daniels, who has also been named in the starting 13.

Valleys were outstanding again last week at Carina, putting the Tigers to the sword as they prepare to tackle the Bulimba Bulldogs.

Scott Prince's kicking game was outstanding, but the old legs couldn’t quite go the distance after an intercept in the Diehards end zone.

The Diehards will also be bolstered by the return of half Simon Brittain-Snowden.

For Bulimba, they came crashing back to earth last week and will look to find the form they took to the field two weeks ago.

Coach Michael Lambert has made some significant changes in the backs, while tough forwards James Sharkie and Jarred Blanke resume their up front combination from their Panthers days.

Carina have slipped in the last few weeks with back-to-back losses, forcing changes by Jason Di Lizio.

Josh Curti will start in the halves, replacing Brayden Torpy and there is a slight change to their backline.

Di Lizio has also put some extra mongrel on the bench as the competition's early favourites look to get their mojo back.

Brighton have been building nicely, and with Cam Cullen bringing his tricks to the chooks, they are growing in confidence with each outing.

Brighton coach Dylan Slater has some agro to come off the bench to help tame the Tigers in what shapes up as the match of the round.

This clash will be broadcast live on the Brisbane Rugby League Facebook page.

Round 5 fixtures

Saturday, August 22

Time Match Venue
3pm Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Pine Rivers Bears Kitchener Park, Wynnum
3pm Valleys Diehards v Bulimba Bulldogs Emerson Park, Grange
3.15pm Normanby Hounds v West Brisbane Panthers Bert St Clair Oval, Graceville
4.30pm Brighton Roosters v Carina Tigers Jim Lawrie Oval, Brighton

 

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