It will be a top of the table clash when the Burleigh Bears take on Runaway Bay at Pizzey Park in Round 7 of Rugby League Gold Coast's QTOP A Grade competition.
With this year’s competition already showcasing some great rugby league, this Sunday’s clash between the two ladder leaders is one many have been waiting for.
As both sides jostle for the minor premiership, the match is set to have a finals-like intensity with both team’s looking to send a message to the rest of the competition.
Runaway Bay are yet to lose a game in 2020, with a draw against Ormeau all the way back in Round 2 their only blemish in what has been an almost perfect season.
Things have been far from easy however, with the quality of the remaining six teams ensuring that the Seagulls have been pushed all the way in several close games this year.
After a narrow two-point win over Currumbin last weekend, coach Nick Gleeson said his team will need to continue to work on their own performances if they want to continue their red-hot run of form.
“Burleigh have an ultra-professional, young and super-fit side, but we need to worry about our own stuff," Gleeson said.
"Our goal is to beat every side, but we need to be consistent for 80 minutes.”
With Intrust Super Cup players made available for selection in the QTOP competition this season, Gleeson said while many teams took time to work out combinations, they are now starting to put it all together, making each match a challenge.
“Early on there were lots of changes in finding the best roster, but now sides are gelling a lot more," the Runaway Bay coach said.
"In the last two weeks, we have had big leads, but then we have been getting dragged back into the contest.”
In a season where most sides are struggling to find consistency each week, Gleeson credited his side's ability to continue to perform on the field despite racking up an ever-growing injury toll.
"Last weekend , I lost my winger Queille Murray with a broken hand and this weekend, I’ll be without centre Jordan Menzies due to personal reasons," Gleeson said.
"Our fullback John Mackin may also be out with a groin injury, so there’s already three changes since last week.
"As we have done all year, I’m confident that whoever we put on the field will do a good job, which is a credit to the great depth we have in the club.”
Coming off a bye last weekend, Burleigh head coach Matt Foster wants to see his side keep improving and learn from their two-point loss to Mudgeeraba in Round 5, which saw them jump out to an 18-0 lead at half-time, only to concede 20 unanswered points in the second half.
“It was a tough loss to take, but credit to Mudgeeraba... they fought all the way," Foster said.
"What let us down was being able to manage the game, as we had some key organisers out due to injury and just didn’t have enough experience to close it out."
Despite the setback, Foster was upbeat about his side’s prospects moving forward, hoping to see every one of his players continue to improve each week leading into finals.
“Our mantra is to keep improving," last year's premiership-winning coach said.
“We need to improve as individuals on things we can control – roles and responsibilities.
"If we improve as individuals, we will come together as a team and perform.”
In what is set to be a fast and physical game, Foster said his side is certainly up for the challenge this Sunday.
“Runaway Bay have a very physical forward pack, a couple of great organisers and a real runner in their fullback," Foster said.
"They play a patient game and are happy to go toe-to-toe, so it will be a physical game that will go right to the end.”
The clash will be broadcast live on the Rugby League Gold Coast Facebook page.
Round 7 fixtures
|3.25pm Saturday, September 12||Mudgeeraba Redbacks v Currumbin Eagles||Firth Park, Mudgeeraba|
|3pm Sunday, September 13||Southport Tigers v Ormeau Shearers||Owen Park, Southport|
|3pm Sunday, September 13||Burleigh Bears v Runaway Bay Seagulls||Pizzey Park, Burleigh|
Round 7 teams
Mudgeeraba Redbacks v Currumbin Eagles
1. Ricardo Parata 5. Henry Garrett 3. Nathan Schwass 4. Dylan Pelo 2. Joshua Bukowski 6. William Brimson 7. Marino Allen 10. Jesse Malcolm 9. Brent Woolf 8. Jack Glossop 11. James Hill 12. Parahi Wilson 13. Kobe Tararo 14. Jakob Schimke 15. Shaun Sinclair 16. Lane Ticehurst 17. Steven Rooney
1. Talor Walters 2. Joshua Walker 3. Blake Anderson 4. Thomas Berkers 5. Bayley Desmond 6. Jake Gleeson 7. Luke Jurd 8. Stuart Mason 9. Cole Geyer 10. Jarrod Gill 11. Ayden Lee 12. Samuel Saville 13. Michael Gray 14. Chase Kereama-Williams 15. Ben Liyou 16. Denzal Ngati 17. Pele Peletelese
Southport Tigers v Ormeau Shearers
1. Kobi Annand 2. Harley Wood 3. Lee Turner 4. Curtis Dansey-Smaller 5. Callum Burgess-Boomer 6. Campbell Pirihi 7. Jack Cook 8. Jarrod Morfett 9. Liam Hampson 10. Daniel Shannon 11. Lamar Manuel-Liolevave 12. Samuel Shannon 13. Brock Hamill 14. Blake Scott 15. Nazareth Monsall 16. Brayden Young 17. Dylan Lagerstrom
1. Kurtis Rowe 2. Ono So’Oialo 3. Haydyn O’Hara 4. Shay Stevens 5. Jalen Tangiiti-Turner 6. Conner Toia 7. Craig Chapman 8. Anthony Gray 9. Albert Junior Ma Chong 10. Andrew Petaia 11. Lazeryth Sua 12. Izayah Nuku 13. Coen Rankmore 14. Anthony Stoeckert 15. Liam Hori-Clark 16. Mauiuia Poe 20. Jaymz Douglas-Webb
Burleigh Bears v Runaway Bay Seagulls
1. George House 2. William Evans 3. Regan Ogle 4. Taine Tuaupiki 5. Shawn Anderson 6. Shallin Fuller 7. Dallas Wells 8. Tyler Szepanowski 9. Jordan Scott 10. Lochlyn Sheldon 11. Brett Stratton 16. Tristan Powell 13. Reece Summer 14. Alofana Khan-Periera 15. Bailey Court 18. Andrew Scougall 17. Ben Valeni
1. John Mackin 2. Jacob Garland 3. Jamie Anderson 4. Luke Burton 5. Jaylan To'o 6. Guy Hamilton 7. James Poland 9. Jenan Wedderburn-Parrish 10. Doryaan Hape Apiata 11. Darcy Sims 12. William Samuel 13. Carsil Vaikai 14. Mitchell Whitton 16. Alex Bishop 18. Vinncent Takataka 20. Harrison Muller