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Valleys, Wynnum chase win to secure week off

With two rounds remaining in the In Safe Hands Cup, a win for ladder-leaders Valleys and Wynnum this weekend will all but earn the two juggernauts the much-welcomed week off in a fortnight's time.

And after 10 gruelling rounds, the chance to freshen up will be more than advantageous to prepare for finals.

All eight teams are still a mathematical chance to feature in the playoffs with only six set to play past September, so every point scored and conceded is vital to each other's destiny.

The Diehards survived a comeback, this time from the gallant Panthers... and they nearly did it with 12 men for the last 36 minutes last Saturday.

Valleys held a comfortable 18-6 lead at half-time before Michael Egan was sent off.

The Panthers came within two points to trail 30-28, before a lovely show-and-go by Scott Prince put a slight buffer back between the two with six minutes to go, but then a late try from Rashaun Denny sealed the deal to win 38-28.

Panthers coach Craig Ingebrigtsen was full of praise post-game for his exhausted chargers.

“That was massive for us to play like that with 12 men for nearly 40 minutes," Ingebrigtsen said.

"I thought our effort was outstanding with the way we kept showing up and coming back when they probably should have put us to the sword.

"We’ll get confidence out of that to be fair."  

Valleys skipper Simon Brittain-Snowden was relieved with the win.

"It was intense. Coming up against Wests is always a good game," the Diehards halfback said.

"They always come hard against us... it was tough.”

When asked about his combination with former 300-game NRL star Scott Prince, he was in awe.

"Man, he’s a freak!" Brittain-Snowden said.

"He’s a freak of nature and also such a good dude.

"He’s here to help us out, so all we do is listen and he’s taken to us really well.

"We have a target on our back now, but we just have to concentrate on ourselves.”

Valleys will travel to Brighton for the Roosters' last home game in the hope of locking up a top two spot and one hand on the minor premiership.

The Roosters are currently just inside the top six and a win will have them play finals football.

The Diehards have the same 17 backing up, while Brighton welcome back Sheldon Pitama.

Brighton have been flat of late and the prospect of taking down a top four side will be motivation enough.

The clash in the halves between Cameron Cullen and Scott Prince will be a terrific matchup.

Carina are purring along nicely and will look for another three competition points when they take on Normanby at Graceville.

Tigers playmaker Brayden Torpy has returned to form as he links with a backline that can produce tries from anywhere on the field.

Tigers skipper Lachlan Barr will once again have the same hungry six on a mission up the middle.

Normanby also have points in them with Gideon Mzembe, the elusive Brandon Roberts and demolition man Jacob Tonge - none of which are strangers to the try line. 

The Panthers will look to bounce back from their punishing outing when they host Pine Rivers.

Bryce Donovan has been named at halfback while Sam Burns starts at lock.

The West Brisbane forwards have been well-led by Michael Molo up front, but the real danger comes from the bench with former skipper Foisa Peni.

Peni has added a fresh impact when called onto the field of play, not only with his defence, but his glorious ball-handling and deft passing.

Pine Rivers are throwing Bailey Butler and Brenton Stoiner on the field in single digit jerseys for the opening exchanges.

Out wide, Will Partridge has the ability to score some wonderful tries as he did in the 2016 grand final where he crossed three times.

The combination on the right with Kurt Shayler will need to be squashed by the Panthers or the Bears may take the picnic basket off the home side.

In the final match of Round 9, the Seagulls take on Bulimba at Langlands and it will not be easy for the Bulldogs.

They are driven by their clubs’ culture with their ‘brother in arms’ attitude as they always look forward and not behind.

Jared Blanke returns to a huge pack led by the their ever reliable and inspirational leader Adam Kambouris.

Wynnum have the same 17 as coach Darren Ferricks settles on the combinations he believes will drive them into October.

Luke Bateman and 'the animal' Max Elliott need to be contained, as will their outside men and Aaron Booth and Max Plath will line up together as they have done all season in the halves.

Round 9 fixtures

Saturday, September 19

Time Match Venue
3pm Brighton Roosters v Valleys Diehards Jim Lawrie Oval, Brighton
3pm Bulimba Bulldogs v Wynnum Manly Seagulls Totally Workwear Stadium, Coorparoo
3pm Normanby Hounds v Carina Tigers Bert St. Clair Oval, Graceville
4.30pm West Brisbane Panthers v Pine Rivers Bears Frank Lind Oval, Mitchelton


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