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More questions than answers ahead of final round

A big win to the Seagulls and a draw between the Tigers and Hounds has thrown up more questions than answers as to who will finish where on the ladder heading into the final round of the In Safe Hands Cup.

The huge 66-0 result to Wynnum Manly over Bulimba and a 14-point win to Valleys over Brighton has the Diehards and Baysiders sitting on top of the ladder level on 25 points, however the Seagulls have the advantage being 10 for-and-against points ahead.

The shock draw between Carina and Normanby has propelled the Hounds into semi-final contention. A win against Bulimba and West Brisbane victory over Brighton will put the Normanby side into the finals series next week.

Valleys and Wynnum will have the weekend off regardless of this weekend's results as they will finish in the top two.

Looking ahead to Round 10, the Tigers host the Seagulls at 3pm.

Whilst a loss to either will not change their situation next week, the Seagulls will look for their first minor premiership title to add to their back-to-back premierships in the reformed Brisbane Rugby League A Grade competition.

Carina were going along swimmingly with five-straight wins until the Hounds produced their best game of the season to draw with the Tigers.

Coach Jason DeLizio has named an unchanged lineup, whilst Seagulls boss Darren Ferricks has named Harlon Collins in the centres to replace one of the form outside backs of the season, Junior Pauga.

The possibility of these two sides coming together in week two of the final series is real, so this game is important to have the mental edge over the other.

The match of the round is between Bulimba and Normanby at Totally Workwear Stadium and has so much riding on the result.

For Bulimba, a win will avoid the wooden spoon; whereas for Normanby, a win could put them into the finals if the Roosters lose to the Panthers... but a loss will earn them the wooden spoon.

The Bulldogs threw everything at the Seagulls defence without a crossing supporting Wynnum's best defensive stats of the competition.

To be fair, it was a closer contest than the score line suggested.

The Hounds will have their collective stick like tails in the air after coming close to bringing down Carina last week.

Normanby have named speedster Michael Crosby on the wing to add more firepower to their backline, but Bulimba will have Lincoln Fisher back at lock to add some punch in the middle.

West Brisbane also have the luxury of a solid season behind them to guarantee a finals spot.

Panthers coach Craig Ingebrigtsen will no doubt be frustrated with their 80-minute efforts.

Time and again the Panthers have put a near-perfect 40 minutes out on the paddock, however they have either given up a lead at half-time or had to come from behind to get the result.

Wests welcome back the magic of Tommy Butterfield and there is no denying he can turn a game on his own.

Round 1 saw a titanic struggle in the mud with the Panthers prevailing 20-10, but the Roosters need a win to play finals the following week, so they could well come up against the mud and blood of Wests.

Valleys had to get the big stick out last week to fight off the pesky Roosters, and they come up against a similar side in the Pine Rivers outfit.

Adrian Rouse will be searching for a consistent 80 minutes and has again put Brenton Stonier into the starting line up with Bailey Butler.

While going down to the Panthers last week, they have - as they have done all year - tested a top four side, but the Diehards managed to score three tries in 10 minutes to eventually come away with the win.

The Valleys coach has named an unchanged line up that will be rewarded with the week off after this weekend, even if the Bears are able to cause an upset.

*Main image courtesy of Vanessa Hafner

Round 10 fixtures

Saturday, September 26

Time Match Venue
3pm Carina Tigers v Wynnum Manly Seagulls Leo Williams Oval, Carina
3pm Bulimba Bulldogs v Normanby Hounds Totally Workwear Stadium, Coorparoo
4.30pm Pine Rivers Bears v Valleys Diehards Mathieson Oval, Petrie
4.30pm Wests Brisbane Panthers v Brighton Roosters Frank Lind Oval, Mitchelton