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Round 3 preview: Sibling rivalry for Upton sisters

XXXX Rivalry Round may have gone, but this weekend, a sibling rivalry will take centre stage when Central Queensland Capras and Burleigh Bears face off in Round 3 of the BHP Premiership.

Second rower Sharni Upton will face off against her sister and Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons superstar Tamika Upton for the first time ever when the Capras host Burleigh on Sunday, with Tamika lining up as a fullback for the Bears.

Older sister Sharni said there had been a long history of playing with Tamika while they were growing up, so it would be “weird” to not be running out together.

“We started out playing touch together at an elite eight level and we were always on the same team,” Sharni said.

“It will definitely be weird not running out with her.”

Tamika was also looking forward to seeing what it would be like to face off, not only with her sister, but with a group of players she knows so well.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Tamika said.

“We haven’t really played against each other, we have always been in the same team, whether it be touch or football, so it will be interesting.

“I am super excited (to be playing against the Capras). Pretty much everyone in the Capras team I have either played with or against (locally), so they are all really good friends of mine as well.

“It will be interesting coming up against the whole side, just to see people I pretty much grew up with.”

As young players, it was Sharni who made the move first to rugby league, but it was Tamika who then convinced her to return to the sport after taking some time away.

Tamika Upton and Sharni Upton. Photo: supplied
Tamika Upton and Sharni Upton. Photo: supplied

“I went to league first and then had a bit of break, and then she came over and convinced me to play again, so that’s how our league journey together started,” Sharni said.

“From there, she’s taken off and become a superstar of the league world and moved on, so now we are stuck playing against her.”

Despite it being a strange new experience for her, Sharni said she was looking forward to the challenge of playing against her sister.

“I’m actually really excited to play against her,” Sharni said.

“It’s not the same, not playing with her, but it’s always good to see her on the field.”

So far this season, Sharni’s Capras have registered one win and one loss, while the Bears are continuing their strong 2020 form with two comprehensive wins on the trot.

Sharni said the Round 2 loss against North Queensland Gold Stars was not ideal, but the side was continually building from week to week.

“We were obviously a little bit disappointed in how we went, but we are trying not to dwell on it,” Sharni said.

“We have just gotten back to basics and hoping to build on what we started in Round 1.”

Sharni was expecting the Bears to be tough to beat and predicted this weekend’s clash would be decided by who produced the best defensive effort.   

“I think they’ve been pretty strong in the first couple of games and obviously all of last season, so I think we are just expecting them to have really a really good forward pack and really good execution as well,” Sharni said.

Round 3 action will start at 3pm on Saturday when Valleys Diehards host Valkyries.

The Diehards are unbeaten so far in the competition, securing tough wins against North Queensland Gold Stars and West Brisbane Panthers. Valleys boast an in-form second row with Kody House claiming the Hastings Deering player of the match honours in last weekend’s win, while Natassja Purontakanen was recently named in the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons extended squad.

With the Bears and Capras kick-starting Sunday’s action, the other games on that day will feature the Gold Stars hosting Tweed Seagulls in Jack Manski Oval.

The Gold Stars kicked into gear last weekend against the Capras with a eight tries to three win, while Tweed were unable to match it with the Bears in their XXXX Rivalry Round clash.

This game will be live stream on the Valleys Diehards Facebook page.

The final game of the round will see Brisbane Tigers, who claimed an important win against Valkyries last weekend, at home to a young West Brisbane Panthers outfit who are looking to claim their first victory.

The Panthers have named Maroons representative and team skipper Julia Robinson to make her first appearance of the season at fullback.

Brisbane Tigers v West Brisbane Panthers

This match will be broadcast via QRL.com.au, Intrust Super Cup app, QRL Facebook.