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Norths, Redcliffe aim up with every win crucial in deadlocked season

In a heavily congested ladder, both the Redcliffe Dolphins and Norths Devils will have a chance to climb further when they come head-to-head in Round 9 of the Hastings Deering Colts competition.

Devils coach Rhett Tronc said their strong 60-0 victory over the Mustangs in Round 8 was more pleasing from a defensive outlook.

“Unfortunately, the Mustangs are having some challenging times at the moment but sometimes when you play those teams, you can sometimes switch off and concede some points here and there. They’ve scored some points themselves this year, but it was pleasing to hold them to zero,” Tronc said.

“It was a goal for us and defending the line was more important to us than the points we scored.”

Their opposition for the weekend - the Redcliffe Dolphins - inched their way into sixth spot after a narrow 24-22 victory over Burleigh at the weekend and sit on equal points with the third-placed Blackhawks.

A penalty shot on the buzzer from halfback Sam Thompson claimed the victory for the side in what was one of the most closely contested contests of the 2021 season.  

Tronc said that despite a slow start to the season, he believed his side can really make an impact on the competition in its back end.

“There’s two points between third and 12th I think, so it’s a tight ladder and we’ve hit past the halfway mark this week,” Tronc said.

“[We are] not happy with where we are. We are certainly not content with where we are."

"We are four from eight and we were probably well in position to be eight from eight at this stage, so we recognise that if we can meet our own expectations then we will be in a really good place in the next eight weeks.”

The Norths Devils are currently sitting ninth. Photo: Josh Woning/QRL
The Norths Devils are currently sitting ninth. Photo: Josh Woning/QRL

The Dolphins would be sharing a similar feeling, happy sitting in 6th spot but not content and keen to continue their recent form and push into the top three come finals time.

Tronc said he is aware of how challenging and clinical the Dolphins outfit is, and his squad will need to be on their game if they were to come away with the victory.

“[It will be] a very hard game, the Dolphins are the Dolphins, they’re always strong,” Tronc said.

“Defensively is probably the main goal [for this weekend] because we’ve conceded more points than we’ve wanted to but last week was a good start towards improving that.

“We play some good footy at periods but it’s probably about just stringing more of those periods together, sometimes that can be the challenge with this grade of footy but certainly it’s a group expectation, not just a coach expectation.”

The Dolphins are making a name for themselves winning nail-biting games like last weekend as well as in Round 4 against the Blackhawks, but they will be hoping they won’t need to have another tight finish this weekend. 

Tronc said there are three really important players for his group who have been integral in maintaining their performance despite the team being hampered by injuries and an inconsistent playing 17 week-to-week.

“Lodoviko Cokanauto has been really good for us in the opening eight rounds and is improving every week, so he’s going really good and there’s probably a couple of other dudes in there as well,” Tronc said.

“Danny Heenan and Zakaria McGuire are really resilient, tough young men who play big minutes and certainly put their bodies on the line.”

The Dolphins will be looking towards Thompson to lead them to another victory after his heroics late in Round 8, as well as try scoring machine Samuel Elara.

The Tigers continued their strong performances with a clinical 42-16 victory over the Falcons with coach Mark Gliddon stating that completing at 94 percent definitely held them in good stead, despite the second half turning into a dog fight.

They will come up against a Blackhawks outfit who are threatening to dethrone them from their top two standing. Townsville will be confident as well coming off two adamant wins, 70-24 against the Mustangs and defeating the Capras 52-12.

Brisbane Tigers in action at Totally Workwear Stadium. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
Brisbane Tigers in action at Totally Workwear Stadium. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL

Gliddon said he is well aware of the threat the Blackhawks side poses.

“It’s going to be a tough road trip up to Blackhawks’ territory. They’re definitely a top four side,” Gliddon said.

“We have a couple busted from [the weekend] but certainly looking forward to the challenge.”

Burleigh lost their closely-contested clash with Redcliffe 24-22, ending a three-game winning streak but still sit in fifth spot.

On the other side, the Cutters are coming off two impressive performances - putting the rest of the competition on notice with a 22-22 draw against competition frontrunners Wynnum Manly in Round 7 and winning comfortably last weekend 36-16 against Tweed.

The Capras have been struggling as of late, coming off back-to-back losses and on paper, this seems to be their best chance to end their unfortunate streak.

The Pride though bounced back from a heavy 54-28 loss by the Tigers to register a narrow victory against last-placed Ipswich, so it will be anyone’s game this weekend.

It’s the 'flockbuster' this weekend in Round 9 when frontrunners Wynnum Manly face off against middle-of-the-pack Tweed.

Try time for Wynnum Manly Seagulls. Photo: Jim O'Reilly/QRL
Try time for Wynnum Manly Seagulls. Photo: Jim O'Reilly/QRL

The red and green bounced back from the 22-22 draw to the Cutters with a 34-24 win over fourth-placed Souths Logan, whilst Tweed had their four game streak cut short with a 36-16 downfall to the Cutters.

While 2021 has been a tough season for either side, there will be a positive this weekend with one guaranteed to secure their first win.

If form is anything to go by, the Jets went down by 10 points to the Pride in Round 8, while the Mustangs lost by 60 points to Norths, but there’ll be plenty to play for this weekend.

The Falcons fell short by a clinical Tigers with a 42-16 score line and have dropped from fourth to seventh because of it.

They will be looking to return to the winner's circle and the top four, but to do that, they will have to pull off a win against Souths Logan, who will be keen to cement their top four spot and bounce back from a loss to Wynnum Manly.

The Falcons celebrated a victory in Round 8. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
The Falcons celebrated a victory in Round 8. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
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