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Finals Week 1 preview: Four big games to kick off finals series

The finals have arrived in the Intrust Super Cup competition, with four exciting games to be played this weekend to determine who will go one step closer to making it to this year’s decider.

Last weekend’s final round of the regular season was an important one, with Northern Pride dropping out of the top eight for the first time in 2021 to just miss the cut.

Sunshine Coast Falcons, however, came back into the eight in the final round after dropping out in Round 9; while Norths Devils, Tweed Seagulls and Wynnum Manly Seagulls were in the top eight all season.

Burleigh Bears have been in finals contention since Round 6, Redcliffe Dolphins and Souths Logan Magpies since Round 7 and Townsville Blackhawks since Round 9.

Top five: Intrust Super Cup Round 17

Redcliffe Dolphins v Sunshine Coast Falcons
Head-to-head: Redcliffe Dolphins 16, Sunshine Coast 9
Hashtags: #intrustsupercup #PHINSvSCF
Broadcast: This game is broadcast on Kayo Freebies

  • Redcliffe and Sunshine Coast can’t be split when it comes to head-to-head matchups in finals footy, with each team boasting one win apiece.
  • However, Redcliffe will possess the mental edge, coming away victorious 34-24 back in Round 9 of this year when the teams last met. Redcliffe have also won five of their past six games against Sunshine Coast.
  • On top of this, their home ground fortress is well intact, winning 10 of their past 12 at Moreton Daily Stadium.
  • Sunshine Coast halfback and captain Todd Murphy has announced his intention to retire at the end of the season and can make history this weekend as he is only six points away from becoming just the eighth player to score 1000 points in the Cup. Murphy is also only four goals away from being the sixth ever player to kick 400; while another two goals on top of that would see him pass Damien Richters as the sixth highest Cup goal kicker.
  • Murphy seems to hold the key for Sunshine Coast, being the competition’s top point scorer this year. He has kicked 72 from 80 this year at 90 per cent accuracy. Throughout his Falcon’s career, he has kicked 241 goals from 291 attempts for 82.8 per cent accuracy.
  • The points keep coming for Murphy who also scored his 50th Cup try last weekend in the late win against Central Queensland Capras.
  • This weekend, it will be a great match-up in the halves, with Murphy lining up against Dolphins captain Cameron Cullen who, like Murphy, will be a key factor in determining the result in this elimination final.
  • In further milestone news, Sunshine Coast second rower Louis Geraghty has been named to play his 50th Cup game this weekend, all of them being for the club.

Murphy, Hogan and Cordwell close chapter on Cup careers

Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Burleigh Bears
Head-to-head:
Burleigh Bears 28, Wynnum Manly Seagulls 16, drawn 3
Hashtags: #intrustsupercup #BEARSvWYN
Broadcast: This match will be broadcast via Kayo Freebies9Now, Intrust Super Cup app, QRL.com.auIntrust Super Cup Facebook

  • The finals history between the two clubs so far is a one-sided tale with Burleigh winning both clashes against Wynnum Manly, claiming both the 2019 quarter final 34-32 and the grand final later that season 28-10.
  • The last time these two sides met however was in Chinchilla where it was a nail-biter back in Round 14, with Burleigh taking the chocolates again 26-20.
  • Overall, Burleigh have a strong record against this weekend’s opponents, winning the past eight games against the Seagulls.
  • On top of this, Burleigh have won the past five games between the two sides at BMD Kougari Oval. Wynnum Manly’s last win there against Burleigh was back in 2014.
  • Bears fullback Kurtis Rowe continues to be in good try-scoring form and now has 67 Cup tries for Burleigh and 68 overall for the club, including his four-pointer in the first of is NRL State Championship appearances. Rowe is two short of the club record held by Reggie Cressbrook and Trent Purdon.
  • Jonus Pearson, who has been named on the wing for the Bears this weekend, and centre Sami Sauiluma will be in a race to bring up 50 tries in the Cup, with both of them sitting one try shy.
  • Seagulls five-eighth Jack Campagnolo is also on the cusp of a milestone and requires two more goals to bring up 100 in the Cup.

Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Burleigh Bears

Souths Logan Magpies v Townsville Blackhawks
Head-to-head:
Townsville Blackhawks 6, Souths Logan Magpies 2
Hashtags: #intrustsupercup #SLMvTSVB

  • There is plenty on the line when Souths Logan take on Townsville for the first time in a finals match, with the loser to be eliminated from this year’s title race.
  • This will also be the first time a Cup game has been played at Marsden State High School and the first Cup game to be played in Logan City since 2009.
  • The last time these two sides met, however, was in Richmond for Activate! Queensland Country Week where the Blackhawks fought back to win 28-18.
  • Overall, the Blackhawks have won the past four games between these two sides. Townsville have also had four wins and a draw in their past five away games.
  • The Magpies however are also in good form and have three win and a draw from their past four games.
  • In the final standings on the ladder, the Magpies were second in attack, but ranked ninth in defence this season.
  • In team news, both sides boast players with plenty of big-game experience including PNG Kumuls representative Kyle Laybutt for the Blackhawks and New Zealand player Jamayne Isaako for the Magpies.

Norths Devils v Tweed Seagulls
Head-to-head:
Norths Devils 16, Tweed Seagulls 14, drawn 2
Hashtags: #intrustsupercup #DEVILSvTWE
Broadcast: This game will be broadcast live on Channel 9, Fox League, Kayo and 9Now

  • Another pairing of teams who will meet in the finals for the first time, Tweed have been tasked with trying to bring down this year’s minor premiers Norths in their qualifying final.
  • In their last game in Round 9 this year, the Devils were far too good for the Seagulls, getting a 40-12 win with Jono Reuben picking up a double.
  • This season, Reuben has reached 106 Cup tries and sits one behind equal sixth for all-time shared by Liam Georgetown and James Wood.
  • The Devils finished the regular season with the fourth best winning record in Cup history having won 88.2 per cent of games. This puts this year’s squad behind only Sunshine Coast in 2019 with 93.5 per cent, Tweed in 2011 with 93.2 per cent and Toowoomba in 2001 with 92.5 per cent win records. However, only Toowoomba went on to be premiers so far.
  • Overall, the Devils have won their past five and seven of their past eight games played at Bishop Park where they will host the Seagulls this weekend, while ominously, Tweed lave lost three of their past four away games.
  • Devils lock Michael Sio played his 50th Cup game for the club and his 63 overall last weekend, having previously played with Mackay Cutters.
  • In team news, young gun Gold Coast Titans representative Toby Sexton has been added to the Seagulls squad and will line up in the halves. Another welcomed addition to the team will be Lindon McGrady who was a key player earlier in the season for the Seagulls, but has sat out in recent weeks as a resident of New South Wales.
  • For the Devils, Brisbane Broncos player Danny Levi has been included at hooker, with young forward Brendan Piakura another addition this week.

*Statistics by Brad Tallon

QRL Judiciary results - Round 17