It will be a big day of rugby league at John McDonald Sports Complex, Toowoomba tomorrow (Sunday, July 3), with four big games - including the Madsen Rasmussen Cup A Grade final.
All matches will be livestreamed at QPlus.tv.
Toowoomba Rugby League fixtures
Under 19 - Gatton v Highfields
The opening match of the day will be the Under 19 match between Gatton and Highfields at 10.25am.
This will be an important fixture for the winning side as it will give momentum to their club for the rest of the day.
Gatton Hawks defeated Highfields 30-10 in Round 6 at Glenholme Park and given this early season result, the Hawks are favourites going into this match.
They deserve to be favourites as they have been consistent all season, only dropping a close game against Ipswich Brothers 24-22 in Ipswich in Round 4.
Hawks captain Kaden Bushe is the Hawks danger player. Bushe, who has been playing well in A Grade, is the form player in this grade and can create something out of nothing. Despite the absence of Queensland Schoolboys representative Zach Brown, the Hawks have players like halfback Jake Self who is a clever playmaker and forwards Nathan Kleidon and Dom Pincombe who can take charge of the middle.
Highfields enter this game to defend their epic 2021 extra-time win over Dalby. A number of players from that under 18 final suit up this year in the under 19 division. Their key players are their captain and vice-Captain Connor Nicholls and Declan Ryan with Lachlan Fanning and Ryan Gill important for their go forward.
The Eagles have more finals experience than Hawks and are certainly a better side than Round 6’s Hawks defeat. But they did let their guard down last round when they were upset by Warwick.
The key is the battle up front and who can get the advantage and be patient enough to grab the momentum swings and not react poorly to 50/50 calls.
Women President's Cup - Gatton v Newtown
The second match of the day will be the Women's President's Cup between Gatton and Newtown at 12 noon.
These two sides have a rivalry going back to the inaugural Tom Gorman Challenge in 2021. Gatton have had the edge on the Newtown women over the last two seasons, but games have always been competitive and close.
They met in Round 4 and Gatton got the chocolates 16-6 at Jack Martin Centre. Newtown finishes in games against the Hawks has been the difference.
Natalie Parsons is the key to the Lions success, especially her kicking game. She has the best and biggest boot in the competition and it will be crucial but not effective unless her team-mates can snuff the return yards as Sarah Hoger is very good at fullback for the Hawks.
The Lions forwards can match it with the best and their timing over the advantage line, especially near Gatton’s try is also key. Kiara Taylor and Tegan Gibbs are excellent close to the try line.
Gatton ooze talent right across the park and have improved since their premiership last season. The two Courtneys the key for them in Nolan and Robinson. They are quality players and seem to lift for these big games. Gatton let their guard down in the first major semi last season and did not do it again.
The bottom line; this is a historical event and both teams are aware of the prestige by winning on Sunday. If wet, this will be a close game.
Reserve Grade President's Cup - Highfields v Wattles
The Reserve Grade President's Cup game will kick off at 1.25pm and will be played between Highfields and Wattles.
Highfields go into this match undefeated and are favourites. Players from both teams have been together for a good amount of time. Their round 4 clash was a torrid affair with the Eagles slipping away in the last ten minutes to take the match 24-12.
In that match, defence was amazing. Both these sides have excellent defence. Highfields have only let through 108 points in 10 matches whilst Wattles have had 88 points scored against them.
Wattles are without Joe Morris (injury) and Mitch Duff (suspension) and they are big losses. Highfields are fairly well okay and field their top side.
If wet, expect a low-scoring game that may benefit Wattles given Highfields scoring ability. For Highfields, Cory Haywood, Jordan Klingberg and Mitch Henningsen are the ones to watch with Jake George always good out of dummy half.
Tom Morris always plays well in these games for his beloved Warriors whilst workhorse Jordan Henry is a lot of the reason why their defensive record is where it is.
This will be a ripper of a match. A real grind and the team with the least mistakes will take this one.
Madsen Rasmussen final – Gatton v Highfields
The Madsen Rasmussen final between Gatton and Highfields will kick off at 3pm.
In one of the most competitive seasons in recent times, this is our first look at finals footy. Battle of the Birds have always been close affairs. Gatton are on top of the ladder and are having their most consistent season in years. It’s been 2015 since the last time Gatton tasted finals and they will be jumping out of their skin to win this match.
Highfields are the defending Madsen Rasmussen title holders and they also made last year’s grand final. This is an important game as they will want to be known as multiple title holders. Winning just the one is cool but getting a couple of these finals sets your era up.
Both sides have areas where they can improve, but both sides have some amazing players. Gatton have Haydan Lipp and Shannon Hicks whilst Highfields have Cory McGrady and Josh Keoller.
McGrady and Lipp are such good players and exceptional leaders. They both have good kicking games and know how to get the most out of their players while Shannon Hicks is in the peak of his career. His is one of the quality players in the competition. His competitiveness and work rate are excellent.
Keoller has been excellent these last couple of years. He was the shining light for the Clydesdales this season and was one of Highfields best in the 2021 grand final.
Defence the key in this one. Being probably wet, both packs should cancel out each other. But it’s the intensity on one’s goal line that will go along way to determining the match.
Notice a lot of the teams are electing for short goal line kicks these days. That’s because they are immediately in the 10-metre zone and they train in that cocooned zone week-in, week-out and the defensive side has more control, whereas long drop outs can create holes from further out.
Lastly, winning the ruck will be important; the team with the most patience in the rucks will get on top.
Highfields defeated Gatton 20-10 in Round 6 with Highfields leading 12-0 early.