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Hostplus Cup Round 17 preview

Round 17 of the Hostplus Cup will be wrapped up by an emotional match between the Tweed Seagulls and Redcliffe Dolphins, with the two teams taking part in the inaugural Liam Hampson Cup on Sunday.

It will be another weekend of big clashes, including the PNG Hunters playing host to second-placed Burleigh Bears in Port Moresby as they continue their own push for a top eight spot.

Competition leaders Souths Logan Magpies will also take on Sunshine Coast Falcons in an expected thriller at Logan Metro Sports Complex.

But on Sunday, the sole match will be the showdown between Tweed and Redcliffe, who are set to honour former player Hampson, who played for both clubs and tragically lost his life on an overseas holiday last October.

Tweed coach Dave Penna knew Hampson from his time at Tweed between 2019 and 2021, with the pair forming a bond based on a similar sense of humour.

He said he has many fond memories of the No.9 who had a unique ability to strike up a connection with anybody and everybody.

"Liam could build individual relationships with everybody," Penna said.

"Everybody within our squad would have had an individual moment or time with Liam. That’s the type of person he was.

"He was a bit of a character but he would always take time with everybody individually, whether it be five minutes or seven hours.

"We hit things off quite quickly and would always have a dig at one another about our hair – me for my lack of it and him for his almost lack of it.

"I actually spoke to him before he went away and I said he was going overseas to get transplants. It was a mate relationship.

"He was always happy and made you happy as a result. We used to do a lot of kicking work together.

"He used to turn up with the weirdest gear on... he had the world’s worst gear. I always used to ask why he was learning to kick because he couldn’t. But he didn’t understand the word no. Those were my fondest memories."

Given the impact Hampson had on both Tweed and Redcliffe, Penna is expecting plenty of emotion on Sunday but said he also knows players on both sides will want to give their best for their former teammate.

"It’ll be an emotional time for the majority of the squad," Penna said.

"They’ve all known Liam, some their entire lives and others played football with Liam for a number of years. It was a tragic shock for us as a club.

"It’s about celebrating what Liam was about. I’ve used that with the players this year, in making every moment count. We can be sad about Liam but he wouldn’t want that.

"He’d want them putting their hand up and showing everyone what they want to be and what they can do."

Redcliffe coach Ben Te'o was the Hastings Deering Colts mentor last year when Hampson arrived at the club and while he never worked directly with him, he saw the impact he made in a short time.

He said Hampson was one of those players who cared about teams at all levels, including the Colts, and he will allow his players to just feel whatever they need to feel this Sunday as they prepare to play for him.

"It’s an important round and something that’s been in the planning since the off season," Te'o said.

"It's a celebration of Liam and the influence he had on the club. He was there for one year but he has really good friends here and good connections.

"I remember he was always full of life and really positive. He loved seeing the Colts do well. That’s one thing that stands out to me.

"Watching from afar, his performances really propelled that Cup side into that grand final last year. I can’t see them doing that without him.

"I know from talking to people that he was a big part of their culture and the closeness of the group. That’s why a lot of guys are really keen to play this weekend.

"It’s going be emotional and you don’t want to control that. It is what it is. The guys, no matter what you talk about during the week, emotion is going to get them on the day.

"They know they have a job to do also but they need to embrace what’s going to happen on the day and however they feel, is the way they should feel."

Here is your Round 17 'stats pack' with all of the numbers you need to know for this weekend's games, courtesy of Brad Tallon, as well as your coach's thoughts on the matches ahead.

Brimson on Hampo: 'Probably the most positive person I knew'

Hostplus Cup Round 17

Ipswich Jets v Townsville Blackhawks

Head-to-head: Townsville 10, Ipswich 6

Last meeting: Townsville 34 def Ipswich 18 in Round 14, 2023

Broadcast: Qplus.tv

  • Townsville have won the last six meetings between these two sides
  • Ipswich have lost their last eight home games
  • Townsville have a draw and a win from their last two away games

A word from the coaches

Ipswich Jets coach Ben Cross: We play some pretty good footy when we take the line on and pass short, which is good. That leads to line breaks and we showed that last week in our loss to Mackay so we're hoping to continue that style of football moving forward. Things are coming together better to a degree but we must be slow learners because we're still making the same errors and mistakes or doing the same things and expecting the same results so we need to change our mindset. Coming up against the Blackhawks, they'll have a fairly stacked team with NRL players, so it will be a strong side. We need to play very similar footy to the last time we met them and shore up a few errors... we need to make sure we're really high on our completions. Coming up against a team with so many NRL players, they're going to be a high-completion team.

Townsville Blackhawks coach Aaron Payne: Often when you watch a game live and then watch it back a second or third time, you can sometimes change your opinion of how it went. But watching back the draw with Redcliffe, I certainly haven't changed my opinion. I think we were even better than what I thought live. We did a lot of things right and did it with 12 men. We need to take the confidence out of it and develop the consistency. It starts this week. We get an opportunity to be consistent again against Ipswich - they're a team that hasn't been winning games of footy but they have a lot of individuals that I really rate. Both Burns boys, Gerome especially, and also their backrower, Zacchues Chong-Nee. He reminds me of (North Queensland Cowboys backrower) Luciano Leilua - he's powerful and has a bump, very skilful, has an offload and plays 80 minutes. Our right edge are going to have a handful and need to be really strong on him.

PNG Hunters v Burleigh Bears

Head-to-head: Burleigh 9, PNG 8

Last meeting: Burleigh 46 def PNG 20 in Round 6, 2023

Broadcast: Qplus.tv

  • PNG have won four of their last five games while Burleigh have won two of their last three games
  • The Bears have won six of the last seven meetings between these two sides but the Hunters have won five of the six clashes between these two sides in PNG
  • Burleigh require 34 points to bring up 16,000 in Cup
  • Burleigh centre Kea Pere will play his 50th Cup this weekend. He has racked up this milestone with Brisbane Tigers and the Bears

A word from the coaches

PNG Hunters coach Stanley Tepend: It was a real tough game last weekend against the Capras. The boys grinded it out right until the end. The Capras are a good side and to play and win like that was pleasing. It will be another test for our boys this weekend. The Bears are a good side and they are leading the comp (alongside Souths Logan) for a reason. We expect the game to be a bit quicker and another arm wrestle. We want to make sure we take our opportunities and don't give them too much free possession. This game in particular is very important to us. We haven't spoken much on it but I know the boys would be going through it in their minds. Without putting too much pressure on ourselves, we know the importance of this game. 

Burleigh Bears coach Luke Burt: It was a really tough battle last week against the Sunshine Coast. I thought our effort was really good for 80 minutes but our discipline and execution needs to improve this week against the Hunters. Our boys haven't been over since 2019 and I know the win ratio over there is quite hard. We know how tough they are. They've knocked off the Sunshine Coast and Capras in the last two weeks and only let in 10 and eight points respectively. They are playing fantastic footy and defending really well. We all know it's going to be a very physical game but they also have a skillful spine. We need to be disciplined and make sure we have a fair share of the ball. If we give them too much footy, it's going to be a tough task for us. We have to starve them of the ball.

Souths Logan Magpies v Sunshine Coast Falcons

Head-to-head: Souths Logan 12, Sunshine Coast 11, drawn 1

Last meeting: Sunshine Coast 34 def Souths Logan 16 in Round 6, 2023

Broadcast: Qplus.tv

  • Competition leaders Souths Logan have won nine of their last 10 games while Sunshine Coast have won two of their last three games
  • Sunshine Coast have won the last six meetings between these two sides
  • Sunshine Coast require 10 points to bring up 7000 in Cup

A word from the coaches

Souths Logan Magpies coach Karmichael Hunt: It was a good, solid win against the Clydesdales last week. It wasn’t perfect in a lot of areas and our discipline let us down at times but you like to win those games more than lose them. We have been going through a lot of change in recent weeks, with injuries, NRL call ups and the upcoming Queensland Under 19 game. We knew from the outset we needed a really deep squad with a lot of ability across all positions to be able to compete and do well throughout the year. The opportunities that have come for Blakey Mozer and Ben Te Kura are great to see, but the injuries and NRL call ups are also a great opportunity for players in our squad to play Cup football. They’ve stayed ready. It’s a group mentality for us. I’m sure there’s plenty more opportunities to come. Coming up against Sunshine Coast, one of our only two losses was against Sunshine Coast and they taught us a lesson up there earlier this year. They’re a really well-drilled football team. We have to be on our game to knock them.

Sunshine Coast Falcons coach Brad Henderson: I hope we've learnt our lesson that controlling our sets and our possession gives us a chance at beating good teams. We did it well at the start of the year but not for the last five or six games. The win against Burleigh last week was a step in the right direction. I'm hoping it has a really good affect on us. We know we're capable of beating good teams but we haven't given ourselves much chance and sometimes it's overconfidence letting us down. This week against Souths Logan, we're expecting much the same as what we had last week against Burleigh. Both teams move the ball really well and have experienced halves. Souths have some big bodies through the middle as well that are genuine try scorers. We need to limit their opportunities and work really hard just defensively for each other. They have a lot of points in them, that's for sure.

Western Clydesdales v Brisbane Tigers

Head-to-head: Clydesdales 11, Tigers 11

Last meeting: Tigers 32 def Clydesdales 28 in Round 6, 2023

Broadcast: Qplus.tv

  • Clydesdales have lost their last eight games - their worst ever losing run was nine straight in 1998
  • The Tigers beat Clydesdales in the last two games between these two sides in Toowoomba
  • Brisbane Tigers hooker Tristan Hope will play his 50th Cup game this weekend. He has notched up this milestone across games with Redcliffe, Wynnum Manly and Brisbane
  • Bessie Toomaga requires six points to bring up 400 in Cup

A word from the coaches

Western Clydesdales coach Jason Alchin: Last week was a similar story to our whole season - we're in the game and then we make errors. Souths Logan are well-coached and have some very good players and they waited for the opportunity. They scored about four tries in 12 minutes of footy. They're the things we have to learn but we are learning. We didn't give in, we came back and scored again. They probably pulled up a little bit but we didn't, which was pleasing. The boys are working hard. We have the Tigers this week, who we had a close match with earlier this year but that felt like it was a long time ago. They've kept winning and we haven't. Churchie has been around for a while and knows what to do. They'll have NRL players but they have to come up here. We play good at home. We know we're in for a hard one and we'll be ready. 

Brisbane Tigers coach Matt Church: It was a good win against the Pride last week - it was challenging conditions and it's already always a challenging trip. I would say it was our most complete performance as a team and I felt like we were on the same page. It's really important to take it forward. It was an important step as a team. We needed to start improving our output because we know finals are rolling around and we want to be moving forward. The Clydesdales this week are a side that won't go away. They've been fairly impressive without getting the results they would like. We know it's going to need 80 minutes.

Northern Pride v Wynnum Manly Seagulls

Head-to-head: Pride 14, Wynnum 14

Last meeting: Wynnum 28 def Pride 8 in Round 6, 2023

Broadcast: Qplus.tv

  • Pride have three wins and a draw in their last five games while Wynnum have won their last six straight
  • Wynnum have won two of the last three meetings between these two sides
  • Pride are 14th in attack, scoring only 16.8 points per game
  • Pride coach Ty Williams is aiming for his 50th Cup win in his 123rd game as coach - he has five draws and 68 losses
  • Wynnum Manly five-eighth Josh Rogers requires two goals to bring up 250 in Cup

A word from the coaches

Northern Pride coach Ty Williams: The key areas we fell short in last week against the Tigers were our attention to detail. There were too many peaks and troughs and we weren’t consistent whereas the Tigers were very good across the whole 80. When they had their opportunities, they took them. It was a lesson to stay in those moments. We saw what a top four side does when they take their chances. This week, especially at the back ends of our training, a push point for us is making sure we’re on point with executing our skills because that’s when we’re under fatigue. Coming up against Wynnum Manly, it's fair to say the Seagulls are on a bit of a run. They're a good football team and well-coached by Mat Head. I did notice a couple of guys from Norths have come across to them in (Jock) Madden while (Josh) Rogers has been very, very good for them as well. The last time we played them the young entre Deine Marine was very good as well and they have Delouise Hoeter on the other side so we have to limit their opportunities. We’re looking for a bounce back this week and a reaction from what was not a great performance by us. Coming up against another top three team is exciting for us.

Wynnum Manly Seagulls coach Mat Head: It was a good break having the bye last week and it came at a pretty good time. We've been up for a lot of weeks and after that tight game against Redcliffe, there were a lot of tired boys and staff. We had a couple guys get sick during the week too so the break came at a good time and we can look to the back end of the season now. The Pride have been going pretty well this year. They like playing in tight contests and their for and against shows that. We seem to be on the road a fair bit but it's a chance for us to be together again and the boys enjoy that and gel together well and we're looking forward to putting in a real good contest. it's going to be a very good challenge.

Liam Hampson Cup: Tweed Seagulls v Redcliffe Dolphins

Head-to-head: Redcliffe 26 Tweed 12

Last meeting: Redcliffe 30 def Tweed 4 in Round 14, 2022

Broadcast: Qplus.tv, Kayo Freebies, 9Now

  • Tweed have won three of their last four games while Redcliffe have two losses and a draw from their last three games
  • Redcliffe have lost their last four away games
  • This is the fifth Cup game at Cbus Super Stadium - this is the first game for Redcliffe and second for Tweed, who lost to Central Queensland 30-16 in 2017
  • Tweed fullback Lindon McGrady requires two points to bring up 700 in Cup - all points for Tweed

A word from the coaches

Tweed Seagulls coach Dave Penna: For us, we needed to bounce back last week against Norths. We had moments against Burleigh that we weren’t proud of as a team and areas where we let ourselves down. The boys did a really good job of turning that around last week and I was pleased with the way they rallied. We had a couple of changes but really, really happy with the way the boys performed and responded. This week I want to see more of the same. We know what we’re capable of as a footy team. It’s about being consistent and making our tackles and sticking to our processes and hanging onto our footy. We have to take the emotion out of it and focus on what we need to do. There’s no doubt Redcliffe will do the same and it’s going to be a great game of footy. Redcliffe are a tough, gritty footy side. There’s a lot of NRL experience in the team and they’ll keep playing. We’re going to need to be as good as they are in the little areas.

Redcliffe Dolphins coach Ben Te'o: The last three weeks have been not the best results for us. There’s a lot of learning to take from it and teams do go through these times where we’ve thrown a couple of games away. We can’t continue to do that but we have to accept that’s what happened. We’ve been in the lead, been dominant and then thrown the game away. I have a lot of guys in my side that are young, that are learning and it’s their first time in senior footy. They’re growing and we’re all growing as a team together but hopefully we can get it right by the end of the year. This weekend from Tweed, I’m expecting a team that’s also going to be high on emotion, just like us. There’s a lot of players that had a lot to do with Liam. I think they’re a strong club in the sense they’ve had a good, core group that have stayed together for a long time. That will bring a very connected side and a side that can deal with a lot of tough moments. That’s what I’m expecting from them.

Byes: Central Queensland Capras, Mackay Cutters, North Devils

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QRL match review results Round 16 - Hostplus Cup

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