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Hostplus Cup Round 18 preview

The 2023 Activate! Queensland Country Week is here.

Teams from across the competition will travel out to regional destinations, including Weipa, Stanthorpe and Proserpine, to play out Round 18 in front of fans across the state.

Country Week will be headlined by some big clashes, including Redcliffe taking on Burleigh in Miles, Norths hosting Wynnum Manly in Wondai, and the Brisbane Tigers meeting the Tweed Seagulls in Kilcoy.

Here is your Round 18 '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.

Hostplus Cup Round 18

Norths Devils v Wynnum Manly Seagulls

Head-to-head: Wynnum Manly 27 Norths 21 Drawn 2

Last meeting: Wynnum Manly 28 def Norths 14 in Round 13, 2022


  • Wynnum Manly have won their last seven games
  • Norths have won two of the past three games between these two sides
  • Josh Rogers (188 points) requires 7 points to break Wynnum Manly's single-season Cup points record set by Patrick Templeman with 194 in 2019
  • Norths' Jon Reuben requires six points to bring up 500 points in Cup
  • Two Wynnum Manly players are set to bring up their 50th Cup game on Saturday - Matt Milson (Norths/Sunshine Coast/Wynnum Manly) and Darius Farmer (Burleigh/Tweed Heads/Brisbane Tigers/Wynnum Manly)

A word from the coaches

Norths Devils coach Dave Elliott: We had that loss against Tweed right before the bye last week and generally when that happens you want to keep playing and get back into it straight away. But we used the bye as a chance to freshen up and reset. We're at the back end of the season now where we know we need to win if we're any chance of making finals. But regardless of where we're at on the ladder, we're still going to turn up to win. There's five games to go so we just want to win every one of those and that starts with Country Week. So regardless of where you're sitting or who you're playing, you prepare to win and turn up expecting to win. This weekend is not too dissimilar to when we played Redcliffe and they had a very strong team but we managed to win. We still have a lot of belief in ourselves. We know we'll have to be very good against Wynnum. They are on a seven game stretch for a reason and will be confident. But we have a lot of faith that we can go to Wondai and get the two points.

Wynnum Manly Seagulls coach Mat Head: Last week I was really just impressed with the professionalism of the game. We weren’t at our best and it took us a little bit time to get into our groove but the boys played really well. We've had Jock Madden join us over the past few weeks and he's the ultimate professional and a great guy. He’s fit in seamlessly and is fully part of our culture and comes back from the Broncos with a great attitude. It just shows what type of person and player he is. I'm excited with what the back end of the year will look like for him. Coming up against Norths, they have won the last two competitions so they’re a very good footy team. They haven’t got the results they would have liked this year but every club is going after them. They know they’re the hunted and know they have to get their season going. This week they’ll be looking for that. We know what we’re up against and we’re looking forward to the challenge.

Ipswich Jets v Central Queensland Capras

Head-to-head: Ipswich 31 Central Queensland 14 Drawn 2

Last meeting: Central Queensland 32 def Ipswich 12 in Round 3, 2022


  • This if the fifth Cup match at Biloela, with previous fixtures in 1998, 2009, 2013 and 2019. Central Queensland have played in all four, for one win, one draw and two losses
  • These two teams have played four times at neutral venues, sharing wins at Blackwater in 2012 and 2013, with Ipswich winning at Gatton in 2017 and Woorabinda in 2019
  • Nixon Putt is in line to play his 50th game for Capras, while JJ Collins could also bring up his 50th Cup game

A word from the coaches

Ipswich Jets coach Ben Cross: We played some good footy last week against Townsville - we chased really hard on our kicks and got three results from that. We got a good start to the game but fell away in the second half. We knew we weren't playing finals a long time ago so this season has just been about focusing on getting players to improve individually, getting more games into them. We have an immature group in terms of career games so the more they can play and grow and learn from it, the better. And the more time they can spend on the field together and build that trust... they're getting better with their connections and learning each other's games. That's what the rest of the season is about for us. This week we have Central Queensland in Biloela and it's only a two hour bus ride for them so we're expecting a fair bit of local support for them. But we bonded really well through this weekend last year so it's a good experience to take a high level of footy to the country areas where they usually don't get it.

Central Queensland Capras coach Lionel Harbin: Our week off last week, we needed it. Coming off a tough road trip to PNG, we had also played 10 games straight against some tough oppositions in there. So last week we trained once and gave the boys the rest of the week off. We were pretty disappointed with how we performed over in PNG, our discipline let us down at times, so this week was just making sure we fix those two things. They’re big things we need to focus on going into the next game against Ipswich. We’re expecting a really tough contest. They haven’t been getting results but they’ve been performing really well and have been unlucky in a few of their past games. They’re big, they’re fast and have quality players that can hurt you.

Redcliffe Dolphins v Burleigh Bears

Head-to-head: Redcliffe 31 Burleigh 25 Drawn 1

Last meeting: Burleigh 36 def Redcliffe 10 in Round 3, 2023


  • Burleigh have won three of the last four games between these two sides
  • These two teams have clashed three times at neutral venues, with Burleigh winning the 1999 and 2016 grand finals at Suncorp Stadium, while Redcliffe won 38-22 in Longreach in Country Week 2014
  • Burleigh require four points to bring up 15000 in Cup, the fourth team to reach that milestone

A word from the coaches

Redcliffe Dolphins coach Ben Te'o: I suppose the boys rose to the occasion last week against Tweed and they played a great game of footy, so it's always good to see that. A few guys played really above themselves and that’s always good for a player to see their potential. We’d like to keep that but apart from that it was a great day for the club, to have us and the NRL playing at the same ground. This week we have Burleigh and they’re a tough opposition. They touched us up at the start of the year. Being Country Week, it’s a good opportunity to go away for a couple of days as a team. Firstly, it's time spent together and secondly, it’s an experience. I’ve never been to Miles and a lot of guys haven't been out that far either. Finally, it's an opportunity to play a really top quality game of footy in front of a lot of people who don’t get to see it as often. We have some NRL guys in our side and so do the Burleigh Bears, so it should be a high quality game of footy.

Burleigh Bears coach Luke Burt: It was a tough away trip last week and I thought PNG played really well so it was even better result to come away with the two points in a physical match. It's been a big priority to recover well after tough travel to Papua New Guinea and back and another long bus trip to play out in Miles this weekend. We're concentrating on staying fresh and sharpening a few things to focus on. The Dolphins had a great match against Tweed last week and it went down to the wire. This week will be really tough again and we're expecting a few players back for Redcliffe in important positions like Cameron Cullen.

Brisbane Tigers v Tweed Seagulls

Head-to-head: Tweed 20 Tigers 17 Drawn 1

Last meeting: Tweed 24 def Tigers 18 in the 2022 elimination final


  • This is the second Country Week fixture at Kilcoy, the first being the inaugural Country Week in 2012
  • The Tigers have won two of the last three games between these two sides
  • Tweed lock Brent Woolf is due to bring up his 50th game for the club

A word from the coaches

Brisbane Tigers coach Matt Church: We took a while to get into the game last week and didn't pay the Clydesdales enough respect, which was more of a mindset thing for us. But we have a tough game this weekend and as we head towards the finals, we know we'll have a spike in talent and intensity that we're coming up against. Tweed have a large contingent of their playing group that have played together for a number of years and they move the ball well and can strike you all over the park. We have to be on our toes and defend really well to shut that down.

Tweed Seagulls coach Dave Penna: We played some good footy against the Dolphins last week. Some boys had some good games but we killed ourselves in the end. Errors in the wrong places at the wrong times and not defending kicks. It’s an Achilles' heel of ours and we’ve got to get rid of it if we’re to go any further in this competition. Everybody was disappointed but we’ve got to regather and go again. For us against the Tigers this week, we know they’re a quality football side. They’ve got talent right across the park. We’ve just got to make sure we focus on working hard, like we’ve done against all of the other teams, and work on those little one per cent areas that we need to do well in against the top teams. If we do that, we put ourselves in with a chance.

Sunshine Coast Falcons v Northern Pride

Head-to-head: Sunshine Coast 12 Pride 12 Drawn 1

Last meeting: Pride 22 drew with Sunshine Coast 22 in Round 9, 2022


  • The only previous game between these two sides at a neutral venue saw Sunshine Coast defeat Pride 15-14 at Hervey Bay in Country Week 2018
  • Despite being in seventh on the ladder, the Pride now have the lowest points per game of any team in the competition at 16.6, however they are fifth for defence
  • Ty WIlliams is looking for his 50th Cup win as coach in his 124th game. He has five draws and 69 losses

A word from the coaches

Sunshine Coast Falcons coach Brad Henderson: It was a game of two halves against Souths Logan last week. We just didn't match their intensity in the first 40 to 50 minutes. They're too good of a side to not go with them. We were in the game early but they were running the ball a lot harder and challenging their line a lot harder. We turned it to a degree in the second half and played much better footy but it was too little, too late. Our problem has been our mentality week to week. We were 15 to 20 per cent off last week but I'm hoping it's a similar story to being bad one week against PNG and then getting it back against Burleigh. We know we have to play 80 minutes against the Pride. They're a really consistent side and just don't go away. If we're going to beat them, we have to start the game really well and give ourselves a chance to be in it at the back end. I have a lot of respect for them and they have impressive players, that's for sure.

Northern Pride coach Ty Williams: The reflection on last week was just the start of the game wasn't to the intensity we were chasing. We thought we brought that in the second half but the opportunity early on was taken by Wynnum. There were key opportunities and we only capitalised on two whereas Wynnum had four and capitalised on all four. We led the second half, but it was just those moments that we just didn't take that was a key talking point review-wise. It leads to a pretty exciting game this weekend against Sunshine Coast. We're five weeks out from finals so we should be really upbeat. Even though we're coming off a couple of tough games, we're still in the eight so we're really going after the next five weeks. I want them to enjoy the position they've got themselves to. If we continue winning, we can continue climbing the ladder and be in those semi-finals. It's in our backyard in Weipa - it's the people we represent, this is why we do what we do in Cairns and this is who we represent in Cairns.

Souths Logan Magpies v Mackay Cutters

Head-to-head: Souths Logan 20 Mackay 5 Drawn 1

Last meeting: Mackay 30 def Souths Logan 24 in Round 13, 2022


  • Souths Logan have won their last two, and 10 of their last 11 games
  • Mackay have lost three of their last four games
  • Mackay's win over Souths Logan last year was their first in 12 games against the Magpies, with one drawn in that time
  • Radean Robinson is due to bring up his 50th Cup game, having previously played at Central Queensland

A word from the coaches

Souths Logan Magpies coach Karmichael Hunt: It was definitely a pleasing result against Sunshine Coast last week. The boys got out to a really good start and we executed everything we planned to do. The second half was a different story but another learning process for us. We've failed a bit to put teams away so that's been the talking point this week - how can we be more ruthless in our processes moving forward. This week I want to see another high quality effort from the group again. They were really good for the most part last weekend and over this 15-week stretch we've had. We understand the team we want to be and the effort required to be that team. So it's about putting in another effort we can be proud of. We're looking forward to getting away together for Country Week and most importantly a performance we can be proud of.

Mackay Cutters coach Michael Comerford: It was good to finally get a break last week with the bye. It had been a long stretch of footy and it was definitely something we needed, mentally just as much as the obvious physical benefits. Everyone is fresh and ready to go. We'll be close to putting the same team on the paddock two weeks in a row, which is something we've struggled to do this year. We're looking forward to getting up to Proserpine. We have Souths Logan and at their best, particularly in attack, they're really confident and their a high skill, fast team, big bodies in the middle, strike all of the park. Coming up against a team high on confidence at the top of the ladder, they'll have one eye on finals so we expect them at their best and priming for their finals run. Hopefully it's a really good chance We've had a lot of close games against qual oppositions so we have opportunities over the next few weeks - Souths Logan, Townsville and Burleigh - we have an opportunity to show we can get a result against teams at the top end of the comp. We've been close but that's not good enough from our perspective so we want to prove we're capable of that. We have one eye to the future to take confidence from the next few weeks into the future. It's a great opporunity to show that at our best we can produce footy that can trouble the top end of the comp.

Townsville Blackhawks v Western Clydesdales

Head-to-head: First match

Broadcast:, Kayo Freebies, 9Now

  • Townsville have a win, loss and draw in their last three games
  • Clydesdales have lost their last nine games, equalling their previous record set at Toowoomba in 1998
  • This is the third Cup game in Stanthorpe; the first in 1999 when Toowoomba beat Ipswich 44-32 and the second in Country Week 2015 when Burleigh beat Sunshine Coast 18-16

A word from the coaches

Townsville Blackhawks coach Aaron Payne: Off the back of the Dolphins game where it was a draw and we took one point, it was important to us that we backed it up,  which I thought we did last week against the Jets. Looking at the scoreline, especially at halftime, you may have thought we were playing poorly, but we weren't. Just some of our discipline let us down but I want to give the Jets a wrap too. They were very good and were completing in the 80s. It's important for us now that we improve in the areas we need to improve, particularly around our discipline, but we certainly take the positives out of that last week. We played some good footy and we have been doing that over the past few weeks and been consistent with our approach. It's about maintaining that consistency. Every two points is super important for us. We can't be talking at the end of the season like, "what if we had done this or played this way". If we still play well, destiny's still in our hands as far as how the season plays out for us at the back end. 

Western Clydesdales coach Jason Alchin: We were in the game for a while against the Brisbane Tigers last week but then we had a few lapses on our edge. We'll look to rectify that this week. We're getting better, it's starting to show and we're able to play better for longer now. It's slowly coming together so that's what I'm happy. Coming up against Townsville, we know it's a big game for the Blackhawks this week. They have to come here and win and that's a big ask to come from Townsville to Stanthorpe but they're professional and they have a quality side. They're looking to win to stay in reach of the eight and that's important to them but we want to win and knock teams out of the eight. It's a big game for all of us.

Bye: PNG Hunters

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QRL match review results Round 17 - Hostplus Cup

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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