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Hostplus Cup Round 22 preview

Round 22 of the Hostplus Cup will be a significant weekend, as the 2023 regular season comes to an end.

With the final eight yet to be determined, it will also be a special weekend as the competition acknowledges Turn to Me Round, an initiative that encourages those within the game to share their burdens and speak to each other, to make sure people know they were not alone. 

The awareness campaign was started in 2013 by Ipswich Jets chair Steven Johnson and former Redcliffe Dolphins players Petero Civoniceva and Isaak Ah Mau, in response to a number of tragic deaths of young players across rugby league.

One decade on and Queensland Rugby League CEO Ben Ikin said Turn to Me Round was as important as ever.

"This is a tough sport where traditionally we’ve tried to hide our emotions but the men and women that play it, for as tough as they are on the field, also feel all the same emotions," Ikin said.

"This round is effectively telling all those that participate in the game that if you are struggling, if you are doing it tough, then make sure you tell someone.

"If you think someone is struggling then you reach out and ask if they need a hand."

Turn to Me Round will also feature the inaugural Paul Green Medal Memorial Day, to be held at BMD Kougari Oval on Sunday, with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls taking on Brisbane Tigers - two clubs that were close to the former Queensland Maroons coach's heart.

The player of the match will be given the Paul Green Medal.

Currently Wynnum Manly coach Mat Head was actually interviewed by former Seagulls mentor Green to get the job at the club this year and said he knew how much Green and his family meant to the community.

"This weekend means the world," Head said.

"I was lucky enough to know Greeny. He was in the interview process when I got the job.

"I was excited about coming here for a lot of reasons and he was one. He was the last premiership-winning coach.

"It's going to be a big day to remember Greeny and celebrate what he's done. Hopefully his family can understand how much they all mean to us as a club. I'm excited we can put on such a special day for them."

The Tigers - where Green played in the Brisbane Rugby League, winning the 1993 Rothmans Medal - have also spoken in detail about what this occasion means.

Coach Matt Church said they hoped to make the Green family proud with their efforts on the field.

"It's a significant day for both clubs," Church said.

"Greeny has had an influence across both organisations. We want to honour his legacy and put in a really good performance.

"He was the ultimate competitor and that's something we've been focusing on as a group. We spoke about his contribution to the club.

"He's had an illustrious rugby league playing career and then backed that up in his coaching.

"We have touched on that and Shane McNally's passing. It's a big day for both clubs."

Here is your Round 22 '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 22 - Turn to Me Round

Norths Devils v PNG Hunters

Head-to-head: Norths 8, PNG 5

Last meeting: Norths 28 def PNG 24 in Round 7, 2022


  • Norths have lost their last two matches while PNG have won their last two matches
  • Devils star winger Jon Reuben is only one try short of the club's season try-scoring record of 21, set by Derek Fletcher in 2004. Reuben already holds the Falcons' record of 23 tries, set in 2019
  • This is the 50th Cup game for Norths for winger Tony Tumusa
  • Norths captain Jack Ahearn will retire this Saturday, closing the curtain on a decorated career that saw him lead Devils to premierships in 2021 and 2022
  • This will be the final match of the season for both teams

A word from the coaches

Norths Devils coach Dave Elliott: "To sum up this season, I would say we've always been able to score plenty of points but going forward we need to make sure we're stopping those points. That's the biggest thing for us this year and we're all aware of it. We have our last game this weekend and I want to see a really good performance from the group for their captain. For themselves but more so for Jack (Ahearn). He's left a really big impact here at the club. We've known for a little while that he's retiring but I'm sure everyone will be aware of it on Saturday. Everyone has been keen to play in this game because it will be Jack's last. It will be a tough game. The Hunters never say die, they compete on everything and they're unpredictable. It's a big challenge. They've come off two good wins at home and we're really looking forward to the day. They'll want to go out with a win for their supporters just as much as we will."

PNG Hunters coach Stanley Tepend: Comments to come.

Tweed Seagulls v Sunshine Coast Falcons

Head-to-head: Tweed 14, Sunshine Coast 9

Last meeting: Sunshine Coast 26 def Tweed 24 in a 2022 elimination final


  • Both teams are coming into the round strongly, with Sunshine Coast having won three of their last four games while Tweed have won two of their last three games
  • Sunshine Coast have won the last two meetings between these two sides
  • Tweed's Lindon McGrady has become the 16th player to score 750 Cup points and the eighth player to do it all for a single club
  • Both teams remain in finals contention, but both need the win to be in the top eight

A word from the coaches

Tweed Seagulls coach Dave Penna: "The most pleasing part of last week's win over Ipswich was probably not so much the scoreboard but I could tell when we got to the game, when we went out to warm up, where the boys were at in their own minds and how important it was for them to do well. If we want to be in control of our own destiny, we need to win this weekend against Sunshine Coast. Regardless of whether you’re playing next week or not, you want to keep the momentum going from what we did last week. I think it’s more about us just putting another good performance together and worrying about the result after that. We approach the Falcons the same way we approach anyone. They’ve got seven or eight players back from the Melbourne Storm system. They’re a quality outfit and always have been so it’s not different to playing any of the other teams. We mainly want to focus on our own backyard. There’s no point worrying about what they’re going to do. We need to concentrate on what we’re going to do."

Sunshine Coast Falcons coach Brad Henderson: "I was a lot happier with our performance last week against Norths. It showed in our game control and completions. It took the pressure off us. Norths still threw a lot at us and were chasing points really hard but we did a good job. It's win-at-all-costs this weekend. We can't go down there wondering. If we don't win, the season's over. We just want to be in there and get the win and then the season starts again next week. We need to be urgent and energetic in everything we do. Tweed are hard to beat at home and they're the same as us - they're fighting to stay in the eight. I'm expecting a lot of ball movement. It will be tough. They're a really good team and are playing some really good football."

Mackay Cutters v Western Clydesdales

Head-to-head: First meeting


  • Mackay have lost their last four matches while the Clydesdales have lost 11 of their last 12 matches
  • The Cutters have lost their last nine home matches
  • The Clydesdales have lost their last eight away matches
  • This will be the final match of the season for both teams

A word from the coaches

Mackay Cutters coach Michael Comerford: "This year, for an inexperienced group, we've been learning about the consistency it takes in this competition and how quickly guys need to adapt to that standard when they get their opportunity. We've had a number of guys have really fast starts to their Cup careers and come out firing in their first three to four games. But when they get into that 10-15 game period, the rigours of the competition, the travel, the high standard, it starts to take its toll. That's a learning on how to handle that better in the future. As a club, we're going to have those young locals come through so we also have to be equipping them as best as we can. It's one of the biggest takeaways. It was also a massive learning curve without the North Queensland Cowboys affiliated players this year and what it looks like when you don't have them. There's a lot of lessons learnt on and off the field. Moving into the final game this week, it's again about consistency. We got a few things right against Burleigh last week. We were really disappointed with our performance against the Blackhawks the week before but the group against Burleigh, there was a huge change in what guys were willing to put in on the field. We didn't have the polish to take our opportunities when it mattered and Burleigh were able to do that. But we took a lot out of that. A few guys got a bit of confidence from that game. The theme of this year has been competing with the teams at the top of the ladder, such as Burleigh, but not consistent enough to keep that same performance against those teams lower on the ladder so that's the challenge this week, is taking that through to the Clydesdales. They have plenty of points in them. Week-to-week, they're clocking up 30 points pretty regularly. Both their centres are strike centres, they have a big forward pack, run hard and are quite skillful as well. We'll be on high alert and ready to make sure we're doing a job on them. It'll be similar to the Burleigh game - going in with a mindset to limit their scoring opportunities and putting them in a position where they have to search for points, instead of gifting them up easily."

Western Clydesdales coach Jason Alchin: "This year has been a success for us. What we've done and where we've ended up and the players putting in every week for us... on the ladder we've come third last but that doesn't indicate how we've gone as a club. Off the field we've done a lot of good things with our development programs and so forth. Of course it would have been good to win a couple of those close games and as a young rugby league side, we didn't win them games because you need the experience to win them games. But overall it's a success and we're waiting now to move forward into next year. This week, I think it'll be the same as Mackay. We want to win the game. It would be good to win the last game of the year and they'll feel the same. It will be no mean feat. They looked really impressive against Burleigh. The coach, he's doing a great job. You can see the players want to win as much as we do. I'm sure it will be a fair contest up there. I'm looking forward to the game but it will be hard for both of us."

Central Queensland Capras v Souths Logan Magpies

Head-to-head: Souths Logan 24, Central Queensland 22, drawn 3

Last meeting: Central Queensland 40 def Souths Logan 20 in Round 20, 2022


  • This is the 50th Cup match between these two sides
  • Central Queensland lost their last match but won their previous three while Souths Logan have won four of their last five games
  • This is the 50th Cup match for Souths Logan forward Tyler Coburn. He has notched up this milestone at both Ipswich and Souths Logan
  • Both teams will play finals this year, with the Magpies one win away from locking in this year's minor premiership

A word from the coaches

Central Queensland Capras coach Lionel Harbin: "I thought defensively we weren't happy with the way we performed. Letting in 32 points, I thought we were off the mark. Red got the jump on us and had a bit more energy and intent and we were chasing the game from the start to the end. We should a lot of fight and courage to stay in it but defensively we weren't up to the mark. Souths Logan are one of the best attacking sides in the comp so it's definitely something we have to improve on, not just for this week but going forward. They're a well-drilled side and move the footy really well. They have a really good spine that can hurt you from all over the field. A big focus for us is that we improve defensively. The rest will take care of itself."

Souths Logan Magpies coach Karmichael Hunt: "Last week's second half performance wasn't a pleasing way to finish off what was a really good first half that we put in against Wynnum Manly. It's been a recurring instance this year. Something similar happened when we played Sunny Coast at home. But, all in all we always prepare to win and we got the win. The great thing is there are learnings out of that second half which we can take into this week and beyond. It's about not switching off, respecting opponents and playing the football we know we can play more consistently. This week, I want to see them stick to their processes and game plans. It's an opportunity to play another quality opponent ahead of finals. We've locked in top two but the boys would love to finish the season with a minor premiership. It will take a big effort from everyone and from what I've seen at training this week, everyone is ready to go. It will be a tough contest against the Capras. They're a quality team who started the year on fire. They hit a bit of a lull but they're starting to find some form and will be ready to go this weekend."

Townsville Blackhawks v Burleigh Bears

Head-to-head: Burleigh 7, Townsville 5, drawn 1

Last meeting: Burleigh 30 def Townsville 16 in Round 15, 2022


  • Townsville have lost their last two matches while Burleigh have three wins and one draw from their last five games
  • Burleigh have won the last three meetings between these two sides
  • This will be the 50th Cup match for Townsville forward Cade Maloney, with all those games played for the Blackhawks
  • The Blackhawks' season is over after this weekend but the Bears will play finals once again, currently sitting in the top two

A word from the coaches

Townsville Blackhawks coach Christian Quabba: "It's been an up and down season, there's no doubt about that. The fact we're not playing finals football contributes to that. Everyone plays rugby league to be in the big games and unfortunately we're not going to do that. But there's been some patches of really good footy and some really, really good individual performances. I do hope some younger players who got an opportunity now feel they had the chance to develop and will continue to take that into their careers. This weekend, want to have a strong performance for our supporters. Playing at home, it's important to give them something to cheer about. It's also the last opportunity for guys to potentially play together and, finally, for a bloke like Cade Maloney playing his 50th game, it's an opportunity to honour his milestone game. It will be tough. There's a reason why Burleigh are fighting for the minor premiership and there's a lot of people tipping them for this year's grand final. They're a physical side, an experienced side. You have Pat Politoni, Sam Coster, Sami Sauiluma, Guy Hamilton - they've been there and done it all before. We're expecting them to come out trying to clinch the minor premiership."

Burleigh Bears coach Luke Burt: "The effort and the right attitude was there against Mackay. The execution probably just needs to be tidied up. We carried a lot over from the Wynnum Manly match but there's still a bit of improvement. It's in the discipline and detail around our defence for us. We're expecting a really tough match this weekend against Townsville. They've named a really strong side with some NRL experience, so it will be a good test to see where sit leading into the pointy end of the season."

Northern Pride v Redcliffe Dolphins

Head-to-head: Pride 19, Redcliffe 7

Last meeting: Redcliffe 49 def Pride 10 in Round 19, 2022


  • Pride have two wins and one draw from their last three games while Redcliffe have three wins and one draw from their last five games
  • Pride have won two of the last three meetings between these two sides
  • Pride are 13th in attack this year, having averaged only 17.6 points per match. No team has ever made the finals in Cup history averaging less than 20 points per match
  • The Pride will want a win to secure their place in the top eight. Redcliffe meanwhile will be fighting to lock in their spot in the top four

A word from the coaches

Northern Pride coach Ty Williams: Comments to come.

Redcliffe Dolphins coach Ben Te'o: Comments to come.

Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Brisbane Tigers

Head-to-head: Wynnum Manly 27, Tigers 24, drawn 1

Last meeting: Wynnum 28 def Tigers 26 in Round 2, 2023

Broadcast:, 9Now, Kayo Freebies

  • Wynnum Manly have lost their last two games while Brisbane have won their last two
  • Wynnum Manly playmaker Josh Rogers requires eight more points to bring up 700 in Cup
  • Both the Seagulls and Tigers will play finals footy

A word from the coaches

Wynnum Manly Seagulls coach Mat Head: "From last week, our poor start against Souths Logan is certainly something we have to address along with our defence. We've leaked too many points in the last couple of weeks. We were also on some tired legs after a fair bit of travel so to see the boys come home like that against Souths Logan, it was pleasing to see the care and mateship. This week, I want to see us get back to who we are and what we are and our excitement in our footy. A big part of it is just worrying about ourselves and freshening ourselves up. Regardless of the result, we play next week and we have to get back to who we are as Wynnum Manly. Tigers are a good footy team and are sitting third for a reason but that's as much as we've looked at them. It's been about us and finding our energy. We know they'll be a good footy team so we have to be on our game to compete with them."

Brisbane Tigers coach Matt Church: "It's always good to get a bye at this stage of the year. We're refreshed from last week and now it's about building on our performance against Souths Logan from the week before and leveraging that in the Wynnum Manly game. I thought we were outstanding in the first half against Souths so we want to maintain that. We had to show a fair bit of resilience in the second half so hopefully we can limit the ability for Wynnum Manly to have the ball for long periods like Souths did. I'm expecting it to be an all out game. They're playing for a home final position and still have a chance to make it in the top four, so they'll be all guns blazing and won't be happy with their last couple of weeks."

Bye: Ipswich Jets

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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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