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Mal Meninga Cup Round 9 preview

When it gets to this time of the season, sometimes the most intriguing games aren’t up the top of the table but a little further down, fighting for a finals spot.

The Mal Meninga Cup will enter Round 9 with places in the top six still up for grabs.

Two teams that will go into this weekend hoping to find some momentum for that push are the Souths Logan Magpies and Sunshine Coast Falcons.

Both the Falcons and Magpies have been unable to find consistent form so far this year and have both won three games in 2024.

With three rounds to go before finals, a sneaky little finish could come from one of these two teams.

The Magpies have the Falcons, Burleigh Bears and Mackay Cutters to finish the season while the Falcons have the Magpies, Townsville Blackhawks and Central Queensland Capras.

Both teams are on eight points - two points outside of finals calculations - and can’t afford to drop another game if they want to have a tilt at the title.

The last time the Magpies and Falcons stared each other down was back in 2017, with David Fifita scoring the first try for Souths Logan in a 36-4 victory.

The Magpies now have a new flock of young guns, including second rower Braden Teuila, who was sensational against the Blackhawks, and hooker Jacob Tinsley, who schemed his way over for a try.

The Magpies are coming off their best win of the season and a win that will fill their hearts with hope that the 2024 fire isn’t out yet.

With 58 per cent of the ball and 50 tackle breaks it was party time for the Magpies last week and they cashed in with six tries.

Jackson Howe added six from six and the Magpies had a 36-20 win.

Lock Jayden Solien made 24 tackles and Mou Taumaletila-Maulolo made 189 run metres.

It was big outside back Israel Leota with the first try and one line break that started the day off.

Souths Logan coach Ben Trim has both eyes on this week but knows a chance is there.

“I think Townsville was one of our best games... one of our failings this year has been our ability to play 35 minute halves,” Trim said.

“We play well for 15 minutes but that’s not enough.

“This week, it’s important we are playing the full game."

The Falcons were on the other end of the result last week, with a 32-6 loss to the Northern Pride.

The Falcons didn’t have the ball they wanted and could only score one try with their 45 per cent possession.

Bench hooker Jai Bowden made an impact last week, scoring the Falcons' only try and making two line breaks, while front rower Cooper Clarke stood out with 161 run metres and 30 tackles in a huge effort in a losing team.

Falcons coach Cam Boaza knows a good three weeks can change everything.

"That’s our goal - a good last three weeks and play finals,” Boaza said.

“The Magpies are a good team and are in a hard pool, to go up to Townsville and beat the Blackhawks is a great effort.

“Israel Leota’s returns are huge for them and their middle... That’s what we need to control, the middle.

“Jai Bowden was great for us on the weekend, and I think the best player on the ground in a losing team. We need our middle this week.”

For a full Round 9 draw, click here.

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