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BMD Premiership Round 7 preview

There is a humble confidence growing within the Brisbane Tigers BMD Premiership squad.

With just three weeks left of the regular season, the Tigers are sitting within striking distance of a finals berth.

Placed in sixth, the Tigers are on the same amount of points as the fourth-placed Norths Devils, which is where the cut off for finals is.

They have not been beaten since their Round 2 loss to the Devils, recording two wins and two draws over the past month.

Co-coach Paul Brown said the team were not getting ahead of themselves or discussing the possibility of finals too much, but were building a nice level of confidence that he hoped would get them through the upcoming three weeks.

“We’ve been staying humble but we’re confident,” Brown said.

“We’re confident in the team and players we have. Finals are just over three weeks away.

“Where we are on those six points, with a bounce of the ball here or there, we could be in third or second. But we’re staying humble.

“We haven’t been beaten for four games now. That’s all been based on our defence and the most pleasing thing is that this a team that cares about each other and is turning up for each other.

“We still haven’t played our best yet. We’re only just starting to getting know each other in attack.

“We’re still quite clunky but we are getting to the performing stage. Once our attack clicks, we’ll go to another level.”

Tigers players in Round 6. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL
Tigers players in Round 6. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL

Brown, who co-coaches with Paul Nieuwenhuyzen, said the pair set out at the start of pre-season to assemble a young squad.

They knew that would require development along the way, but are impressed with just how far they have come over the first six weeks of competition.

He said co-captain and Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons forward Shannon Mato helped immensely with this, while the forward pack – including Harata Butler – stood up to lead the way.

Brown was also impressed with playmaker Akira Kelly and said he could see her going from strength-to-strength each week.

But overall, the squad are delivering together to mount that case for finals.

“We’re really pleased with our squad, extremely proud of their efforts,” he said.

“We didn’t really go into this season entertaining the thought of having fly in, fly out players. We went with a youth-first development strategy - backing players already in our system – and had a lot of conversations with players looking for opportunities, basically forming a completely new group.

“When you consider this, we’re sitting really well. We didn’t start the season too well, being a new team.

“But we’re getting better each week.. we’re looking for improvement and we’re just looking forward to this week against the Magpies.”

Akira Kelly. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL
Akira Kelly. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL

Brown – who said the squad would pay their respects to the Anzacs come game day – knows the Magpies will present his team a whole new challenge on Saturday.

Souths Logan are currently hitting form, winning their last two matches after four straight losses to start the season.

The two sides will meet at Logan Metro Sports Complex.

“We’re expecting a tough game,” Brown said.

“They’re a formidable opponent. They have a lot of experienced players across the park and they’re a very strong side in the middle but they’ve got a lot of talent as well and good skills.

“You have to be on your game and we have to match our defensive efforts from previous weeks.

“We’re looking to build pressure, complete our sets and play a patient game and keep building on what we’ve been building for the entire season, which is consistency.”

Round 7 of the BMD Premiership will open with a highly-anticipated clash between the reigning premiers in the Burleigh Bears and the undefeated Mackay Cutters at UAA Park.

The Bears currently sit outside the top four and need to string wins together to earn a place in the finals while the Cutters are hoping to continue their unbeaten run.

Also on Saturday, Tweed Seagulls will be boosted by the return of Tarryn Aiken in their meeting with the Norths Devils.

The Central Queensland Capras will play host to the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

And in the Sunday broadcast match, the Wynnum Manly Seagulls will take on the Western Clydesdales to close out the round.

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