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BMD Premiership Round 8 preview

The BMD Premiership season has reached a moment of do-or-die.

Heading into Respect Round – the eighth week of the regular season – the premier women’s competition has thrown up one of the closest races to the finals that has been seen in recent years.

With 10 teams in the competition, only one side is guaranteed finals action while another eight teams are still a mathematical chance of qualifying.

And with just two weekends left in the regular season, now is the time for teams to pounce.

The Mackay Cutters – who have only suffered one loss in seven matches – are safely through to the final four but will look to shore up the minor premiership in their final two match ups against the Brisbane Tigers and Norths Devils.

The Central Queensland Capras meanwhile know they won’t make the cut for the pointy end of the season this year, with just one win to their name, but could stir the pot in the last two weeks.

Here is how it is looking for the rest of the competition.

BMD Premiership finals race

Western Clydesdales

Sitting in second place on the BMD Premiership ladder on nine points, the Clydesdales' fortunes rest in their own hands.

Two wins or even just one over the next two weeks would likely lock them in for finals football in what is their inaugural season in the competition.

Coached by Mitch Sargent and led strongly by Shenae Ciesiolka and Tara Reinke – plus boosted by the experience of Ali Brigginshaw, Steph Hancock, Kezie Apps and Keeley Davis – the Toowoomba-based team have suffered just two losses this season and recorded four wins and a draw.

They’ve shown an ability to fight until the end, as was mostly recently on display against the Wynnum Manly Seagulls in Round 7, in a seesawing affair in which the Clydesdales just would not go away.

They will finish the regular season by playing host to the third-placed Norths Devils this Saturday and with a trip to Logan to take on the Souths Logan Magpies in Round 9.

Neither match will be an easy outing for the first-timers, but they’re showing plenty of desire to create even more history this season.

Norths Devils

Meg Ward’s Devils have been the dark horses this season, travelling along nicely to sit in third place on eight points, with a 46-point for-and-against.

This Saturday’s clash against the Clydesdales will be crucial.

The top four showdown could see the Devils leapfrog the Clydesdales, which would do plenty for their finals hopes.

Two of the Devils’ losses this year have been by just two points which shows they have the class and resilience to mix it with anyone in the competition.

They have plenty of strike power across the park and an exciting halves combination in Georgia Hannaway and Jocelyn Kelleher.

They pack lots of experience among their forwards, including captain Annetta-Claudia Nuúausala, prop Makenzie Weale and hooker Jada Ferguson, while backrower Portia Bourke has also gone to another level this year.

After taking on the Clydesdales this weekend, the Devils will then turn their attention to the Mackay Cutters.

While they will be tested over the next two weeks – coming up against the only two teams above them on the ladder – it will be a massive opportunity for them to showcase their finals credentials and make a statement.

Burleigh Bears

The reigning premiers would not be happy with their position on the ladder at the moment.

While they are well and truly in the mix for finals football, the Bears hold themselves to a high standard and to have spent the past three weeks outside of the top four, it would not sit well with them.

After a Round 6 defeat at the hands of Souths Logan, the Bears bounced back into the winner’s circle in Round 7 in a big way, handing the Mackay Cutters their first loss of the season.

But they will need to make sure they get wins over the next two weeks not just to lock up their place in the top four, but to ensure they are carrying plenty of momentum into the finals.

The Bears currently sit in fourth, also on eight points, alongside the Devils. But their for-and-against is low, with a four-point differential.

They will take on the Sunshine Coast Falcons this Saturday and then the Brisbane Tigers next Saturday and the key for the Bears will be to avoid complacency.

While both teams sit below them on the ladder, the Falcons and Tigers have caused plenty of upsets so far this season and will both be fighting as underdogs in the finals race.

Tweed Seagulls

The team that currently sits outside the top four but has the greatest chance of qualifying for finals is the Tweed Seagulls.

While they’ve recently had to be without some of their bigger names, including Tarryn Aiken, Jaime Chapman and Olivia Kernick, the Seagulls are still a massive threat for this year’s finals series.

Tweed sit in fifth place on the ladder on seven points with three wins, a draw and three losses.

But they are one point clear of everyone else vying to push their way into the top four, giving them a slight advantage over the next two weeks.

They do face some big challenges. A desperate Wynnum Manly Seagulls side will be doing everything they can to return to grand final day after their 2023 appearance while the Capras – Tweed’s Round 9 opponent – won’t want to bow out of 2024 with just one win.

Tweed haven’t won a game since Aiken (facial injury) and Kernick (New South Wales camp) were last in the team and – if they are without the two State of Origin stars again this weekend or into the future – they need to show they can win without the Queensland playmaker and NSW lock.

Souths Logan Magpies, Wynnum Manly Seagulls, Brisbane Tigers and Sunshine Coast Falcons

While it’s a tough road ahead, mathematically all four of these teams are still within the finals race.

They could be ruled out as soon as this weekend, depending on various results.

But results are key for all four – they need a lot to go their way over the coming two weeks and some of it is out of their hands.

They all sit on six points, with Souths Logan in sixth spot on 24 for-and-against points.

This follows with last year’s runners-up Wynnum Manly (-16-point differential), the Brisbane Tigers (-24-point differential) and the Sunshine Coast (-60-point differential).

The Magpies will head to Rockhampton this week to take on the Central Queensland Capras before hosting the Clydesdales in Round 9.

The Seagulls meanwhile will head to Tweed for a Round 8 flockbuster. They will then meet the Falcons next week.

The Tigers this week head north to Mackay for a tough battle before coming up against the Bears to end the regular season.

And the Sunshine Coast – the ultimate underdogs – have the Burleigh Bears in Round 8 and Wynnum Manly in Round 9.

The stage is set for some enticing showdowns this weekend and it is a round in which a few finals questions could be answered.

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