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Coaches' call: Hostplus Cup Round 11 preview

A Friday afternoon game, a clash in Chinchilla and a debutant Hostplus Cup coach - Round 11 of the competition is serving up plenty of intriguing storylines this week.

Round 11 will kick off at Townsville's Queensland Country Bank Stadium when North Queensland Cowboys affiliates the Northern Pride play host to the Souths Logan Magpies on Friday afternoon, ahead of an NRL match.

On Sunday, the Western Clydesdales will then head to Chinchilla for their showdown with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls while in the broadcast game, former Ipswich Mal Meninga Cup coach Tye Ingebrigtsen will have his first match in charge of the Jets' Hostplus Cup team after the club parted ways with Ben Cross earlier this week.

With plenty to talk about ahead of Round 11, the coaches of the competition have shared their thoughts.

Hostplus Cup Round 11

Northern Pride v Souths Logan Magpies

Northern Pride coach Eric Smith: We wanted a reaction last week from our loss to PNG in Round 9 and we got it. We went from 19 errors to eight errors and we were able to put a lot of pressure on. The Cutters made a few errors themselves but I was really pleased we were able to get reaction. We know what we can do when we do complete. To only let one try in was really pleasing as a coach. I think so far this year we've been able to have a reaction after a loss but now the challenge to ourselves is to have those types of performances after a win. We can't just wait for after a loss. We'll be looking to do that this week. I've seen the last couple of Magpies' games and last weekend they didn't win but I was impressed regardless. They were very powerful right across the park and the way they carted their ball out of their end with ease, I was really impressed. It's something we have to make sure we're ready to take on. We've had a few good dress rehearsals with PNG and Mackay's big forward pack."

Souths Logan Magpies coach Karmichael Hunt: "I was pretty disappointed in our defensive effort last week against the Tigers. If there was any silver lining, it was the boys' ability to get back in the arm wrestle. They showed character and resilience but we did fall short at the end. Letting 40 points in, including some easy tries in that first half, it's not going to cut it at Cup level or any level. Defence has been a big focus since. It hasn't been easy with a five-day turnaround but there's a huge emphasis on having the right attitude against the Pride today. I've watched some vision and they're an impressive outfit, playing some good football. It's a timely game to help us get back on track with defence. We have to be on our game because they can score points."


Townsville Blackhawks v Central Queensland Capras

Townsville Blackhawks coach Terry Campese: "Last week's loss to Norths was very similar to the rest of our season. It comes back to our consistency. We started quite slow and it took us until the second half to warm into the game. In this competition and playing at this level, you need to be switched on for the whole 80 minutes. It's something we're constantly talking about and now we just need to start improving. Capras have a big contingent of Dolphins NRL players and their whole club at the moment and their feeders are travelling well. You can see the culture of the NRL club is feeding back into the Cup teams. The Capras have really good Cup players as well to coincide with the NRL boys that come up. They're a team that don't go away and they compete on every play. It's a huge game and one of the toughest ones of the season so we need to be a lot better than what we have been with that consistency."

Central Queensland Capras coach Lionel Harbin: "It was good to freshen up for a bit last week with a bye. The boys had a bit of time off and have come back to training with a lot of energy, which is a good sign at this time of year. Just going off out last game before the bye, we still seem to be hurting ourselves and putting ourselves under a lot of pressure with ill-discipline and completion rates. It's something we continue to talk but haven't got quite right yet. This week, we also welcomed back Tyler Szepanowski. I've stayed in contact with him since he went to Burleigh and he was looking to move back at the end of the year but it just fell into place to come earlier than expected. We were keen to get him back to the club and playing again and having someone of Tyler's experience and stature around the club is really good. He was a real leader before he left, on and off the field, and he's going to be great for our young forwards coming through the club. We're expecting a really tough game again this weekend. Watching the Blackhawks against the Devils, even though they lost, they're playing a really good brand of footy. They've got a lot of experience in that squad. They're playing tough footy so we're expecting a really tough game. Terry's done a really good job and the way the comp is, every win is important."


Redcliffe Dolphins v Burleigh Bears

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

Burleigh Bears coach Luke Burt: "The focus this week is getting out of bye mode, which can be a tricky one. You have a nice relaxed week off, some extra days off training, so this week it's been about switching back on into game mode and picking up where we left off against the Cutters. We don't want a slow start this week against a team like the Dolphins. They've named arguably their best side of the season with NRL players on the bench - they can't even get a starting spot. They're a very strong side this week. They have Trai Fuller back in the side and they win the majority of games with him there. It's going to take 80 minutes to get the win."


Sunshine Coast Falcons v Tweed Seagulls

Sunshine Coast Falcons coach Brad Henderson: "It was another physical game last week with clearly one of the better sides in the competition in Wynnum Manly. We went toe-to-toe with them for a long time and managed to get our nose in front but we weren't good enough to hold them off. They got some momentum with repeat sets and we were brave but not strong enough on the day. They were just a bit better than us on the day. It definitely shows us how close we are but how well you have to play to beat those competition-leading teams. We're definitely building and heading in the right direction but every week is a tough game in this competition. Tweed have not had a great start to the year but with their line-up and the fella coaching that team, they have points in them and they're a danger team. We have to make sure we don't relax. We need to maintain those standards and make sure in those clutch moments we're still in the game and doing those things right."

Tweed Seagulls coach Dave Penna: "We had a couple of disappointing performances before the bye. We thought we were going in the right direction but we've let ourselves down again. Since coming back, we've just tried to refocus on what we need to improve as a team, both individually and collectively. We can't afford to be completing at 60 per cent and not giving ourselves our fair share. When we have the ball, we need to hang onto it. That's all we can ask. The Falcons are a class footy side. They've got a little bit of depth from the Melbourne Storm, they have a good coach, plenty of speed and play with a lot of energy. We have to be really, really good defensively and limit them to how much footy we give them. They've been beaten in close games by quality sides and they're one of the main teams this year and a good challenge for us."


Ipswich Jets v Norths Devils

Ipswich Jets coach Tye Ingebrigtsen: "It's obviously exciting to have been appointed as the Jets Cup coach this week, but there's been mixed emotions as well. I created a really good relationship with (Ben) Crossy over the last six months and he gave me my opportunity to coach at this level again. I'm hoping I can take this team with what he's taught me over the last six months. He's been a mentor. Coming into the job, the big focus is on effort. We're playing at home this week and we're hoping the blokes can be up for it and prove us a lot of effort and energy. Coming up against the Devils, I know they're a real quality side and playing some really good football this year. Dave's done a really good job and changed the roster up a little and is getting rewarded for that. We know there's real danger players and ex-Jets in Gerome Burns and Kierran Moseley. We have to do our homework on them and contain them as best as we can."

Norths Devils coach Dave Elliott: "We're pretty happy with where we're sitting at the moment. We've been able to put some back-to-back performances together and build some combos. At the same time we're looking for improvement and still finding ways to improve our footy team on both sides of the ball. This week coming up against Ipswich will be interesting given the coaching changes that have happened. Sometimes when this happens, you can get some sort of response from the playing group, which is typically an emotional response. We've certainly spoken about that and are anticipating an emotionally-charged Jets team. In saying that, their performance against PNG in PNG I thought was outstanding. They've played some pretty good teams lately - PNG, Wynnum Manly, Pride. They've proven they can start well and they're looking for that win to start building confidence again so we have to be right up on our game and make sure we finish this three game block before our double bye the way we want to finish it."

Broadcast:, Kayo Freebies and 9Now

Mackay Cutters v PNG Hunters

Mackay Cutters coach Michael Comerford: "The main thing out of last week's loss that we addressed is you don't get a second chance at the intensity you bring to start the match. Pride won that battle in the first 20 last week and while the damage wasn't done on the scoreboard early, they had set up their platform and were relentless after that. We've addressed that intensity we need to start matches and what guys need to bring off the bench to lift that as well. We didn't have that last weekend and the Pride did and that's why they got that result. This week, we know what the Hunters will bring physically to the table and they have a distinct style of play at the moment. We're not going to get a better test of ourselves as a group than this weekend. We won't get a better challenge of where we're at and how to turn that around. Any team that plays the Hunters knows that to match them physically, it has to be a focus area at a minimum for any team, but more so for us off the back of our recent performances." 

PNG Hunters coach Paul Aiton: Comments to come.


Western Clydesdales v Wynnum Manly Seagulls

Western Clydesdales coach Jason Alchin: "We've finished our run of byes now - three in the first 10 rounds. This weekend we have Wynnum Manly and they're coming second in the comp. Matty will have them going. But given our recent form, it's fair to say there's just a quiet confidence growing in the squad at the moment. Our last three games have been very good against Norths, Redcliffe and Souths Logan. We've been working hard and the boys are sticking together. We all know what's in front of us this weekend."

Wynnum Manly Seagulls coach Mat Head: "It was a really good performance from ourselves last weekend, even being a little bit off. The Falcons turned up with a lot of energy and played really strong. They put themselves in front with 10 to go and it was good to see how we reacted under adversity. It was our most gutsiest performance of the season, which was very pleasing to see as a coach. I've kept a close eye on the Clydesdales this year given we had similar draws with a few early byes. In the last two weeks they've really performed. With them coming off the bye, we expect them to come out firing and flying and full of confidence, which we're excited about it. I think it's going to be a really good contest and we're excited to get out on the road to Chinchilla."


Bye: Brisbane Tigers

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