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Coaches' call: Hostplus Cup Round 12 preview

Round 12 of the Hostplus Cup will be headlined by a blockbuster clash between the competition-leading Wynnum Manly Seagulls and fourth-placed Burleigh Bears.

At the midway point of the season, the top four showdown will pit two of the best against each other, with the Seagulls becoming the standalone leaders last week.

With the second-placed Norths Devils and third-placed Northern Pride enjoying byes this weekend, the Bears will need the win to stay in touch with the three teams above them.

As the competition enters the midway point of the season, the coaches share their thoughts on where they sit and the weekend ahead.

Hostplus Cup Round 12

Tweed Seagulls v Western Clydesdales

Tweed Seagulls coach Dave Penna: "We're comfortable with where we're at at this point of the season but we know we have a lot of hard work still to do. We know where we've gone wrong and we're slowly starting to fix those areas. We have some team cohesion but it's still a long way to go. For us this week, it's about starting to go forward. We had a great win last week but we only had 42 per cent possession and were making silly errors. We have to keep getting better at staying in the games and getting our fair share of the footy. If we do that, we give ourselves a chance. The Clydesdales this week are a really good footy side - they're tough in the middle and blokes can get you from anywhere. We have to treat them with the utmost respect and play well. It's going to be a tough game."

Western Clydesdales coach Jason Alchin: "We're still growing as a club. We've still got a fair way to go but I'm happy with the way we have been going. It's always been a growing thing with us and becoming better and learning from our mistakes - and that's not just the players, but the staff too. It's exciting times ahead for us. Hopefully there's more wins on the horizon, not just on the field but off the field as well. Last time we went to Tweed, we got 50 put on us and were a bit ambushed so I don't want that happening again. They have a talented side. Their six and seven are very good players, very good running players. They have a mobile pack and Dave Penna will have them going and we have to control what we can control and that's us. We just have to be in their faces and not let them do what they do. It's a pretty hard place to go to. We'll prepare a bit better than we did last year... we know what's in front of us."


PNG Hunters v Souths Logan Magpies

PNG Hunters coach Paul Aiton: "I'm comfortable with the boys and happy with the progress we've made so far this year. But I'm hoping to finish the rest of the year better than we've started. We're building something here. There's some games we've probably lost it for ourselves but I feel we're going to finish a lot stronger. This week we have the Magpies and they are a good team. It doesn't matter where they sit on the table - we don't take notice of that. We need to stick with what we do well and not go away from that."

Souths Logan Magpies coach Karmichael Hunt: "The last couple of weeks haven't been what we wanted. We had a close loss against the Tigers but we were playing inconsistent, patchy footy in that game. Then we followed that up with a patchy performance against the Pride. We're looking forward to the trip up to PNG this week. If we win that, we're in touch with the eight. You don't need to guess what you're going to get from the Hunters. It'll be a physical contest and they've played some really good football. Paul has been around the system a long time and they're a tough opposition. We travelled there last year and managed to get a win. But this year we're a different team, they're a different team and it's going to take a big effort from all of us. We're looking forward to jumping on the plane and going to Port Moresby."


Central Queensland Capras v Ipswich Jets

Central Queensland Capras coach Lionel Harbin: "Where we are at the moment is an indication of where we've been as a team and the way we've been playing. We haven't been able to put two or three good performances together. But it's a tight competition and coming into the back end of the season, we need to do just that. It starts this week. The Jets will be a bit disappointed with their performance on the weekend at home and under a new coach, so they'll be trying to right their wrongs. They have a big pack and big size all across the park. We have to stay in the fight better than what we have been. There have been opportunities for us to win but we haven't been able to do that this year."

Ipswich Jets coach Tye Ingebrigtsen: "It's not ideal that we're sitting at the bottom of the ladder but we have plenty of footy in us and can get some wins at the back end of the year. This week I want to see a lot more effort in defence. We leaked too many easy tries last week so this week has been about muscling up and being more resilient in defence. The Capras play a pretty structured brand of football. Their halves are their keys and they move the footy around and they test you around the edges. At home in Rockhampton, I'm expecting them to be really strong."


Sunshine Coast Falcons v Redcliffe Dolphins

Sunshine Coast Falcons coach Brad Henderson: "It's mixed feelings for the midway point. It's been a few weeks since we've played poorly but having said that, we've lost our last three games. It's a little bit concerning. The effort is there. We're still within striking distance of the top four and we're capable of making a play to finish where we want to finish. The big area we've tried to identify for improvement is tightening things up around the ruck. Wynnum Manly and - to a lesser extent - Tweed, both teams got through in and around our ruck. It's one of those things that you're trying to improve as the year goes on and we're not far off. Our best is close, we just need to be a little bit more patient with our execution and go back to basics and show some desire to tough out a win. We've just got to change that mentality and process and when we get our nose in front, kick on or put it bed."

Redcliffe Dolphins coach Ben Te'o: "We're feeling pretty good for where we are at this point of the season. We've had our ups and downs but I think we've had a good start to the year. Our team has changed quite a bit and we had a couple of tough weeks. It's still a long process of a season and there's a lot of footy ahead. We have a lot of young players that are about to slowly be injected into our side. From the Falcons this week, they're always a tough team with really good structures. From us, I'm looking for everyone to continue to fight for their positions. We have a lot of competition for spots so it's important everyone plays their best game."


Townsville Blackhawks v Brisbane Tigers

Townsville Blackhawks coach Terry Campese: "We're starting to understand what we're trying to achieve. We can see the boys starting to really gel on and off the field and get good combos as a result. We're on the right path. It would have been nice to pick up a couple more wins in the first half of the season but we've played against really good teams and it's a tough competition. We need to try to get a couple in a row to sit healthier on the table. I've watched a bit of footage on the Tigers... when they get on a roll, they're very hard to stop. It's going to be a really tough match. They'll be nice and fresh after a bye. We expect them at their best."

Brisbane Tigers coach Matt Church: "We've been consistently inconsistent. Moving forward, I want to see us play as a connected team. One thing we've identified is that I was getting in the way a little bit as a coach and I need to allow them to play to their strengths. One thing I did well last year was have them really connected and I've missed the mark a bit on that this year. Coming up against Townsville, they have a really good roster. It's not topped up with NRL talent but they have NRL experience. They're a tough side to beat and I don't think they've had a bye yet this year but they've won more games than us. We need to go up there with a mentality that it will be a hard, physical contest."


Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Burleigh Bears

Wynnum Manly Seagulls coach Mat Head: Comments to come.

Burleigh Bears coach Luke Burt: "We're really happy with where we are. If you gave me the opportunity to be in this position before the season kicked off, I would have jumped at it. But after last weekend's game against Redcliffe, we'd like our completion rates to be up slightly - 18 incomplete sets isn't good enough. But for Redcliffe to only score two tries, I was very proud of the defence. This is a super tough game against Wynnum Manly. In their last four games, they've scored 40-plus points. We have to be really good defensively and try to limit their scoring opportunities. On the other hand, we can't hand them the ball like we did last week."

Broadcast:, Kayo Freebies, 9Now

Byes: Mackay Cutters, Northern Pride, Norths Devils

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