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Coaches' call: Hostplus Cup Round 13 preview

Fans of the Hostplus Cup will be treated to yet another top four clash, as the Burleigh Bears this week head north to take on the Northern Pride.

Fresh off a win over fellow top four contenders, the Wynnum Manly Seagulls, the  third-placed Bears will now go into back-to-back blockbusters.

Sitting on 18 points alongside the second-placed Pride on the Cup ladder, the two teams are split by just 29 differential points, setting the stage for an interesting showdown on Saturday afternoon.

In this week's Sunday broadcast match, the Western Clydesdales take on the PNG Hunters in Toowoomba.

Ahead of Round 13, the coaches of the competition have shared their thoughts on how they fared in week one and what they need to do this weekend.

Hostplus Cup Round 13

Mackay Cutters v Redcliffe Dolphins

Mackay Cutters coach Michael Comerford: Five wins and five losses, its probably a reflection of the footy we've played to get to the halfway point of the season. At our best, we've shown we can compete with any team in the competition and when we haven't held our standards, we've let results slip. It's a fair assessment of where we're at. But we've now put ourselves in a position where the destiny of playing finals is in our own hands. We get to control how the back end of the season pans out and that starts this weekend as we return from a bye. Although the result came late against the Hunters a couple of weeks ago, we laid a good foundation physically in our defence early on in that game. Although they later got out to a lead, we definitely got a response from our boys to get the result. We've shown we can do that now and we have to maintain that week-to-week, especially against the Dolphins with big middle forwards we need to contain.They have strike with Valynce Te Whare out wide and they've named Brenton Baira on the wing this week. They bring that X-factor we have to be on high alert for. 

Redcliffe Dolphins Ben Te'o: The boys started off really good last week and we got ourselves back into the game to get it to 20-all. But they got us in a few moments and got the win. There were some real good learnings from it. We had young players in our side that will take away parts of that game and get better for it. That's our job, is to develop younger players. It was a great game of footy. This week we head north to Mackay and I'm not too sure which side is going to come out for the Cutters. A lot of players come back and forth to NRL but we're expecting a real tough opposition. It's the curtain raiser before the North Queensland Cowboys NRL game. We're just looking forward to spending some time together. We'll be up there for a little bit of time and if we can bring the group together, I'll be happy.


Brisbane Tigers v Wynnum Manly Seagulls

Brisbane Tigers coach Matt Church: The takeaways from last week's loss is that we're probably just too nice of a footy side. Townsville made it messy and we let them play to their speed. They certainly didn't allow us to play to ours. We're going to change things up this week. We have 13 players unavailable, which is difficult, but with that brings opportunity and hopefully hunger and energy. Hopefully we can feed off that and inspire a good performance. Wynnum Manly have recruited really well in the off-season. Their nines in (Cory) Paix and Kalolo  (Saitaua) are strong, so we need to be on our game around the ruck and defend them well. They have strike across the park. 

Wynnum Manly Seagulls coach Mat Head: We obviously missed the start last week and full credit to Burleigh with how they came out to play. They got us on the jump and we had to fight ourselves back into it but that was the pleasing thing. To get to 14-10 and give ourselves a chance was impressive. But there were two big plays that changed the momentum and now, we need to move on. It's always good to win footy games and we've won our fair share at the halfway point of the season. The pleasing thing for us, which we saw in the Burleigh game, was the team we're becoming and the ability to stay in contests and face adversity. There's plenty of work still left in us but we are where we'd like to be. We need to keep progressing ourselves and getting that consistency. You'd imagine the Tigers will be up and about this week coming off a loss and playing at home. But we're concentrating a lot on ourselves and how we can perform better. That's been a big focus for us. 


Northern Pride v Burleigh Bears

Northern Pride coach Eric Smith: You never know when you give the players a bit of time off if it's the right thing to do or not. Because it was the midway point of our season, we gave them a long break for the bye last week - a week away from being in the group. Based on the energy and output at training as we've returned this week, I feel like the long break has been a good thing. There's been a lot of energy and they're ready to roll again. We had a little chat around where we sit and the things we've achieved, which is nice to have recognition. But we need to knuckle down and be ready for a push into the back end of the year. It's a great way to start the second half of the year against what I think is the best team in the competition. I've seen plenty of vision of Burleigh and I know they're the most senior roster. With (Hayden) Schwass, (Sam) Coster and Pat (Politoni) at nine, Guy (Hamilton) and (Josh) Rogers, they've played so much football at this level. They're able to play a game for 80 minutes and get into an arm wrestle, get into a grind and keep ticking away and take their opportunities when they come. They're very calm with Pat and those two halves in the spine. It just seems to flow very nicely, their football. They're always in sync with one another. That experience is so, so valuable to that footy team. They're a very physical and brutal team that like to get into your face. Burty is also doing a great job this year. He's had a great influence on that team as well. Keeping that senior group and adding a couple new players, they're firing all cylinders. It's a great way for us to kick off the back half of the season and see how we go holding our gloves up against the Bears.

Burleigh Bears coach Luke Burt: Last week's win was super important for a few reasons. The week before we weren't happy with our performance against another top side in Redlciffe. That win also kept us in touch with the other top sides. If Wynnum Manly had won, they would have jumped four points ahead, so it was super important to keep in touch with those other teams at the top of the ladder. Now we want to back up that performance. The Pride are the form team of the competition this year. They play an expansive style of football and are a very physical side. It will be defence-focused for us and minimising their strength in attack.


Central Queensland Capras v Tweed Seagulls

Central Queensland Capras coach Lionel Harbin: I was happy with the way we were able to fight back in that second half against the Jets. Ipswich played a really good first half and had a lot of energy. I thought with our ability to stay in the fight and complete high, we were able to turn it around. This week we have Tweed and they're a good attacking side. They can hurt you from all over the field. They have some individual players that have a lot of experience with the two McGrady boys and (Will) Brimson in the halves, and a good, strong forward pack. We just have to be on our game defensively again.

Tweed Seagulls coach Dave Penna: I'm feeling a lot better after last week's win. We didn't come through unscathed, we had a few injuries, which wasn't great, but it was good to get two points and play better again. Jacob McCudden is out this week with his shoulder and we potentially might have Ioane Seiuli with a hamstring problem but that's a wait and see. We'll just keep working hard. We have a very experienced squad. It will be a tough ask against the Capras. They're a quality side with a great coach so we look forward to seeing where we sit.


Western Clydesdales v PNG Hunters

Western Clydesdales coach Jason Alchin: We went all right against Tweed last week. We're finding our own feet and not getting touched up. We're using good young players around the regions and giving them opportunities. They're aiming up and we're in the contest every week and we're having a go. Full credit to Tweed, they kept at it and got us in the end. Looking forward, there's 11 games to go and we want to see how many we can win. Everyone's training hard and has some input and is helping each other. We have the broadcast game this week against PNG and they look a bit fitter than they have been. I know they've lost their last two games so they won't want to come here and lose three in a row. Their new coach is doing a fantastic job. They're strong, they're physical but so are we. That's not worrying us.

PNG Hunters coach Paul Aiton: Comments to come.

Broadcast:, Kayo Freebies, 9Now

Byes: Ipswich Jets, Norths Devils, Souths Logan Magpies, Sunshine Coast Falcons, Townsville Blackhawks

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