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Coaches' call: Hostplus Cup Round 15 preview

The XXXX Rivalry Round rematch is here, as teams go head-to-head in one of the most competitive weekends of the year.

The repeat of Round 3 will see the likes of Redcliffe Dolphins and Wynnum Manly Seagulls meet in a top eight clash while the Cairns-based Pride will play host to their northern foes in the Townsville Blachawks.

Meanwhile, in the Sunday feature broadcast match, the Burleigh Bears will take on the Tweed Seagulls in the famous Gold Coast rivalry, with both sides chasing a much-needed win.

Ahead of Round 15 - XXXX Rivalry Round - the coaches of the competition have shared their thoughts.

Hostplus Cup Round 15

Northern Pride v Townsville Blackhawks

Northern Pride coach Eric Smith: If you look at the scoreline from last week against the Clydesdales, it seems like we got the win easily but it wasn't the case. We were actually a bit disappointed with our performance last week, especially our game management and the amount of errors and cheap football we handed over. We had to do a fair bit of goal line defence and that's the takeaway we're happy with. But we definitely weren't happy with how we controlled the game. It's been a bit of kryptonite for us this year. We don't want to take that away from our game overall - we've tried to improve our attack this year and don't want to put a ceiling on it. I want to encourage them to play football but there are times it can be our downfall as well. It will be a focus for us this week again. This game against the Blackhawks, we're expecting it to be a lot closer even than the last time we played them and beat them by eight. These two teams in Rivalry Round, regardless of where we both sit on the ladder, it always brings the best out in each other. There's more energy and intent in these games for sure. Going over a bit video and watching Blackhawks' last few games, they've picked up some handy player additions and that's really helped their team. They've been able to string some good wins together and their attack has improved a whole heap. They're definitely a team that's in form at the moment and they've had some really nice wins. They were aggressive defensively last time we played them and they come after you. They're a form team at the moment so we're expecting a very hard-fought contest.

Townsville Blackhawks coach Terry Campese: We clocked off for a bit in the second half against Souths Logan last week and we need to work and learn from that and learn how to get out of that spiral. Souths Logan had quite a roll on for a stage there but we kept turning up for each other and had that never-give-up mentality. We've seen a lot of that over the last six weeks and it's something we wanted at the start and is improving every week. We've seen other teams have scored the majority of tries on play five and we're making them work hard to get over the line. As a player you get excited by attack but as a coach the exciting part is defence and that's what the squad is starting to buy into. The Pride have a really good attacking game, probably the best in the competition. (Jake) Clifford and (Tom) Duffy bring that control and there's no weaknesses in their attack. We have to be aware for anything this weekend. They're the form key playmakers in the comp at the moment. It makes it very, very difficult. I know that last game we played them, Eric mentioned our aggression so that will be a huge focus for them this week. We have to have the right and energy and match it with them. 


Central Queensland Capras v Mackay Cutters

Central Queensland Capras coach Lionel Harbin: Last week, I was most impressed with our ability to stay in the fight against Wynnum Manly. We went down 20-0 within the first 15 to 20 minutes. We didn't have any possession in that time and Wynnum are a really good attacking side and they made us pay for that. Once we got a bit of even share of possession, the game balanced out a bit and we were able to force the draw. This week it's important to start well after last week. We don't want to do that too often. It's about getting ourselves into the game. Mackay are a team that stay in the grind and do the simple things really well. They have a good kicking game on the back of Riley Dean and put you under pressure. We have to do a good job in starting well and getting ourselves into the game.

Mackay Cutters coach Michael Comerford: It was a bit of a danger game last week against Ipswich. There were a few new faces in that line-up which was hard to prepare for so to get away with the win like we did, we were happy to be able to bounce back from the week before. Ipswich will be a danger team for the rest of the season. We were happy to get through with a relatively strong performance but now it's about getting consistency in our game. Coming up against Central Queensland again, it's two pretty different line-ups to the last time we met them in Round 3. The styles might remain similar but the bodies will be different, which is exciting. They've been in good form lately and almost pulled off a miracle against Wynnum last week. We know they'll keep showing up for 80 minutes and they know how to win. We know we have to be there for 80 minutes. For consistency with us, it's about minimising the gap between our best and worst performances. We've shown both ends of the spectrum and the group has worked hard to address that. They've been showing that at training but Saturday afternoon is where it counts.


Redcliffe Dolphins v Wynnum Manly Seagulls

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

Wynnum Manly Seagulls coach Mat Head: I thought we played really well for 60 minutes last week. We started really well, which was the plan, but we let in two pretty simple tries which gave the Capras a bit of belief and the second half went that way. We were lucky to get away with a draw in a sense. When a player like Anthony Milford stars like he did, it gives them a boost. Overall, we need to produce 80 this week. Redcliffe are a strong club, have a very good coach and play a nice brand of footy. We know we'll have to be really good to compete with them. The three times we've played them recently, they've won at home and we've won at home. We're up for a big day.


Sunshine Coast Falcons v Western Clydesdales

Sunshine Coast Falcons coach Brad Henderson: Over our two weeks of byes, the boys have had six days of no footy, which I think worked out really good. We were probably down to our bare bones in terms of player availability. We don't have anyone else coming back but it gave our healthy guys a bit of time to freshen up, which is handy. With a break like that, you hope you don't go backwards and physically it might be a bit of a challenge this week, particularly against a team like Toowoomba. But every time they're away for a few days or have a few extra days off, they're keen to be back amongst each other and there was a really good focus at training this week. As staff, we try to keep it a little bit intense coming back. We let them enjoy being around each other and up the skill level content. We're working on a bit of autonomy from the group as well and really taking that on board as staff. This week with the Clydesdales, we know they are just big. From what I've seen, they look like one of the bigger teams in the competition and they keep their footy up the mid third and do a good job of it. Physicality is going to be a big one, particularly with Emry (Pere) and Blake Lenehan. They're starting to really challenge some of the top teams. Pride and PNG didn't have it all their own way against them. But we have to worry about ourselves. It's a cliche but we've been vulnerable against teams like the Clydesdales. We have to be on our toes and be ready for anything and that's a mental preparation thing. Mentally, we need to be ready for what's in front of us.

Western Clydesdales coach Jason Alchin: We were a bit tired last week. We won most things in the game against the Pride except the scoreboard. Completions we won, faster play-the-balls, less missed tackles. We performed well and while we didn't get the result, it just shows where we are. We didn't play smart with the football but we're slowly getting through all that. Full credit to Pride. They are near the top of the ladder and have a great six and seven. They'll be one of the sides at the end. We are where we are and we'll just keep learning. We have the Falcons this Saturday and they have a good pack who go forward. Their No. 7 Cody Hunter knows how to get a side around the paddock. They are very hard to play at home and they'll probably get back a few Melbourne Storm players. They'll try to go through us in the middle and get us on the edge. We know that's what they'll do but we'll just turn up and get ready for the tussle and be in the contest. Let's hope we get the points this time. 


Souths Logan Magpies v Norths Devils

Souths Logan Magpies coach Karmichael Hunt: It was probably our most disappointing performance of the season last week against the Blackhawks. It was a tough pill to swallow being back at home after the bye week. We had a good performance in PNG and then to put in an ill-disciplined performance like we did was hugely disappointing. It's been a real reflective week just on the pitfalls we're falling into. There's some common trends when we've had poor performances. We've put a light on that and just all reflected and took a bit of accountability on board. Norths this week is one of the teams you would choose to back up against because they'll get you up for a contest. We know how they're travelling. They won't give you anything cheaply. It's a good week to take stock, take accountability and look to a better performance. 

Norths Devils coach Dave Elliott: It was certainly a feeling of disappointment for Gerome (Burns) last week. He's having such a great year and is a big part of the way we've been playing this year. It was a bit of a strange feeling in the sheds afterwards because it was obvious his season was done with that injury. But we turned up and got what we needed against Tweed and that was the two points. This week has been as good as it can be at training. We've put together a squad and been training as a squad and have some versatility. We feel that we've come up with a combination for this weekend. This week, the focus is back on us and building those combinations with our spine. We're expecting a really fired up Magpies team. They don't play at Davies Park too much throughout the season and will be disappointed with their loss against the Blackhawks so we're expecting a really determined team to come out and right that wrong. Like any other week, we need to turn up with a good attitude and the right mindset, otherwise we'll have a tough day out. 


Burleigh Bears v Tweed Seagulls

Burleigh Bears coach Luke Burt: It's obviously not the results we've wanted from the last four weeks, with three losses and one win, but our discipline has let us down in each of those matches we've narrowly lost. It's too many errors and piggybacking opposition teams out of their own end with early penalties. Off the back of this, we've been focused on getting the boys to enjoy footy again. They've been a bit tense and worried about the processes. We've gone back to just enjoying the process and working hard for each other. Most teams get up when they play the Burleigh Bears. But when it's Rivalry Round between us and Tweed, it's a rivalry that's been going as long as we've both been around, so Tweed will be really keen to notch up a win as well. We've never had an easy match against Tweed and they've all been close so not expecting anything different this Sunday.

Tweed Seagulls coach Dave Penna: Our loss to Norths last week was very ugly. They were too good and we had plenty of excuses to make but we just didn't turn up on the day and they were far too good for us. For us, it hasn't been ideal. We've had a lot of injuries, both for us and the Gold Coast Titans. It's been very hard to consistently to put the same team on the park. We had two hookers, both backrowers and a five-eighth out last week and that will test your depth. But it's no excuse. It's an opportunity for our younger players to step up and they're learning how to play at that level. This week we're up against Burleigh, coming off the back of two losses, but in my opinion, they're still the best team in the competition. They have quality players right across the park and I'm expecting a fair few Brisbane Broncos boys back with the bye. Burleigh are playing really good footy and they're the team to beat this year. It's a good challenge to see if we can bounce back and put 80 minutes together and complete our sets. If we do that, you never know what could happen.

Broadcast:, 9Now and Kayo Freebies

Byes: Brisbane Tigers, Ipswich Jets, PNG Hunters

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