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Coaches' call: Hostplus Cup Round 17 preview

The Hostplus Cup will not only recognise BMD Indigenous Round this weekend, but also celebrate the Mitch Cronin Cup in the Sunday feature broadcast match on

The Souths Logan Magpies and Wynnum Manly Seagulls will meet at BMD Kougari Oval from 2pm on Sunday, with both teams playing for the Cup, which is held in memory for the former player, who tragically passed away in 2020.

Having played for both clubs, the No.9 jerseys will be retired for the former hooker, with Cronin last playing with the Seagulls.

Across the whole competition, the Hostplus Cup will also celebrate BMD Indigenous Round, celebrating Indigenous culture and the Indigenous players that play rugby league.

Ahead of BMD Indigenous Round, the coaches of the competition have shared their thoughts.

Hostplus Cup Round 17 - BMD Indigenous Round

Northern Pride v Central Queensland Capras

Northern Pride coach Eric Smith: "Last week was our sixth win in a row, which we've been slowly building towards. We came up against a team whose season was on the line in the Mackay Cutters and we knew they'd be desperate. We probably didn't match that, if I'm being quite honest. They out-enthused us a fair bit. We heaped a lot of pressure on ourselves. We had up to 20 errors, which wasn't great. But we were able to keep working hard defensively, which has been a backbone for our season. In games we've made a fair few errors, our defence has held up. There were good learnings and lessons out of that one and the deeper we go into the season, we'll come across more teams in the logjam in the middle part of the table. It's the case again this weekend with the Capras wanting to make sure they're playing finals as well. It's a good reminder for us that teams are showing more desperation where there's a lot more on the line. The games I've seen of the Capras this year, they don't beat themselves. They play a lot of nice, tight games and have come from behind a few times. They play a really simple brand of football with a lot of toilers in that team that grind and grind and grind. They're a tough football team. If (Anthony) Milford and those guys are back like they have been, there's a touch of class brought by those Dolphins NRL guys. I've been impressed with their style of football and the way they go about it so we're expecting a tough encounter."

Central Queensland Capras coach Lionel Harbin: "We were obviously playing quite well before the bye and wanted to keep playing but we did have some players who needed the rest. The week off has really helped a few of our guys freshen up and get ready for the back end of the season. The Pride are a really big side right across the park. They have the quality in their halves with (Jake) Clifford back this week and young (Tom) Duffy there. They're the form team of the competition along with Norths. They're the best attacking side so it will be a challenge for us."


Tweed Seagulls v Mackay Cutters

Tweed Seagulls coach Dave Penna: Comments to come. 

Mackay Cutters coach Michael Comerford: "We knew having the Capras and Pride back-to-back, we were coming up against two of the best in the competition and for 60 minutes against the Pride last week, all things were going to plan. We were actually in front at one stage but after that we had two errors from kick offs, another one out on the full and we invited the Pride back into the game. It was a hard loss to take for the group and those big moments just cost us. The Pride were good enough to take their opportunities. It's one we feel we let slip but there's a lot of positives to take out of it. We've taken a lot of confidence out of it. This week it's two teams that understand how important the two points are to shape the rest of the season. Tweed will have some reinforcements from the Titans and Piggabeen is a big travel day for us. They'll be eyeing this off to get back in the winner's circle. We have to make sure our preparation is as good as it can be. It's a crucial two points for both teams."


Western Clydesdales v Townsville Blackhawks

Western Clydesdales coach Jason Alchin: "All I can say after last week is that Burleigh was the way better team and it showed on the scoreboard. We have to get up off the ground. The main focus is for us to be competitive. I know we're not winning but we have been in recent games at stages. It's also now about looking to the future and there's a couple of good young men in A grade and from our Mal Meninga squads that we'd like to bring through, so we'll be looking at that and looking forward to the future. That's our focus from now until the end of the season. They have to earn their jumper though, it's not just for the sake of it. This week we're up in Tully and it's going to be a slogfest. I don't think Blackhawks will be happy after they lost last week against Norths and I don't think they'll play like that again. They have a very good side across the paddock so we'll be up for the challenge. It's going to be good for the region of Tully and we're looking forward to that. We have seven games to go and we'd like to get a few wins more than anything."

Townsville Blackhawks coach Terry Campese: "Our recent form has been very, very frustrating. Our defensive lapses over the past fortnight have hurt us. We need to focus on ourselves this week and our defence. It's all we've been talking about this week. We need to get back into our habits. There were times against Norths where we created some really good opportunities. In the first half we dropped the ball over the line twice and missed an opportunity on the left. We weren't too far away even though our defence wasn't up to it. We have to be confident in what we're doing with the ball but the defensive side is where we need to be better. The way the Clydesdales have been playing lately is similar to us. They do throw the ball around a lot, try offloads and test the line. Last week was rough for them but they only had 12 men for most of the game. They have a couple of class players that can make you pay if you clock off. We want 50/50 possession of the ball and to get into a grinding mentality. The Clydesdales were very, very close to knocking a few teams off lately so we can't take them lightly."


Souths Logan Magpies v Wynnum Manly Seagulls

Souths Logan Magpies coach Karmichael Hunt: "We're pretty energised by the result against the Tigers last week. We didn't have the best few weeks leading into it and we didn't play our best football against the Tigers either but did enough to get the win. The win has given the boys a boost in morale. They've really turned up to training with a great attitude. We're looking forward to our clash with Wynnum Manly and it's always a tight game, especially the Mitch Cronin Cup. We've won the last few times we've been out there but we know they'll be up and about this week. They haven't had the best run lately so they'll be highly motivated. We want to build on our performance from last week and push towards a finals berth."

Wynnum Manly Seagulls coach Mat Head: "It was certainly a high quality game of footy last week against the Falcons. It was a good takeaway to understand where we are fitness-wise and to see them handle that type of footy. It wasn't the result we wanted but a much better performance overall. It was also good to see some of our young junior players make a debut. This week against Souths Logan, with both teams being an affiliate of the Broncos, we generally keep a close eye on them throughout the season. They've had a fair share of injuries but are coming off their best victory of the season. They'll be coming here with excitement to play us and confidence. They have Tristan Sailor and Blake Mozer with them and we know it's going to be a good game of footy and we're excited for that."

Broadcast:, 9Now and Kayo Freebies

Sunshine Coast Falcons v Ipswich Jets

Sunshine Coast Falcons coach Brad Henderson: "Last week's win was brave. You can never plan for that sort of carnage with the amount of injuries we had against Wynnum Manly but I'd like to think we were good in numbers on the bench for things that did go wrong. It worked out okay for us but I'm really proud of the resilience we showed. Wynnum got their nose in front and we could have packed in and gave up but I always felt we were coming to get them. They didn't give us anything with their completions and discipline but thankfully Cody (Hunter) and Thallon (Peters) did what they did to secure the win. We'll lose Luke (Polselli), Flynn (Camilleri) and Jamie (Hill) from our team last week so we'll look a little bit different. In a real worrying thing for us, we have 20 of our 32 squad members available. It's a bit daunting and scary but it will create some opportunity for young guys like Corey Herdegen who is making his debut this week. Ipswich are starting to build really nicely and they really play right to the death. They took on PNG last week and nearly got them so I hope we've grown wise enough to not underestimate our opponents. The Jet are working under the energy of a new coach and playing with a lot of belief. Wins are vital at the moment and we need to get this one this weekend at home."

Ipswich Jets coach Tye Ingebrigtsen: "Our defence in the second half against PNG last week was really good. It was the first time this year we've kept a team scoreless in a half. We take a lot of confidence from that last 40 minutes but understand it's an 80 minute game so we need to be a lot better in that initial period of the game. We know this week is going to be a tough contest. The Falcons have been travelling pretty good and have a really good football side there. We need to make sure all those good things in the second half from last week we can mirror that against the Falcons. Their forwards are really good, they have an outstanding middle with Sam Burns, Chris Lewis and Laz Vaalepu. That's their strength so we have to really really muscle up in the middle." 


Norths Devils v PNG Hunters

Norths Devils coach Dave Elliott: "We're just still hungry. We're still hungry for improvement. We set some goals for this five game block we're in now - from our last bye into the week off before Country Round. In terms of results we're three from three so far for this block but we've also set some goals as units within the team that we're still yet to build on. Our forward pack's been doing a great job to lay the foundation for us but we're certainly looking to build on our combination in our spine. We have the Hunters this week for the fourth game in that block and they're on the cusp of the eight. We all know what to expect - they're physical, big and strong. We're expecting a settled team that's played together for quite a few matches now. They have a good understanding of how they play their best footy. Knowing what's coming and actually stopping it with the way they play the game and the physicality they play with, that will be a big challenge for us."

PNG Hunters coach Paul Aiton: Comments to come.


Brisbane Tigers v Redcliffe Dolphins

Brisbane Tigers coach Matt Church: "At 20-6 with three minutes before half-time we shouldn't have lost that game last week against the Magpies. We were comfortable with being comfortable but then when we realised we were uncomfortable, it was too late to flick the switch. The month before the bye was a step forward for us in competing hard but we took the foot off the throat at that point of the game with Souths Logan. From here, it's about maintaining the rage. Souths Logan didn't have their  Broncos stars and we got a lesson in being ruthless. This week, the Dolphins always put up a strong side and last week they would have been up for Liam Hampson Cup. They'll want to build off that so we can't afford any lapses."

Redcliffe Dolphins coach Ben Te'o: "It was just a great occasion last week playing in the Liam Hampson Cup. It was an emotional week for everyone. Credit to our club for putting on a great event for hosting. The main thing is that Liam's life was celebrated on the day and a lot of guys got a chance to rip in and play their best footy. We were happy with how it brought a lot of people together. It's always hard when you've had a really big build up to turn that around. But one thing we have to address as we head into this week is our away records this year. Over the next two weeks we're playing away. We understand the Tigers are defending champs for a reason and we have to be prepared for that. That's our mindset this week." 


Bye: Burleigh Bears

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Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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