THE two Seagulls teams remain on top of the Queensland Cup ladder after 13 rounds with Tweed in most danger of being toppled this weekend.
Wynnum Seagulls kick off the weekend with the ABC televised clash against Central Comets at Kougari Oval and Wynnum should win against a team that has won just four times in 13 starts this season.
Admittedly one of those wins was against Tweed Seagulls at their citadel at Piggabeen, but it is hard to imagine a repeat performance this weekend.
Central are coming off a one point loss to Norths in Rockhampton with Norths Kiwi halfback, Marty Turner proving the difference with a field goal.
Norths play Tweed in a ?Big Sunday? of football this weekend and a top crowd should be on hand at Bishop Park particularly as the Broncos have a bye.
Also on Sunday Ipswich host Redcliffe at Bendigo Bank Oval, the 2002 grand finalists coming together for what should be a torrid match particularly as both sides have lost their last two clashes.
In the other Sunday match Burleigh Bears play Wests at Pizzey Park, Miami with Wests chasing their first win of the season.
If Burleigh win as expected it will take them to 19 points, putting them ahead of either Redcliffe or Ipswich who also go into this round on 17 points.
We have not forgotten about the other two Saturday matches. The first is at Langlands Park at 3pm between the Easts Tigers and Souths Logan Magpies and Easts (12) should keep in touch with the top five by toppling the Magpies.
At 6pm at Stadium Toowoomba the Clydesdales play the North Queensland Young Guns in what shapes as the best match of the weekend.
Toowoomba are in clear second place on 19 points, one behind Wynnum and Tweed Heads.
North Queensland are seventh, three points outside the top five, but they have a terrific for and against and except for bad luck would be much higher up the ladder.
Best wishes to the XXXX Queensland State of Origin team as they try to square the series in Sydney on Wednesday night.
The curtain-raiser is the inter-state under 17 clash and our young Maroons will be looking to gain revenge for last year?s loss at this level.
Also on Wednesday the Queensland under 15 Schoolboys side will play NSW at Moree.
Next Thursday an Australian Rugby League Board meeting will be held in Sydney. Keep an eye out in next Friday?s edition of The Courier-Mail for details of the meeting.
Don?t forget Radio TAB (1008 on the dial) has regular league segments, including those devoted to the Queensland Cup, on Mark Forbes? Breakfast Show between 6am and 8.30am Monday to Friday.
Former Wests and Redcliffe forward, Rob ?Bertie? Campbell looks after the Queensland Cup while The Courier-Mail?s Steve Ricketts has a segment on Wednesday and Friday at 7.10am.
THE Chairman of the QRL, Mr John McDonald and the General Manager Marketing of AAMI, Mr Don Casboult today announced that AAMI would become a Major Sponsor of the Queensland State of Origin Team for the next three years.
ROUND nine of the Queensland Cup is undoubtedly one of the most attractive of the season so far. There is something for everyone ? a grudge match in Ipswich; a wooden spoon battle at Purtell Park; the venture of the only New South Wales team into the deep north; a farewell to one ground and the battle for club championship supremacy on the Gold Coast.
The grudge match is between the Ipswich Jets and Norths Devils at Bendigo Bank Oval on Saturday night when former Ipswich coach, Gary Grienke returns to the scene of so many triumphs last season.
Queensland State of Origin legend, Trevor Gillmeister has charge of the Jets now and they are on top of the Queensland Cup ladder on 13 points while Norths are in ninth spot on four points, just ahead of Central Comets on percentages.
Still it promises to be a top match with Melbourne Storm coaching staff members likely to be on hand with the Storm playing the Broncos at ANZ Stadium the following day.
WYNNUM bounced back from its thrashing by Toowoomba to post a hard fought 26-8 win over Burleigh in the ABC Television clash at Pizzey Park. Seagulls centre Jimmy Ahmat was denied an early try by the video referee and then a try to Bears captain Dean Allen, as well as two Brent McConnell goals, saw Burleigh in front 8-0 after fifteen minutes. Ahmat was again prominent setting up a try for winger Josh Jepson in a movement that covered 90 metres to narrow the margin to 8-6. Good defence by both teams maintained this score line until the half-time break.
TOOWOOMBA proved too good for Wynnum Seagulls running away in the second half to win 48-14 in the ABC Television match at Kougari Oval. Wynnum started strongly scoring two good tries through halfback Denny Lambert and fullback David Seage to lead 8-0. The Clydesdales hit back to trail 8-6 when big South African prop Scott Gray crashed over for a try, but Seagulls centre Jimmy Ahmat extended this margin to 14-6 five minutes before half-time. Setting the trend for the second term Wynnum mistakes allowed Toowoomba to score two late tries and lead 16-14 at the break.
WITH the Cowboys having the bye, the Young Guns fielded an NRL strength forward pack to defeat premiers Redcliffe 30-8 at Dolphin Oval in the ABC Television match. North Queensland?s effort however in the first half was below par and when Dolphins speedster Aaron Barba notched two tries, taking his season tally to nine, the home side led 8-0 after 15 minutes. Redcliffe dominated all aspects of the game in the first half but led only 8-6 at the break following a try to Young Guns skipper Paul Dezolt on half-time.
ROUND seven of the Queensland Cup kicks off with the Ipswich - Souths Logan match at Bendigo Bank Oval on Friday night, with Ipswich looking to retain a share of third spot while the Magpies are chasing their first win.
EASTS maintained their recent dominance over the Norths Devils with a hard fought 28-24 victory at a windy Bishop Park in the ABC Television clash. Wingers Semi Tadulala and the Tigers Steve Beattie swapped early tries for a 4 all scoreline. Easts skipper Scott Thorburn looked to have handed his team the lead but inexplicably dropped the football over the tryline and when young fullback Quentin Laula-Togagae crossed the Devils led 10-4. Two penalty goals and a double to Beattie saw Easts in front 12-10 at half-time. Running into a strong wind in the second half it was the Tigers that exploited the conditions with three kicks from halfback Graham White leading to back-to-back tries to Michael Pearce and then centre Grant Dutton crossed for a handy 28-10 buffer.
QUEENSLAND Cup newcomers Tweed Heads proved to be too competitive for the premiers Redcliffe holding on for a thrilling 40-38 win in the ABC Television match at Dolphin Oval. Tweed winger Clint Rothery handed the visitors a good start crossing for an early try but the Dolphins dominated the next 30 minutes. Playing attractive attacking football Redcliffe raced in tries through winger Aaron Barba (a double), fullback Dustin Cooper and five eight Shane Perry to lead 22-4 and seemingly in control of the match. A try to Seagulls fullback Nathan Cross reduced the deficit and when centre David Strachan crossed the score was 22-12 at half-time. Two early tries to Tweed Heads saw the scores level and when halfback David Hicks scored a soft try the Seagulls hit the front 28-22. A Michael Roberts try saw the margin at 28-26 with 15 minutes on the clock. A great Hicks try gave Tweed a handy buffer but Redcliffe backrower Ben Jones scored and the result was again in the balance. When Hicks notched his hat-trick the issue was settled with Jones posting his double late in the game for the final 40-38 scoreline. Hicks was named QRL man of the match for his inspirational effort.
EVERYONE should be hungry for football after the Easter break and the line-up of matches in round six is one of the best of the Queensland Cup season to date.
The weekend kicks off with the Norths Devils ? Easts Tigers ABC Televised clash at Bishop Park with Easts sitting just outside the top five and Norths struggling after just two wins from five starts.
Easts had a big win over Central Comets last start and they will be full of confidence while Norths were thrashed 48-16 by competition leaders, Wynnum Seagulls.
But Norths have been hit hard by player commitments to NRL parent club, Melbourne Storm and coach, Gary Greinke hopes to have more experienced players available as the season rolls on.
Wests Panthers are at the bottom of the Queensland Cup ladder with Souths Logan Magpies, both clubs still searching for their first win.
Wests host premiers, Redcliffe Dolphins at Purtell Park on Saturday afternoon so it is hard to imagine the Panthers will climb out of the cellar particularly as the Dolphins will be hungry for a big win after they were beaten at home last start by newcomers Tweed Heads, on ABC Television to boot.
North Queensland Young Guns also were beaten last start 12-10 by Burleigh Bears at Miami ? and they are looking for a change of luck after three narrow losses this year.
The Young Guns are down with Norths on four points and they desperately need to beat the Ipswich Jets this Saturday night in the curtain-raiser to the NRL clash between North Queensland and Melbourne at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
In the other Saturday night clash Central host Broncos feeder club, Toowoomba Clydesdales at Browne Park, Rockhampton.
On Sunday Tweed play Wynnum at Piggabeen in the battle of the Seagulls.
This promises to be the match of the round with Wynnum the only undefeated side and Tweed holding second spot after just one loss.
Wynnum have fanatical ground support with their renowned ?chook pen? the most feared, or is that revered, licensed area in the game.
Tweed also have great support and Wynnum will be hoping some of their fans make the trip south of the border.
In the other Sunday match Souths Logan play Burleigh at Davies Park with sixth placed Burleigh looking for a win to possibly elevate them into the top five.
The Magpies will play all their home matches this year at Davies Park after negotiations to secure Meakin Park stalled.