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.
THE ?grand final rematch? between premiers, Redcliffe Dolphins and Ipswich Jets at Dolphin Oval on Sunday is the undoubted highlight of round four of the Queensland Cup.
Redcliffe were convincing 34 ? 10 winners over the Jets at the same venue last year with the capacity of the ground tested on a perfect spring day.
No one is suggesting this clash will draw a full house but there is sure to be a healthy attendance particularly as Queensland State of Origin legend, Trevor Gillmeister has taken the coaching reins at Ipswich and the side has strengthened considerably in the forwards.
Both teams are undefeated having two wins and a draw to their credit, with Ipswich coming off a big win over the previously undefeated Tweed Seagulls and Redcliffe emerging victorious in a tough clash with Burleigh Bears at Miami.
This is not an easy game to pick, although Redcliffe will start favourites because of their home ground advantage.
The round begins with the Wests Panthers v Burleigh match at Purtell Park, the ABC Televised clash.
Wests will be out to show their thrashing at the hands of Toowoomba last Saturday was a one off, and let?s face it, the Toowoomba side had a touch of NRL and State of Origin experience with Carl Webb scoring four tries.
Burleigh consider themselves under achievers after one draw and two losses from three starts, and they are looking to get back on track against Wests so it still could be another tough day at the office for the Panthers.
North Queensland Young Guns and Toowoomba Clydesdales play the curtain-raiser to Saturday night?s NRL clash in Townsville with the Young Guns having won two and lost one while Toowoomba have won one, drawn one and lost one.
The Young Guns will be looking to get the night off on the right foot and to show the locals the club?s up and comers are just as impressive as the ?baby? Broncos.
In what shapes as a big Saturday night clash in Rockhampton, the Central Comets host competition leaders, Wynnum Seagulls and this match could be the making of the Comets.
They are capable of a win and if they get the points there will be no stopping them.
On Sunday Souths Logan Magpies host Easts Tigers at Davies Park and if the Magpies can maintain intensity for 80 minutes they could have their first win of the year.
The Magpies have led at half-time in all three matches and they obviously have talent even though the side had a less than ideal off-season.
Magpies supporters need to be patient and if they are, there will be good times ahead.
Tweed Seagulls play their first home match at their Piggabeen complex to the west of Tweed Heads and Norths have the tough task of travelling south of the border.
Norths have been hard hit by Melbourne Storm commitments, with players called up to help the NRL club as it struggles with an incredible injury list. But the Devils will not use that as an excuse because their depth is impressive.
It promises to be another exciting weekend in the Queensland Cup.
AFTER four rounds of the 2003 Queensland Cup, new team Tweed Heads Seagulls are clear third on the premiership ladder and they must be considered semi-final chances.
Before the premiership kicked off most people predicted a mid-table finish at best for Tweed and even some Seagulls officials claimed to be flattered at those assessments.
But this team, under the coaching of Peter Crannage, has to be more than respected ? feared might be the word.
Seagulls are used to success in the Gold Coast Group 18 competition and they are not about to be failures in this Queensland statewide competition.
This Saturday they feature in their first ABC televised clash when they meet premiers, Redcliffe at Dolphin Oval.
Many people on the Tweed and Gold Coast receive New South Wales and Queensland ABC telecasts, and you can bet most league followers will be tuned in to the Queensland version.
Redcliffe are second on the premiership ladder, one point behind bayside rivals, Wynnum Seagulls who are also leading the club championship thanks to the effort of their A grade and colts teams in the Mixwell Cup.
Wynnum hosts Norths Devils at Kougari Oval on Sunday with Norths coming off a 16-4 loss to Tweed.
Norths share sixth spot with Easts Tigers and North Queensland Young Guns on four points.
Easts host the Central Comets at Langlands Park on Saturday with the Comets chasing their second win of the season.
With a fanatical home town following Central had hoped to win both their home matches in the first four rounds, but alas, this was not to be.
The Young Guns play Burleigh Bears at Pizzey Park, Miami on Saturday night and this promises to be a quality match.
In the other Saturday night clash Ipswich Jets play Wests Panthers at Bendigo Bank Oval.
The Jets put it to Redcliffe last Sunday and the final scoreline did not tell the story of what a tough game of football it was, and Ipswich could easily have left the peninsula with the two points.
On Sunday at ANZ Stadium Toowoomba Clydesdales play Souths Logan Magpies in the main curtain-raiser to the NRL clash between Brisbane Broncos and New Zealand Warriors.
Broncos contracted player, Scott Prince will make his comeback from injury for feeder team Toowoomba, who should win this match easily.
Fourth placed Toowoomba has the best attack in the competition, but its defence is inferior to eight other teams.
WESTS Panthers displayed a lot of courage but in the end the Burleigh Bears proved too big to contain running out 58-14 winners in the ABC Television clash at Purtell Park. The scores were locked at 4 all following early tries to opposing centres Nick Shaw and Alfred Songoro but the Bears then raced in four further tries to lead 24-4 at half-time. A strong try to young Panthers prop forward Isaac Ah Mau early in the second term and a double to Songoro saw Wests trailing only 36-14 after 60 minutes of the match. Unfortunately fatigue was again a factor for the young Panthers with Burleigh adding four more tries to win comfortably. Big second rower Chris Nahi and Shaw notching doubles for the Bears. Skipper Adam Hayden capped a sparkling display in attack and defence to be named QRL man of the match.
NORTH Queensland held on for a good win 21-14 over Easts at Langlands Park in the ABC Television clash. After a scrappy start by both teams it was Young Guns hooker and captain Paul Dezolt who darted over from dummy half to open the scoring. A few minutes later big centre Luke Cross crashed over for a try and then side-stepping run by five eight Michael Meigan led to a try to fullback Daniel Sorbello for a 16-0 advantage after 21 minutes.