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ROUND 17 WEEK 2 PREVIEW
NORTHS DEVILS v BURLEIGH BEARS
Saturday, July 30 - 2pm* Live on ABC 1
The Norths Devils were finally able to sing the team song again after their round 16 win over the equally struggling Easts Tigers. The 24-14 victory was a long time coming for the club which last year made it all the way to the grand final. However, with the monkey now off their back, the Devils will be feeling confident of scoring back-to-back wins and will be looking to finish the season on a high. Burleigh lost their last match against the Souths Logan Magpies by a disappointing 30-6 margin and will need to improve if they are to reclaim their place in the Intrust Super Cup top six. The Bears will be hoping their recent history against the Devils will continue, with Burleigh having claimed victory in six of their past seven games. Norths have made minimal changes to the team that won against the Tigers, with Corey Norman returning to the Brisbane Broncos Under 20s side and Matt Smith back in the No. 7 jumper. The Bears will welcome back forwards Liam McDonald and Robert Apanui, while Burleigh junior Josh Coyle is set to make his top grade debut for the club this season. Interestingly, each team has used 35 players so far this year. However, Norths pair Javarn White and Daniel Ogden, as well as Burleigh's Joe Vickery, are the only players to have stepped out in all 16 games.
NORTHERN PRIDE v IPSWICH JETS
Saturday, July 30 - 5.30pm
The Northern Pride will field arguably its strongest side of the season when it hosts the Ipswich Jets in Cairns. Michael Bani makes his return from injury on the wing for the home side, while North Queensland Cowboys forward Scott Bolton has been named in the second row. Tully product Joel Riethmuller also returns after a number of weeks playing with the NRL side. The round 17 clash will have a huge bearing on the make up of the finals, with the third-placed Pride sitting two competition points ahead of the Jets. Ipswich's Luke Walker has been named to play in his 100th Queensland Cup game for the Jets - but with Titan Luke Capewell available for selection again and Marshall Chalk a chance of returning from injury - it remains to be seen who slots into the backline. The Jets have shown good form recently and were able to snatch a 20-19 win over the second-placed Redcliffe Dolphins in their last start following a penalty goal after the siren. However, this week's Northern Pride team will be tough to overcome with the home ground advantage and the inclusion of some experienced NRL campaigners.
SUNSHINE COAST v SOUTHS LOGAN
Sunshine Coast Stadium
Sunday, July 31 - 3pm
Improving every week of the competition, the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles are unlikely to make things as easy for Souths Logan as they did in their last encounter, which the Magpies won with an impressive 62-24 scoreline. Since then, the Sea Eagles have managed to tighten up most areas in their game including their defence, and have even recorded their first win. In their round 16 game against the Pride, the Sea Eagles were able to match it with the defending premiers for the best part of 80 minutes before going down 20-10. Coach Adam Mogg has shuffled his line-up for this week's game, with Kristian Freed returning for FOGS Colts star Mitchell Buckett and Jaz Nahu-Main named to return on the bench. Jye Ballinger is the player likely to miss out and he will captain the Colts side. The Magpies are poised to make changes to their starting team with forward Sam Gardel tipped to play and impressive Residents forward Mat Pitman in extreme doubt. Souths Logan have gone about their work quietly but with great precision in recent weeks and loom as a darkhorse for the premiership. The Magpies disposed of the Burleigh Bears 30-6, a result which included Mitch Cronin's stunning hat-trick on debut. Head to head, the Magpies have the better record, having won four previous games while the Sea Eagles have only won the two matches.
WYNNUM MANLY v CENTRAL COMETS
BMD Kougari Oval
Sunday, July 31 - 3pm
It's make or break time for the Wynnum Manly Seagulls. So far this season, the Bayside team have been able to claw their way into a competitive position following a disastrous start which saw them drop their first six games of the season. With a top six spot still in the equation, they will have to push aside thoughts of their most recent game - a 48-8 loss to the imposing Tweed Heads Seagulls - and refocus on the task ahead. Despite knowing what they need to do, things will not be easy for the side which will now have to win all of its remaining games to try and secure a finals berth. In their favour is the inclusion of half Matt Seamark who made his return to the field in round 16 via the FOGS Cup side after breaking his jaw. Other changes to the team see Willie Taukafa in for Josh Jerome and Willie Scanlan on to the bench for Chris Birch. They will be up against the Central Comets who have resisted making changes to their side after their 24-12 loss to the Mackay Cutters in their round 16 match. Their recent history against the Seagulls where they have won two out of the three past meetings suggests the home side will be made to work hard for a win, and there is enough talent in the Comets side to cause an upset. Comets forward Darren Mapp is set to play in his 100th Queensland Cup game in a career which includes stints at Brothers and Toowoomba.