The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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ROUND 17 PREVIEW
EASTS TIGERS v TWEED HEADS
Saturday, July 23 - 2pm* Live on ABC 1
LAST time these two sides met, it was only a final-minute try from Tweed's Shannon Walker that proved the difference. Scores were locked at 12-12 when Walker showed his skills to tip the game in the Seagulls' favour.
Since then the fortunes of the two sides have been quite different, with the Seagulls yet to be defeated and Easts struggling to find their feet in the competition. However, this week's TV game still promises to provide entertainment with players on both sides capable of eye-catching performances.
Easts will retain the same squad that went down to the Norths Devils last weekend, with former Tweed Heads coach Troy McCarthy continuing to keep the faith in his first year with the Langlands Park club. The Tigers were outscored 24-14 by the Devils, with their attack proving to be an issue this year.
Easts have the third worst attacking record of any team in the competition having scored 288. Conversely, ladder leaders Tweed are the best attacking side, with 468 points under their belt. Tweed Heads will also field an unchanged side from the one that enjoyed their biggest win of the season, a 48-8 result over the Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
Last week saw the return of try-scoring whiz Nathanael Barnes, who got straight back in the habit with a double, as well as the debut of Nathan Mossman who came into the side for the suspended Kayne Lawton. Mossman joined the club earlier this year after moving up from Canberra and did a good job supporting Tweed veteran Tim Maccan in the hooking role.
MACKAY CUTTERS v REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS
Shark Park, Mackay
Sunday, July 24 - 2pm
THE Redcliffe Dolphins have been dealt a blow going into this away game with the loss of classy hooker Tommy Butterfield. The PNG international dislocated his elbow in the Dolphins' last gasp loss to the Ipswich Jets and is set to miss the next six weeks.
Allan Heldsinger has been named to start in his place, with Delroy Berryman coming in on the bench. Hayden Topliss will also return to the side after Mitch Rivett played on the wing last weekend. Butterfield's injury is another bitter pill for the Dolphins who lost the match after the siren when Jets five-eighth Brendon Lindsay potted a penalty goal.
Despite being assured of a finals berth, coach John Dixon will be looking for an improved overall performance to give the side momentum going into the final stages of the competition. Their opponents the Cutters got their on-again, off-again campaign back on track last week with their 24-12 win over the Central Comets, which not only assured them the Meng Trophy, but also moved them into seventh place on the Intrust Super Cup ladder.
They are also only one win away from re-entering the top six, with the Burleigh holding only a slim one-point advantage in sixth spot. This week however, they will have to try to upset the Dolphins without Ben Jones, who has been called up to partner Ray Thompson in the halves for the North Queensland Cowboys. Leeson Ah Mau has also been named on an extended Cowboys bench, but is expected to take his place in the front row for the Cutters.
Intrust Super Cup round 17 (Split Round Week Two)
Saturday 30 July
Norths Devils v Burleigh Bears 2pm Bishop Park *
Northern Pride v Ipswich Jets 5.30pm Barlow Park
Sunday 31 July
Sunshine Coast v Souths Logan Magpies 3pm Sunshine Coast Stadium
Wynnum Manly v Central Comets 3pm BMD Kougari Oval