Our own Rick Edgerton is in to wrap Game II of #Origin and looks ahead to the decider in a fortnight...
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ROUND 18 PREVIEW
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS v NORTHS DEVILS
Saturday, July 24 @ Dolphin Oval, 2pm* live on ABC TV
Redcliffe speedster Ryan Cullen turns out for his 150th appearance in the Queensland Cup. The livewire fullback scored three tries in last weekend's loss to the Sunshine Coast. The hat-trick took his career tally to 111 tries, the benchmark in the long-standing competition. Cullen, who has also had stints with Easts and Central, will need to be at his best if the Dolphins are to upset the competition leaders in the 2pm ABC TV clash. Redcliffe enters the match in fourth spot, but have a host of teams right on their tail. The Devils - 28-12 winners over Easts last weekend - can take a step closer to securing the minor premiership with a round 18 victory. The Nundah club is gradually getting back to full-strength with Gideon Mzembe, Mark Leafa and Joe Bond all named to make their top grade returns. Key halfback Matt Smith is also close to a comeback. Saturday's clash will see former Redcliffe premiership-winning star Shane Perry return to Dolphin Oval in a Devils jersey for the first time.
EASTS TIGERS v BURLEIGH BEARS
Saturday, July 24 @ Langlands Park, 2pm
Fresh from a 50-18 thumping of the Central Comets, the Burleigh Bears will start hot favourites in this Langlands Park clash. Last week's win came at just the right time for Mark Gee's outfit, which has a host of teams right on its hammer in the intriguing race for top six spots. Easts are out of finals contention, but could be more than nuisance value with the likes of Denan Kemp and Lagi Setu named in the starting team. Bears fullback Nick Parfitt scored 28 points last weekend to eclipse 1300 career points in the Queensland Cup. But the real star for Burleigh at Browne Park last Saturday was talented hooker Riley Brown, who scored a try of his own and had a hand in a number of others in a scintillating performance. In the head-to-head stakes, the Bears have the better of the duel with Easts, winning 18 games compared to the Tigers' 11.
CENTRAL COMETS v NORTHERN PRIDE
Saturday, July 24 @ Browne Park, 7pm
Comets forward Alan Rothery's season has ended on a bitter note, with the big forward suspended for a total of 11 matches on three separate charges (reckless high tackle, striking and contrary conduct) following his team's loss to the Burleigh Bears at Browne Park last Saturday. The news on the judiciary front was much better for the Pride though after young five-eighth Ryan Stig took an early plea to a dangerous throw charge and avoided a one-match ban. Stig, who scored a classy try in the Pride's 22-16 win over the Mackay Cutters last weekend, partners Chris Sheppard in a halves combination that is getting better by the week. If, as expected, the Pride beat the Comets in Rockhampton, the Cairns club could be sitting in fifth spot with four games to play. Jason Roos plays his 50th Queensland Cup match for the Pride.
WYNNUM MANLY v MACKAY CUTTERS * Live on BAY FM
Sunday, July 25 @ BMD Kougari Oval, 2pm
Wynnum Manly has a big incentive to deliver a special performance in front of their home fans, with players involved in the club's remarkable 1975 season attending Sunday's blockbuster. The