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Northern Pride playmaker Sam Obst lines up against his former club in what promises to be a fascinating showdown in Cairns. The Obst name is synonymous with Redcliffe but on Saturday night Sam will be doing his bit to ensure the Pride maintains its standing at the top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder. The diminutive half/hooker played for Redcliffe in the 1999 grand final against Burleigh, while his father Tony enjoyed an illustrious career in the red and white as well. Providing the weather is fine, Pride officials are expecting their biggest crowd of the season to make its way through the Barlow Park gates. Many will come to watch Redcliffe skipper Petero Civoniceva, whose form for the Dolphins has been consistently good in the early rounds. The Dolphins have dropped a bombshell by leaving out Queensland Residents winger Liam Georgetown. The prolific scorer played 57 games straight in the top grade since returning from a fractured eye socket in late 2010, including a streak in which he scored at least one try in 19 consecutive matches. The match is Denan Kemp’s 50th Cup game. He withdrew last week due to illness.
QRL Media tips: Redcliffe Dolphins by 6. Incredibly, the Pride has won their past eight matches against Redcliffe. It’s a hoodoo the Dolphins will be eager to break, and their last start win over Souths Logan suggests they will give it a good shake.
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Sunday’s Channel 9 match will feature a classic showdown between two of the Brisbane Broncos emerging hookers – Kurt Baptiste (Norths Devils) and Jake Granville (Wynnum Manly). Baptiste has already had a taste of NRL, while Granville is still pushing to make his top grade debut. Both players can barely do much more in the Intrust Super Cup, with their consistent form underpinning the fortunes of their respective teams. The classy duo represented the Queensland Residents in last year’s interstate match against NSW and Sunday’s clash could have a major bearing on who claims the starting No. 9 jersey later this year. Wynnum Manly is coming off a 20-12 win over the Sunshine Coast, while the Devils had the bye in round 7. Before that, the Devils’ form has been patchy with three wins from six starts. However, a victory over the Seagulls will see Andrew Wynyard’s team join Wynnum Manly on 10 competition points. Sunday’s match will also mark the official re-opening of Bishop Park and the ground’s new dressing sheds. The celebrations cap off a big week for the Devils, who won the Cyril Connell Cup Under 16 competition last Sunday.
QRL Media tips: Norths Devils by 4. Wynnum Manly have won the past four games between these sides but the Devils have the firepower to get one back.
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CQ Capras coach Jason Hetherington has called on three debutants to help arrest an away game win drought that is pushing two years. Hetherington has called on young CQ products Mitch Ireland (front row) and Fletcher Jarrett (second row) to bolster his forward pack for the Langlands Park clash. Ireland has impressed Capras coaching staff with his commitment, attitude and work ethic at training and his dominant 80 minute performances in the local league for Rockhampton Brothers. Jarrett, a key member of the highly successful Villa Capri Capras U21 program, will get his opportunity to step up to the next level when he comes off the bench. In a real coup for the CQ Capras, former St. Brendan’s College product Dean Blackman has returned home from the Sydney Roosters to link with the club for the rest of the 2013 season. Simon Gregory also returns to the side in the back-row after missing the Ipswich game for personal reasons. For Easts, Dane Hogan is set to return in a match the Tigers must win to stay in touch with the top five. The Tigers have lost their past two matches by a combined tally of just five points. Storm contracted players Ben Hampton and Junior Sa’u will back up for the Tigers and should be better for last week’s run.
QRL Media tips: Easts Tigers by 8. The Tigers should be ready to pounce on the inexperienced Capras after letting two close games slip.
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Both sides are down on key personnel but this match still has plenty of appeal about it. Burleigh grabbed a valuable win last weekend over Easts and it was their blistering start that should have the Jets on notice. The Bears scored 22 unanswered points early in the first half to set up the much needed win. However, the Bears do have some injury concerns and the elevation of barnstorming prop Mark Ioane and classy hooker Sam Irwin to the Titans NRL team this week are significant losses. Ipswich also has more than its fair share of headaches with coaches Ben and Shane Walker forced to name hooker Michael Fisher at five-eighth as the replacement for Dane Phillips. Phillips (knee) is set to miss a large chunk of the season in a major blow for the Jets following last week’s 32-26 victory over the Capras. The Jets also won’t have the talents of boom winger Nemani Velakapa, who broke his ankle last weekend. Velekapa’s injury setback opens the door for speedster Tom Guymer to return on the left flank. Ipswich centre Donald Malone (61 tries) is edging closer to the club try scoring record of 64 held by Ricky Bird.
QRL Media tips: Burleigh Bears by 6. Carl Briggs’ Bears were super impressive last week, particularly in the first 40 minutes. The Bears are still smarting after their heavy recent loss at home to Souths Logan and will come out firing.
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Souths Logan prop Mat Pitman plays his 50th Cup game for the Magpies in this important round eight match. Pitman will need to be at his aggressive best against a Tweed pack that keeps on getting the job done each week. Souths Logan coach Mark Beaumont has made one change to his 17 with Mark Appleton coming onto the bench for Sam Gardel. Fifth-placed Tweed sits one point ahead of the Magpies heading into Sunday’s clash. Aaron Zimmerle’s team would have been positioned even further up the ladder had Brad Lees’ late conversion attempt snuck in against the Mackay Cutters last week. Instead, the ball thudded into the upright and the match finished in a 22-22 draw. However, it was still a positive result for the Seagulls, who had trailed 22-6 early in the second half. Tweed have won the past five games against Souths Logan and the Magpies have not beaten Tweed at Piggabeen since 2005.
QRL Media tips: Tweed Heads by 8. The Seagulls are travelling nicely at the moment and are always difficult to beat at Piggabeen.
Mackay Cutters (Bye)