While the inexperienced Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles have been winning praise by opposition coaches for the way they have performed in the competition so far, there is no doubting they let a golden opportunity to record their maiden 2011 win slip last weekend. Out to a 22-0 lead early against the Mackay Cutters, the Sea Eagles imploded in the second half to be held scoreless and in the end were overrun 24-22. Although obviously disappointed with the result, the side will be more desperate than ever to atone for the loss and coach Adam Mogg is sure to have his improving squad primed for a big performance against the Jets. The Coast has found some genuine spark in attack, with electric fullback Hughie Stanley and hooker Robert Congoo particularly dangerous against the Cutters last weekend. The Jets though will be formidable opponents and will be full of confidence after they stunned the Burleigh Bears 40-4 last weekend. Ipswich scored a number of impressive tries in the win which saw them reclaim fourth spot on the ladder. In a boost for the club, prop Tyson Lofipo returns after serving a three week suspension, while Queensland Residents back-rower Lorenzo Maafu is free to play after having a dangerous throw charge downgraded at the judiciary last night.
NORTHERN PRIDE v EASTS TIGERS
Saturday, June 25 - 5.30pm
Former Newcastle Knights backrower Cory Paterson will make his debut for the Northern Pride this weekend when the side takes on the Easts Tigers. A mid-season signing for the North Queensland Cowboys, Paterson - who has 77 NRL games under his belt - makes his return to the field following a knee injury. Other changes to the Pride side keen to halt their recent run of losses sees Mark Dalle Cort move into the backline while Alex Starmer and an injured Davin Crampton are out. Pride have now lost three in a row, with their worst Queensland Cup run of losses being four in a row on three previous occasions. Easts, who saw themselves as unlucky to lose their close game against Redcliffe last weekend, will welcome back Anthony Boyd to the back-row for this important clash. Tigers coach Troy McCarthy will be looking for his team to maintain its composure and close out the game if they become locked in another tight tussle. But the Tigers will be given no leeway from the Pride, which should make for an entertaining contest. Pride utility Noel Underwood is set to run out for his 50th Queensland Cup game, all of which have been with the Northern Pride.
MACKAY CUTTERS v TWEED HEADS
Sunday, June 26 - 2pm
There is no denying the Cutters were fortunate to come away with a win last weekend after they let the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles get off to a 22-0 head start. While they fought back well to eventually win the game by two points, the Cutters are fully aware a similar start this weekend will not go unpunished. Hosting the undefeated Tweed Heads Seagulls, the home side have made the one major change with Isaak Ah Mau returning from Cowboys duty to the front row. One appealing factor to this game will be the battle of halfbacks Grant Rovelli (Cutters) and Brad Davis (Tweed Heads) who have both been named in the Queensland Residents team to take on NSW on Wednesday week. While they will be team-mates on the field for the State of Origin III curtain-raiser, it will be interesting to see which playmaker can steer their team to victory here. Tweed's current run of 13 wins on the trot is one game off the record for the longest unbeaten start to a season with Toowoomba having achieved 14 games unbeaten in 2001. However, this also included a draw in their 11th game.
NORTHS DEVILS v CENTRAL COMETS
Sunday, June 26 - 2.30pm
It is getting to that stage of the year where it can be said that the loser of this match can pretty much wave their finals hopes goodbye. Both teams sit on eight points with four wins to their name and a loss here will make it difficult for them to make up the difference against the other sides looking to claim the remaining places in the top six. The Comets were disappointed to lose their match against the Souths Logan Magpies last weekend, with only a goal separating them in their 12-10 loss. Seventeen-year-old Comets fullback Daniel Bartlett maintains his place in the team following his solid debut a fortnight ago. For the Devils, it was always going to be a tough ask to topple the undefeated Tweed Heads Seagulls, and it told in their 38-12 loss. However, one positive has been the form of Joel Bailey who has been elevated into the Intrust Super Cup side from the FOGS Colts team. Broncos team-mates Andrew McCullough and Ben Hunt will be forced to put their allegiances aside when they take to the field at Bishop Park for the opposing sides, with McCullough the starting hooker for Norths and Hunt named on the bench for the Comets.
SOUTHS LOGAN v WYNNUM MANLY
Sunday, June 26 - 3pm * Live call on BAY FM 100.3 www.bayfm.org.au
After their poor start to the season, the Wynnum Manly Seagulls are becoming one of the teams to watch after stringing together a number of impressive wins. They upset the Northern Pride 30-28 last weekend and will be looking to put together a repeat performance this weekend. Coach Paul Green has only made the one change to the team which fought back from a 16-0 deficit to record the win, with Kurtis Curry moving onto the bench for Luke Laban. Souths Logan too have been travelling well and hold sixth spot on the ladder following a number of good wins in recent weeks. Although it was a hard-fought wrestle with the Central Comets last week, last year's minor premiers did enough to stay in front and notch their seventh win of the season. This weekend, the Magpies will welcome the return of Phil Dennis to the field after a long absence with a hamstring injury and Canberra Raider Mark Ioane makes his comeback following a knee injury. In milestone news, Jason Moon plays his 50th Queensland Cup game for the Seagulls, having previously played for Toowoomba and Aspley. Souths Logan have won four of the past five clashes between the teams.