QRL Intrust Super Cup Preview - Round 3
EASTS TIGERS v NORTHERN PRIDE
Langlands Park, Saturday 3pm
Referee: Robert Gallacher
Head to Head: Pride 6 Easts 2
Two of the unbeaten teams in the Intrust Super Cup meet in a fascinating showdown at Langlands Park. After years of letdowns, the Tigers finally look the real deal. Some punters may be leaving their assessment of the Tigers until after Saturday's clash against the Northern Pride, one of the main fancies in premiership betting. After all, the Pride has won its last three matches against Easts and is building nicely in 2012 after grinding out wins over the Ipswich Jets and Mackay Cutters. The Pride has named Cowboys contingent Kalifa Faifai Loa, Cory Paterson and Luke Harlen but all eyes will be on Hezron Murgha who plays his 50th Cup game. The Yarrabah product rarely turns in a bad performance for the northern heavyweights. Easts coach Troy McCarthy will run with the same 17 that came from behind to beat the Jets 15-14. Powerful lock forward Leon Panapa had another strong outing last weekend and he again looms as the danger man for the Tigers.
The mystery punter says: Easts by 4. It's been a long time since Easts have started a season in winning form so we'll go with them to make it three in a row.
SUNSHINE COAST v TWEED HEADS
Sunshine Coast Stadium, Saturday 3pm
Referee: Tim Rutherford
Head to Head: Tweed 4 Sunshine Coast 2
This time last year the Tweed Heads Seagulls had set the wheels in motion for a terrific season with two straight wins. Things haven't gone quite so smoothly so far this year with the an opening round loss to Wynnum Manly followed by last week's 12-12 draw with the Norths Devils. However, it's hardly time to panic and the star-studded Seagulls line-up is strongly favoured to get the points over the Sunshine Coast. Skilful back-rower Cody Nelson is set to return for the Seagulls after missing the Devils clash, while Blake Anderson holds his place in the team with Luke O'Dwyer moving into the Titans NRL squad for the weekend. While the Sea Eagles can't match the NRL star power of the Seagulls, the Sunshine Coast will field a talented outfit led by gifted playmaker Todd Murphy. The young Sea Eagles skipper produced an inspirational performance in last week's 35-22 win over Souths Logan.
The mystery punter says: Tweed Heads by 12. If conditions suit, there should be plenty of points in this one. Tweed is capable of scoring tries from anywhere and the Coast boys have plenty of talent in the backs as well.
MACKAY CUTTERS v NORTHS DEVILS
Virgin Australia Stadium, Saturday 6pm
Referee: Nick Kalpakidis
Head to Head: Norths 6 Mackay 3
Both teams will be eager to notch their first win of the season in what should be an intense round three clash in Mackay. Norths came close last week but had to settle for a draw against Tweed Heads. Mackay is coming off losses to Redcliffe and the Northern Pride but they were far from disgraced in both outings. There were signs last week that things could be just about to click for the Cutters, who boast one of the best halves pairings in the competition in Grant Rovelli and Michael Morgan. The pair will play behind a big forward pack that includes former Wests Tigers hard man Jason Schirnack and Cowboys Tyson Martin and Dane Hogan. The Devils have no shortage of star power as well, with the likes of Broncos contracted players Dunamis Lui, Brendon Gibb and Kurt Baptiste in their pack. Gibb has been in exceptional form in the opening two weeks of the competition.
The mystery punter says: Mackay Cutters by 2. Norths are certainly more than capable of notching their first win for new coach Craig Hodges. However, Mackay won't want to lose three in a row, particularly in front of their home fans.
CENTRAL CAPRAS v SOUTHS LOGAN
Marley Brown Oval, Gladstone - Saturday 6pm
Referee: Chris Anderson
Head to Head: Central 16 Souths Logan 13 Drawn 2
Souths Logan skipper Phil Dennis has been named to make his first appearance of the Intrust Super Cup season for the Magpies after off-season knee surgery. His return should take the heat off halves Ben Cronin and Dane Phillips. The Magpies lost their way against the Sunshine Coast last weekend but their chances weren't helped by the early loss of hooker Matt Duncan, the second No. 9 to go down in as many weeks following the loss of Cameron Joyce in round 1. Dean Shepherd slots into the hooking role this weekend for the team's must-win clash. The Magpies will need to be on their game with the Capras vowing to make amends for their heavy defeat to a red-hot Wynnum Manly team last weekend. Central slumped to its biggest loss in club history last week but passionate officials have gone on the front foot by publically calling on Central Queensland fans to stick with the rebuilding team and turn out in big numbers for the match in Gladstone. Saturday's match will be Mark Beaumont's 50th match as coach of the Magpies. He has an impressive record of 32 wins, one draw and 16 losses.
The mystery punter says: Souths Logan by 2. The Capras will come out breathing fire but the crafty Phil Dennis' return tips the scales Souths Logan's way ever so slightly.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS v IPSWICH JETS
Dolphin Oval, Sunday, 2.10pm* Live on Channel 9
Referee: Chris Butler
Head to Head: Redcliffe 23 Ipswich 10
Dolphin Oval welcomes the Channel 9 television cameras for the clash between two quality teams who represent cities steeped in rugby league history. Redcliffe and Ipswich have played out many enthralling contests in recent years and few Jets would have forgotten the stunning 20-19 win last year. In a remarkable finish to that match, Jets five-eighth Brendon Lindsay booted a penalty goal after the siren to snatch a miraculous win for his team. It was a particularly sweet moment for Lindsay, who played for the Jets in their 2002 Cup grand final loss to Redcliffe at the ground. But for now the spotlight is on the 2012 side, which has played well in the opening two weeks but has little to show for it. This weekend, they face the difficult task of claiming their first win against a Redcliffe Dolphins side that has impressed early. Redcliffe will quite rightly assume favouritism, particularly with the likes of Joe Bond and Luke Capewell in such devastating early form. Capewell, who scored 18 tries for the Jets last year, will come up against his former club for the first time since signing with the Broncos. Another new Dolphin, former Broncos and Cowboys forward Isaak Ah Mau, will also come up against his old club.
The mystery punter says: Redcliffe by 8. The Jets might have to wait another week for their first win but if it's anything like previous Redcliffe-Ipswich matches, it will be a game full of drama.
WYNNUM MANLY v BURLEIGH BEARS
BMD Kougari Oval, Sunday 3pm
Referee: Clayton Sharpe
Head to Head: Burleigh 14 Wynnum 11 Drawn 3
The Wynnum Manly Seagulls claim to have already relegated last week's record breaking win over the Capras to a distant memory as they prepare to take on the Burleigh Bears. While Wynnum showed class across the park in their game against the Central Queensland side, the Bears were disappointing in their 32-6 loss to Redcliffe. Burleigh coach Paul Bramley will be hoping his side can come out of the blocks early against a Wynnum side that have not skipped a beat since claiming the title last year. The Seagulls scored at more than a point a minute against the Capras last week but Burleigh's line will be much tougher to break this week. Impressive recruits Sean Loxley and Jacob Fauid will again spearhead the Seagulls' attack. Loxley has scored six tries in his first two outings for the defending premiers. The Bears may be without impressive half Aidan Sezer who will face the judiciary tonight after being charged with a grade two dangerous throw.
The mystery punter says: Wynnum Manly by 4. The Seagulls are in great touch and will again be hard to topple at home.