The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Buoyed by the inclusion of Cowboys players Tariq Sims and Rory Kostjaysn, the Mackay Cutters will go in search of their first win of the season in Saturday’s home clash against the Central Capras. Sims and Kostjaysn have both been named on the bench for the Cutters but they should get plenty of minutes as they look to force their way back into the Cowboys’ NRL side. One player back in North Queensland’s 17 is lively hooker Anthony Mitchell, who played for the Cutters in last weekend’s heavy loss to the Northern Pride. Queensland Under 20s hooker Alex Elisala has been named in the No. 9 jersey and with the versatile Kostjaysn now added to the team, the Cutters have no shortage of playmaking options around the ruck. The Cutters have won their past five games against Central Queensland but the enthusiastic Capras will be gunning for their first win under new coach Jason Hetherington. The Capras have made two changes to the side which went down to the Sunshine Coast last weekend with winger Cooper Nobbs and prop John Clayton coming into the starting side. Central led the Sunshine Coast 16-6 at half-time last Saturday but were kept scoreless in the second half.
Burleigh coach Carl Briggs has named Danny Kerr at halfback in place of Todd Seymour, who has been suspended for one match and is also carrying an injury. Seymour accepted an early plea (Grade 1 striking) following his side’s derby game against the Tweed Heads Seagulls last weekend. However, the Bears will still have plenty of talent at their disposal with the strong contingent of Gold Coast Titans backing up again this week. The Northern Pride will also have an abundance of NRL experience in their side, with Cowboys contracted halfback Robert Lui looking to continue his bright start to the season. Lui performed well in the Pride’s 44-12 victory over Mackay Cutters last weekend, setting up a number of the Pride’s eight tries. Cowboys youngster Felise Kaufusi has been named to make his Intrust Super Cup debut for the club – while Kyle Feldt has also been rumoured to be a late addition. The Pride have the better of the head-to-head record, but Burleigh’s recent home form is encouraging with five wins from their last six matches at Pizzey Park.
QRL Media tips: Burleigh Bears by 6. While the Pride have started the season on fire; the Bears were not far off the win against Tweed and should be right in this one at home.
TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS v WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS
Piggabeen Sports, Sunday, March 24 - 3pm (QLD)
Referee: Nick Kalpakidis
Head to Head: Tweed 13 Wynnum 12
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #ISC #THSvWYN
Tweed Heads co-captain Matt King plays his 150th match for the Seagulls this weekend, with officials set to make a special presentation to the popular stalwart after the match at Seagulls Leagues Club. King has also played 40 matches for Souths Logan but his heart is clearly with the Seagulls who are calling on every ounce of his experience this year following Brad Davis’ retirement. King and Tweed teammate Beau Henry were both charged with Grade 1 striking during the week following last weekend’s fiery 26-20 victory over Burleigh. But both players accepted early guilty pleas and are free to play against the club’s 2011 grand final nemesis. Wynnum Manly are set to go into the Piggabeen match with an unchanged line-up. It has been an emotional period for everyone involved at Wynnum following coach Graham Murray’s health scare. Jon Buchanan is the interim head coach and he’ll have a big job on his hands this week as the defending premiers look to rebound from a physically and mentally draining clash against the Redcliffe Dolphins last week.
QRL Media tips: Tweed Heads by 6. There is no love lost between these two teams and it is always difficult to predict a winner. Tweed finally get a crack at Wynnum on their home patch after four consecutive trips to BMD Kougari Oval last year, so the Piggabeen factor alone might just be enough to tip the scales in favour of Tweed.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS v EASTS TIGERS
Dolphin Oval, Sunday, March 24 - 2pm
Referee: Michael Wise
Head to Head: Redcliffe 23 Easts 12 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #ISC #PHINSvTIGES
Both teams got their seasons off to flying starts last weekend – with an early rush of tries setting up big victories. While it would seem unlikely that either team would receive such a head-start this weekend; with the firepower available to each club, anything remains a possibility. The tries just keep on coming for Redcliffe winger Liam Georgetown, who has now scored at least one try in 18 consecutive matches for Redcliffe following his four-pointer against Wynnum Manly last weekend. The Dolphins will take an unchanged line-up into this match. However, key forward Nick Slyney has been named on the bench for the Brisbane Broncos and may be a chance of adding to his NRL tally. Ryan Pooley from the Melbourne Storm comes into the Tigers team on the wing, while other Storm recruits Tim Glasby and Kenny Bromwich will again take to the field in Easts colours. Travelling to Dolphin Oval has been a difficult proposition for most teams in recent times, including the Tigers who have not managed to win at the ground since 2006. They have suffered six losses and a draw since that time
QRL Media tips: Redcliffe Dolphins by 8. While the Tigers put on a good performance against the Magpies last weekend, beating Redcliffe at Redcliffe is a different story, especially when they are at full strength.
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES v NORTHS DEVILS
Davies Park, Sunday, March 24 - 3pm
Referee: Robert Gallacher
Head to Head: Norths 22 Souths Logan 11
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #ISC #SLMvDEVILS
Souths Logan skipper Phil Dennis plays his 150th Cup game on Sunday and he would love nothing more than to celebrate with a win against this week’s opposition the Devils. The Magpies have now gone 10 games without a win (although in that time they have secured two draws) and will be looking to break that run of outs in front of their home crowd. The Devils however will provide stiff competition and are coming off a strong win over the Ipswich Jets where their young forwards, including Dan Beasley and Chris McLean, were amongst the try-scorers. Following a week in the FOGS Cup competition, forward Sam Gardel returns to the Intrust Super Cup team and will start from the bench. Broncos back-rower Dunamis Lui has been named on an extended bench for Brisbane’s NRL side and may again re-join the Devils this weekend to further bolster their forward pack.
QRL Media tips: Souths Logan by 2. We’ll tip an upset here and back the Magpies to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at the hands of Easts in round 1.
SUNSHINE COAST SEA EAGLES v IPSWICH JETS
Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunday, March 24 - 4pm
Referee: Tim Rutherford
Head to Head: Ipswich 4 Sunshine Coast 3 Drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #ISC #SCSEvJETS
Former Melbourne Storm Under 20s player Jay Lobwein makes his debut for the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles in Sunday’s round two clash against the Jets. Lobwein comes into the side for Troy Mendham, who is nursing a broken nose. It is the only change made by coach Dave Cordwell following their impressive come-from-behind win over the Capras last Saturday night. The Sea Eagles trailed by 10 at half-time but were able to over-run the Capras in the round one encounter. Cordwell’s team now gets an ideal chance to start the season with a second-straight win at home against an Ipswich Jets outfit that struggled last weekend. The Jets had an afternoon to forget against the Devils in front of their home fans and will be eager to atone this Sunday. With Tom Guymer out injured, exciting Fassifern Bombers speedster Nemani Valekapa makes his Intrust Super Cup debut on the wing. Valekapa starred for the Bombers in last year’s Ipswich Rugby League grand final and is highly regarded by coaches Ben and Shane Walker, who enter their 50th match as Jets coaches with a record of 25 wins, six draws and 18 losses.
QRL Media tips: Ipswich Jets by 4. It might pay to forget the Jets went around last weekend. But they’ll need to rebound quickly otherwise they’ll be knocked over by a smart Sunshine Coast team.