Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Brett Kelly has been ruled out of Wednesday's NSW v QLD Residents match in Sydney. Donald Malone moves from the wing to centre and will wear No. 3.
Daniel Ogden (Norths Devils) is the new winger, wearing No. 2.
QRL INTRUST SUPER CUP - ROUND 15 PREVIEW
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS v CENTRAL COMETS
Saturday, July 3 @ Dolphin Oval, 2pm* live on ABC TV
Without a player in the Queensland Residents team for first time since 1993, the Redcliffe Dolphins will be at full-strength for their home clash against the Comets. The Dolphins will start short-priced favourites to record their 10th win of the Intrust Super Cup season against the misfiring Comets. Central has been unable to repeat their dazzling 2009 form and it would take an extraordinary effort from the Rockhampton club to qualify for this year's top six. The Comets have cut former Queensland Residents centre Karl Johnson from its books. Johnson hopes to play with the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles for the remainder of season. Comets coach Wayne Barnett, who guided Country to an impressive win over City in last week's representative clash, will look to re-gather his team's focus for the do-or-die encounter. The Comets will be hoping a repeat of their last performance in front of the ABC TV cameras - a 30-6 thumping of Wynnum Manly.
EASTS TIGERS v SUNSHINE COAST
Saturday, July 3 @ Langlands Park, 2pm
Manly enforcer Joe Galuvao has been named to make his first appearance for the Sydney club's feeder side in this must-win clash. Galuvao is no stranger to the Queensland Cup, having played five games for Easts in 2007. The 106kg forward's inclusion provides a timely lift for a Sea Eagles outfit that will be missing representative players Darcy Lussick, Jamie Buhrer and Daly Cherry-Evans. The trio will be in camp with the Queensland Residents team being prepared for battle by Sunshine Coast coach Brandon Costin. Broncos flyer Denan Kemp has been named to play his second-straight match for Easts. The Tigers are coming off a confidence-boosting 30-22 victory over the Central Comets. The Langlands Park club would virtually have to win every game from here on in to be a chance of qualifying for the finals.
TWEED HEADS v NORTHERN PRIDE
Saturday, July 3 @ Ned Byrne Field, 2pm
Cowboys youngsters James Segeyaro and Aiden Day have been added to the Northern Pride bench as the Cairns club looks to the future. The Pride will also wind back the clock after naming veteran Rod Jensen on the bench for Saturday's clash against the dangerous Tweed Heads combination. Jensen retired after the Pride's grand final loss to the Sunshine Coast last year but he has recently made a return to the Cairns & District Rugby League with the Kangaroos club. His experience will be a vital asset to a Pride team that must win to keep its semi-final hopes alive. Halfback Chris Sheppard plays his 50th Queensland Cup match for the Pride. His duel with Tweed No. 7 Brad Davis should be one of the highlights of the round 15 clash. Davis was an unlucky omission from the Queensland Residents team and the former Titan will be keen for a big performance. Davis and his Tweed teammates will don yellow armbands to promote the Cancer Council's Call to Arms campaign.
IPSWICH JETS v BURLEIGH BEARS
Saturday, July 3 @ North Ipswich Reserve, 6pm
Titans star Esi Tonga is in line to play his comeback match after a long injury lay off. If given the green light today, Tonga will saddle up for the Jets in their round 15 clash against the Burleigh Bears. Although out of finals contention, the last-placed Jets have a big incentive to perform. The club's 1990 premiership-winning Colts team is attending the North Ipswich Reserve clash. The Jets are down on key personnel but they have been competitive at home all season and should provide stiff opposition for the Bears. With a three point buffer on its nearest challenger, sixth-placed Burleigh is well placed to play finals football for the first time since 2005. With in-form prop Dayne Weston unavailable due to representative commitments, the Bears will rely on Kale Burton and Martin Griese to take the side forward.
MACKAY CUTTERS v NORTHS DEVILS
Sunday, July 4 @ Mackay Juniors 3pm
Two teams destined for big things at the business end of the season cross paths in a July blockbuster. The Cutters have marched into fifth spot and a victory here would equal their best ever winning run of six games (2008-09). But they'll have to do it without noted speedster Donald Malone, who played his way into a Queensland Residents jumper last weekend. There is no shortage of pace and skill in the Cutters backline despite Malone's absence, with former Cowboy Josh Hannay named in the centres alongside North Queensland recruit Arana Taumata. The Devils also have a talented backline that will this week include excitement machine Joe Bond. Bond's season has been disrupted by injury but he now has a good opportunity to strike form ahead of the finals. The Cutters will wear red socks to help raise awareness for the Australian Red Cross Blood Service's Donate For Your State campaign.