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QRL Round 7 News & Connell & Meninga Cup Preview
EASTS TIGERS v CENTRAL COMETS
Langlands ParkSaturday, May 7 - 2pm* Live on ABC
This could have so easily been a game between two last-start winners - but unfortunately for the Easts Tigers, they will go into this game with yet another closely-fought loss to their name. Easts have now only won one game in their past 12 outings, with one drawn game against the Ipswich Jets in round 1 of this year. The Tigers played well last weekend, but were thwarted by Shannon Walker's magic to lose the game against the Tweed Heads Seagulls 18-12. The Comets however, played an equally close game, but an unexpected field goal mid-way through the second half from Nat Bowman proved the match-winner. The Comets held out a desperate Wynnum Manly Seagulls outfit to sing the team song for the first time this season. Both teams will be keen for the two points here to provide a vital kick-start to the season. In a big day of rugby league at Langlands Park, the Intrust Super Cup game will be played following the finals of both the Cyril Connell Cup and Mal Meninga Cup. The Connell Cup final will be played between the Easts Tigers and Central Comets teams, so there will be plenty of support for both young sides at the ground.
MACKAY CUTTERS v WYNNUM MANLY
Shark Park, Mackay Live call on BAY FM 100.3
Sunday, May 8 - 2pm
After a spirit-crushing 13-12 loss to the Comets last week, things do not get any easier for Wynnum Manly this weekend. The Seagulls will make the trip up to Mackay, and are likely to be without their strike player Shea Moylan, who has been named on the wing for the Brisbane Broncos. Despite playing in a team that is yet to record a win, Moylan earned his call-up with a number of eye-catching performances. However, Reece Blayney makes his return to the team and will partner Matt Seamark in the halves. The Cutters too will welcome back a key player, with Shannon Gallant named at fullback. Gallant last played in the Cutters' 36-12 win over the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles in round 2. Wynnum Manly prop forward Willie Scanlan will take to the field for his 50th game in the Queensland Cup, having previously played for Norths and Central. In the head-to-head stakes, Mackay have won four games while Wynnum has won two. Mackay sits in eighth spot with three wins from six starts but a win here could see Another Seibold's team climb into the top six.
NORTHERN PRIDE v REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS
Sunday, May 8 - 2pm
Perhaps shaping as the match of the round, injuries to key Dolphins players may conspire to rob this game of the full spectacle. Both teams are yet to be defeated this season, but Redcliffe will be without their first-choice halves, with both Joe Bond and Ryan Carr out of the clash. Bond will be replaced by Todd Murphy, who is the leading try scorer in FOGS Cup with seven under his belt. Dan Cross gets his second start at halfback with Carr still battling a hamstring injury. They may have been held to a draw in their last game, but the Northern Pride are still on the hunt for Queensland Cup records. They have equalled the record of the NQ Young Guns for the longest unbeaten run in the competition, and need a win or a draw here to re-write the record books. A number of players will be reaching milestones of their own, with Brett Anderson (Pride), Shane Tronc (Redcliffe) and Chris Farrell (Redcliffe) all playing their 50th Cup game.
NORTHS DEVILS v SUNSHINE COAST
Sunday, May 8 - 3pm
A slow start cost the Norths Devils dearly last week, with the Burleigh Bears holding them out to record a gutsy win. Norths will be back at home this weekend and will be hoping to jump out of the blocks early in this game against the Sea Eagles. Despite scoring one try in their 20-18 loss to the Bears, and having one disallowed by the video referee, Norths Devils winger Kieran English has been moved back to the FOGS Cup along with Dean Bannerman. Crowd favourite Gideon Mzembe, who came out of retirement earlier this year, and Kyle Connor are the new players in the Devils backline. Their seventh away game in a row, the Sunshine Coast will be looking to put on an improved showing this weekend. They young Sea Eagles surprised their opponents the Souths Logan Magpies early on in the game last weekend, and went into the break only trailing 22-16. However, they were blown away in the second half to fall to another heavy defeat. Halfback Nick Swan has been named in the 17, despite being under an injury cloud, as has Kane Richards. They will be without Callum Klein for up to a month with an ankle injury. Devils pair Mark Vaiao and Matt Smith will play their 50th Queensland Cup games for the team, with Vaiao playing his 80th overall.
SOUTHS LOGAN v IPSWICH JETS
Sunday, May 8 - 3pm
The Souths Logan Magpies will field arguably their strongest team this year, with Daniel Vidot, a member of Queensland's 25-man preliminary squad, named on the wing. Fellow Canberra Raiders Travis Waddell and David Milne have also been named in the 17 to take on the Jets. Despite also fielding a star-studded line-up last week, the Magpies were made to work hard in the first half against the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles, but showed their class to go on and record a big 62-24 win. Michael Picker scored 26 of those points; a Souths Logan Magpies Queensland Cup record. Lock Jarrad Kennedy's hat-trick last week was the 20th by a Magpie in the Cup competition, but still no player has been able to score four for the Magpies. The Jets have remained unchanged after having a week off following their dour 12-12 draw with the Northern Pride in week 1 of round 6. The Jets had the better of the Pride for parts of the game, but let them off the hook with a string of late errors. Jets skipper Keiron Lander (Toowoomba/NQ Young Guns/Mackay) will play his 50th Queensland Cup game. Head-to-head, Ipswich is just ahead of Souths Logan with 16 wins compared to the Magpies 14.
TWEED HEADS v BURLEIGH BEARS
Piggabeen Sports Complex
Sunday, May 8 - 3.30pm
The two southernmost teams in the competition will meet in their derby game at Piggabeen Sports Complex, with the Tweed Heads Seagulls keen to continue their unbeaten run in the competition so far. Last weekend, Gulls fullback Shannon Walker made his return from a four-game suspension count, scoring two brilliant tries, including a see-it-to-believe-it effort from deep within his own half. However, Tweed Heads may be without hooker Kayne Lawton, who has been called into the Titans squad. But they won't lose much in that position with coach Ben Anderson calling on the ever-reliable Tim Maccan to fill the void. It will be a difficult task for Burleigh to go away with the two points, given their immense effort last weekend to hold out the Norths Devils. The Bears held on for a 20-18 win, but were left with only two on the bench after they lost Kurt Sorensen (broken arm) and Brad Cross to a bad knee injury. This week, Burleigh will also be without Riley Brown, who has been named to replace Nathan Friend for the Titans. Brad Bennett and livewire Jamie Dowling are the new halves, with Dowling moving to five-eighth and Nick Parfitt going to fullback.