TRANS-TASMAN PREVIEWS | We've got a look over and made our picks for the opening night of the rep ro...
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BURLEIGH v EASTS Pizzey Park, 2pm Saturday, May 28.
It took 97 minutes of intense combat to separate Burleigh and Easts in the 2004 grand final. In the major semi the score was 17-16. Before that, their last match finished 36-34.
If there?s one thing the Bears and Tigers know how to do, it?s put on a spectacle.
This time around the clubs meet amid varying circumstances. Burleigh has obliterated NRL feeder clubs Norths and Toowoomba back-to-back, while Easts has lost three games in succession, dropping from first to sixth.
Officially neither team has announced any changes from Round 10, although Nick Shaw (picture) made a late comeback from injury last week for Burleigh.
The Bears have the best of both worlds, with four of the top 10 try-scorers this season coming from Burleigh. The Coast club also has the best defensive record by far, conceding less than 17 points per game.
Last season there was only one player in the top 10 tryscorers who wasn?t an outside back ? former Bear Brent McConnell. This year Adam Hayden holds the same distinction.
Easts may not be having the same luck with statistical milestones, however the success of their past personnel hasn?t gone unnoticed. From last year?s grand final team Dane Campbell, Dallas McIlwain, Charlie Tonga, Trent Young and Darren Smith have played NRL this season. Jason Barsley is on stand-by for the Cowboys this Friday.
Fittingly, ?Woorabinda Wiz? Reggie Cressbrook (96pts) is poised to become the first player to break 100 points in the Wizard Cup this season. Michael Inman is the referee for the televised match of the round.
BURLEIGH: Reggie Cressbrook, Trent Purdon, Balin Cupples, Trent Leis, Aseri Laing, Adam Hayden, David Hicks, Ali Brown ?, Ryan Gundry, Shane O?Flanagan, Martin Griese, Adam Hutchinson, Adrian Vowles. Interchange: James Griffiths, Scott Cooke, Nick Shaw, Robert Apanui.
EASTS: Matt Lockyer, Steve Beattie, Nigel Roy, Rob Maller, Walter Imo, Brandon Costin, Jason Connors, Dallas Hood, Steve Goodhew, Trevor Exton, Mark Cantoni, Marty Allen, Darren Smith ?. Interchange: Dean Howard, Scott Sipple, Rowan Graham, Scott Young. _______________________________________________
IPSWICH v CENTRAL QLD Group Stadium, 6pm Saturday, May 28.
Last year Central finished the season one point higher than Ipswich on the table, but this year the Jets have snuck their nose in front by a similar margin.
Both teams have lost seven of their nine games played thus far in 2005, although Ipswich has a win and a draw, while Central has two draws to its name.
The gap in points differential is where the real ascendancy is formed. Ipswich stands at -66, while Central is on -220.
Ipswich derived great pleasure from the debut of local Fassifern junior Paul Jackwitz in last week?s 24-22 loss against Tweed Heads. The young prop made his debut in front of a bumper Ipswich crowd of 8000, but has not been officially named this week due to the return of Marcus Jensen (pictured).
Central has tinkered with its squad, which last played two weeks ago in a 56-14 loss to North Queensland.
Impressive Rockhampton Brothers forward Grant Broadhurst looks to have cemented himself a place with the Comets and has been shifted to prop this week, with Todd Brandon returning in the back row.
Meanwhile, Fili Sofa is out with an abdominal strain and the Comets have added Toby Wallce, John Bidgood and Jade Wogand to a 14-man squad announced earlier this week.
While this season has been a tough one for the Browne Park club, it may be worth noting that this year marks 10 years since Rockhampton won the old State League, a precursor to the Queensland Cup. Michael Wise will be the referee for Saturday night?s game.
IPSWICH: Andy Poynter, Steven West, Geoff Chalk, Jonathon Muir, Luke Walker, Brendon Lindsay, Ricky Bird, Grant Young, Adam Boettcher, Mat Cameron, Steele Retchless, Matthew McPhee, Danny Coburn ?. Interchange: Bevan Heuir, Shannon Cameron, Marcus Jensen, Todd Riggs.
CENTRAL: Mark Henry, Trent McKinlay, Matt Hill, Dallas Williams, Clint Rothery, Mitch Wyatte, Aoterangi Herangi, Kurt Cawdron, Mick Esdale, Grant Broadhurst, Todd Brandon, Herewini Rangi, David Nixon. Interchange: Kane Hardy, Toby Wallace, John Bidgood, Jade Wogand. _______________________________________________
A loss could drop either of these clubs out of the top five and destroy their respective coaches? search for continuity.
Redcliffe has not played since March 8, but after a slow start, could secure its fourth victory in succession with a win. Conversely, Toowoomba will seek back-to-back wins in a season where it has not won more than two games in a row.
Minus suspended prop Adam Starr, Redcliffe has named Nick Walker at prop, while Luke Tonion and Damien Jentz (pictured) are new faces on the bench.
Jentz will be familiar to those who followed Brothers Valleys? fortunes last year, while Tonion is from the mining outpost of Moranbah. Previously, Tonion won a Colts grand final with Wests in 2002.
Toowoomba officials were nicknaming Derricke Watkins ?Pearl? after a Renouf-esque hat-trick against Souths Logan last week. This time around he is back in the pack at lock.
From last week?s team Sam Thaiday, Dane Carlaw and Darren Mapp have been named for NRL duty. Their replacements are Ben Vaeau, Matt Lowe and Ian Blake.
With Joe Clarke (ankle) out of the side, the centres are Steve Michaels and Michael Bond, while Berrick Barnes and Stu Kelly are back in the halves.
Referee for the big clash at Dolphin Oval is Rob Alexander.
REDCLIFFE: Ryan Cullen, Phil Shilvock, Greg Bourke, Jamie Russo, Chris Giumelli, Shane Perry, Michael Roberts, Troy Lindsay, Shannon Fish, Nick Walker, Matt Mapes, Danny Burke, Grant Flugge. Interchange: Luke Tonion, Gerard Parle, Duane O?Grady, Damien Jentz.
TOOWOOMBA: Nick Parfitt, Tame Tupou, Steve Michaels, Michael Bond, Tony Duggan, Stuart Kelly, Berrick Barnes, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Michael Ryan, Anthony Seibold, Nick Kenny, Neale Wyatt, Derricke Watkins. Interchange: Ben Vaeau, Ian Lacey, Ian Blake, Matt Lowe. _______________________________________________
SOUTHS LOGAN v NORTHS Davies Park, 3pm Sunday, May 29.
Winless Souths Logan played a Toowoomba team full of NRL talent last week, but surprisingly they meet a team this week coming off a bigger loss.
Norths? 60-10 hiding at the hands of Burleigh was an unexpected result from the top-of-the-table clash, even with the Devils below full strength. Throughout the 10-year history of the Queensland Cup, it ranks as Norths? largest ever defeat.
The form guide says Norths are likely to rebound however, with the Devils winning 12 of 16 matches against the Magpies since 1996. Last year, the Devils scored a combined 102 points from two games against Souths Logan, while conceding a total of just 30.
The shining light for Souths Logan in recent times has been the success of its juniors, with 17-year-old Graham Levu enjoying a great Wizard Cup debut last week. Levu made a tackle on Dane Carlaw which jolted the ball free, boosting his confidence immeasurably.
Furthermore, former Logan Brothers product William Zillman represented Queensland Under 19s this week, while three Souths Logan kids played a part in Canberra?s SG Ball triumph.
Sika Manu is also listed, having scored in his first State League appearance last week.
SOUTHS LOGAN: Eddie Dodd, Nathaniel Bowman, Jacob Christie, Bob Blair, Matt Templeman, Cameron Joyce, Nathan Roe, Stan Fau, Scott Smith, Ashley Lanfranchi, Darren Glase ?, Matt Bell, Marvin Alo. Interchange: Graham Levu, Grant Lewis, Jim Baira, Andrew Anderson.
NORTHS: Quentin Laulu-Togagae, Aaron Morgan, Josh Tatupu, Ryan Shortland, Chad Leach, Jeremiah Pai, Marc Brentnall, Pat Gardner, Nathan Friend, Antonio Kaufusi, Aaron Bulow, Jeremy Smith, Anthony Boyd. Interchange: Brent Mulholland, Rob Tanielu, Adam Blair, Sika Manu. _______________________________________________
All signs point to a close game at Piggabeen, where even the nicknames can?t be split.
The ?Battle of the Seagulls?, as it has been coined, will see the eighth-ranked Tweed host seventh-placed Wynnum, both coming off encouraging wins.
Last year?s matches between the two clubs delivered a win apiece, with both games won by the home team by less than two converted tries.
This year Wynnum has a points differential of +7, while Tweed carries a margin of +2.
Extra interest could have been added to the clash in 2005 by the defections of Marty Stone and Grant Stuart to Wynnum, however both have since retired.
The visiting mob from Kougari have surprisingly named Jace Van Dijk at halfback, despite him injuring an ankle against Easts last week.
Pocket rockets Caleb McEniery and Brett McPherson are on a bench that will be hard to balance, with 125kg Peter Penaia (pictured) sitting at the other end.
Tweed meanwhile, has named both Matt King and Cory Bond, both of who were under injury clouds.
Justin Eastwood will officiate the match.
TWEED HEADS: Ryan O?Connell, Nat Barnes, David Strachan, James Wood, Nathan Small, Brad Davis, Tim Maccan, Tom Prichard, Matt King, Eddie Harrison, Selasi Berdie, Andrew Moroney, Ben Hill. Interchange: Luke Kelly, Jay Hampson, Josh Vaughan, Cory Bond.
WYNNUM: Daniel Sorbello, Simon Phillips, Jimmy Ahmat, Damien Quinn, Michael Anschau, Nathan Murphy, Jace Van Dijk ?, Danny McAllister, Royce Simms, Craig Greenhill, Gary Winter, Clayton Maher, John Bruce. Interchange: Peter Penaia, Gareth Turton, Caleb McEniery, Brett McPherson. _______________________________________________
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