EASTS TIGERS v TOOWOOMBA CLYDESDALES, Langlands Park Saturday 2pm, July 23.
Leon Bott and Berrick Barnes in. Darren Smith and possibly Nick Parfitt out. Those are the late alterations to this Saturday?s televised Queensland Wizard Cup match.
Easts? decision earlier this week to name veteran Smith on the bench for a do-or-die match now appears justified, given he will play for the Brisbane Broncos against the Bulldogs in the NRL. It is the second time this season that Smith has missed out on playing against Toowoomba.
While the Tigers lose their most experienced player, Toowoomba could surrender their all-time leading pointscorer after fullback Nick Parfitt was put on standby for flu-ridden Karmichael Hunt. The trade-off isn?t all bad for the ?Dales however, with gun youngsters Bott and Barnes bolstering a side which hopes to maintain fifth spot. Forward Neale Wyatt is also free to play after successfully fighting a striking charge.
Easts has called in two-time grand finalist Scott Sipple to replace Smith. Fellow Tigers stalwart, the consistent Marty Allen, this week celebrates his 100th first grade game for the club. Standing at the opposite end of the spectrum, centre Shane Neumann (18 years, 12 days) is set to become the youngest Queensland Cup debutant for Easts. Smith (35y, 96d) was the oldest State League debutant in 2004.
One youngster who made a fine fist of his first Queensland Cup match last weekend was Toowoomba winger Denan Kemp. Plucked from St Michael?s Carrara, the former soccer prodigy scored a double on debut, having done the same for the Queensland Maroons Under 19s at Suncorp Stadium earlier this year. This week he keeps his spot ahead of the likes of Aaron Barba and Gideon Mzembe. Greg Eastwood is on Junior Kiwis duties.
Although youth has its benefits, the only person to have played all 15 fixture matches for Toowoomba this year is Anthony Seibold, the oldest member of the Clydesdales squad. Michael Inman is referee for a match that will have significant bearing on the finals.
EASTS: Michael Pearce, Steve Beattie, Shane Neumann, Rob Maller, Walter Imo, Matt Lockyer, Aaron Lewis, Dallas Hood ?, Rowan Graham, Leigh Coghill, Matt Elley, Marty Allen, Mark Cantoni. Interchange: Scott Alo, Trevor Exton, Scott Sipple, Steve Goodhew.
TOOWOOMBA: Nick Parfitt, Tame Tupou, Steve Michaels, Michael Bond, Denan Kemp, Stuart Kelly, Tony Duggan, Sam Thaiday, Michael Ryan, Anthony Seibold ?, Nick Kenny, Darren Mapp, Neale Wyatt. Interchange: Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Ian Lacey, Joe Clarke, Derricke Watkins, Leon Bott, Berrick Barnes (two to be omitted). ___________________________________________
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES v CENTRAL COMETS Hinricks Oval, Blackwater, Saturday 4pm, July 23.
The last time Souths went undefeated for more than two matches, their victims included the Port Moresby Vipers, Pine Rivers Brothers, the Sunshine Coast Falcons and the Mackay Sea Eagles
Indeed, way back in 1996 the Magpies lasted a stretch of eight Queensland Cup matches without a loss and went as far as the third week of finals. Oddly enough, during that run the only team Souths drew with was Logan City.
The lesson in history exemplifies how much a third straight win would mean to the Magpies when they take their game to Blackwater in the State?s Central Highlands.
That?s not to say the result will mean any less to Central, keen to avoid becoming the latest team to go through a season without a win. Of the five clubs to have previously achieved that distinction, four no longer contest the Cup.
Boasting one of the best supporter bases in the competition and forming a vital link in regional representation, it is unlikely Central would suffer the same fate however. The Rockhampton-based club is expected to announce its new coach on Friday, hopefully acting as a spur to the Comets? troops.
Central skipper and Country representative Mark Henry remains sidelined with a medial ligament injury, although there is hope he may return before the end of the season.
Meanwhile Souths Logan hooker Scott Smith is been successful in avoiding his third dangerous throw charge this year. He would have missed two matches if proven guilty.
Clayton Sharpe will be the referee for Saturday afternoon?s match.
SOUTHS LOGAN: Eddie Dodd, Jacob Christie, Bob Blair, Tanu Wulf, Craig Chapman, Nathaniel Bowman, Cameorn Joyce, Stan Fau, Scott Smith, Ashley Lanfranchi, Darren Glase ?, Matt Bell, Jerry Ahern. Interchange: Joe Pitt, Tee Levu, Daniel Joyce, Adrian Maloney.
CENTRAL: Clint Rothery, Trent McKinlay, Matt Hill, Tyron Haynes, Paul Albury, Mitch Wyatte, Adam Geddes, Kurt Cawdron, Herewini Rangi, Mick Esdale, Todd Brandon, Andrew Dale, Trent Callaghan. Interchange: Toby Wallace, John Faupula, Fili Sofa, John Bidgood. ___________________________________________
NORTH QLD YOUNG GUNS v IPSWICH JETS Dairy Farmers Stadium, Saturday 5.30pm, July 23.
A win for North Queensland will propel it to first place on the Queensland Cup ladder, given current leader Burleigh has the bye and cannot progress this weekend.
Since the Young Guns were readmitted to the State League in 2002 they have finished sixth, seventh and seventh, narrowly missing the finals each time. As the Townsville Stingers in 1998 they also finished seventh.
Several changes from last week?s team see Brett Firman, Jacob Lillyman, Josh Hannay and Micheal Luck out either through NRL duty or injury. Their replacements in an 18-man squad are Charles Vis, Leigh McWilliams, Matthew Scott, Wallace Solomona and James Andersen.
Prop Ben Lowe is on a high tackle charge from last week?s match against Wynnum, but will escape suspension regardless of his plea. Jason Barsley is still battling a groin injury.
Two members of the traveling Ipswich squad who are used to North Queensland conditions are Charters Towers boys Luke Walker and Bevan Heuir. Walker previously attracted attention from the Cowboys, but couldn?t get an opportunity with a stack of talented outside backs ahead of him.
One speedster who has come up trumps for the Young Guns this year is Dean Payne. From 11 matches Payne has nine tries, making him the most potent member of the team, placing him one ahead of captain Daniel Strickland.
When these teams met earlier in the year North Queensland prevailed by just two points. Defying current standings on the table, Ipswich leads the head-to-head battles 5-4.
Brett Suttor will officiate between the Young Guns and Jets.
NORTH QUEENSLAND: Rory Bromley, Brenton Bowen, David Myles, Dean Payne, Charles Vis, Shane Muspratt, Brent McConnell, Ben Lowe, Leigh McWilliams, Matthew Scott, Daniel Strickland ?, Mark Dalle Cort, Clint Amos. Interchange: Scott Bolton, Wallace Solomona, Gavin Cooper, Dean Limpus, James Andersen (one to be omitted).
IPSWICH: Andy Poynter, Steven West, Geoff Chalk, Jonathon Muir, Luke Walker, Brendon Lindsay, Ricky Bird, Grant Young, Adam Boettcher, Mat Cameron, Steele Retchless, Matt McPhee, Danny Coburn ?. Interchange: Bevan Heuir, Peter Savage, Walter Mackie, Allan Peterson. ___________________________________________
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS v TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS Dolphin Oval, Sunday 3pm, July 24.
Tweed Heads will fight charges against two of its players, heading into what may well be the club?s most important game of the season.
Placed one spot outside the top five, the Seagulls will have a monumental task to reach the finals should they lose on Sunday.
They have decided to contest dangerous throw charges against forwards Cory Bond and Eddie Harrison, arising from the 69th minute of last week?s shock loss to Souths Logan.
While there was a sense of despair from coach Steve Murphy after the defeat by the Magpies, Tweed has taken heart from several events. One was Norths? win against Toowoomba to keep the Seagulls in the hunt, while the other was the continuing form of the club?s lower grades.
Tweed?s ?seconds? grabbed sole lead of first place in the Northern Rivers competition last week after beating Murwillumbah 36-22. One player promoted is backrower Luke Kelly, scorer of two tries in the win against the Mustangs.
Redcliffe has made one change, dropping teenage playmaker Wayne Bond to Colts, however he may not play at all due to shoulder injury.
Danny Green moves to five-eighth, leaving the back row as Danny Burke, Grant Flugge and Duane O?Grady. With Matt Mapes returning from injury on the bench, the Dolphins boast a fearsome procession of forwards.
While Tweed aims to stay alive, Redcliffe still has designs on a top-three finish. Rob Alexander will have the whistle for the battle on the peninsula.
REDCLIFFE: Ryan Cullen, Phil Shilvock, Greg Bourke, Nick Emmett, Liam Georgetown, Danny Green, Shane Perry ?, Adam Starr, Mick Roberts, Troy Lindsay, Duane O?Grady, Danny Burke, Grant Flugge. Interchange: Nick Walker, Shannon Fish, Matt Mapes, Damien Jentz.
TWEED HEADS: Ryan O?Connell, Nat Barnes, Nathan Small, James Wood, Damien Moar, Brad Davis, Tim Maccan, Tom Prichard, Cory Bond, Eddie Harrison, Selasi Berdie, Andrew Moroney ?, Kristin Green. Interchange: Jeff Moate, Ben Quinlan, Josh Vaughan, Luke Kelly. ___________________________________________
NORTHS DEVILS v WYNNUM SEAGULLS Bishop Park, Sunday 3pm, July 24.
Norths can return an overdue favour to Wynnum this weekend, with a defeat all but ending the season for the Baysiders.
Last year the Devils had their campaign curtailed by Wynnum, losing the minor semi 36-18 after they lead 12-4. While coach Wayne Treleaven was not present and is unlikely to draw upon the event, Norths? players and supporters will certainly remember.
The way the ladder stands at present, Wynnum is three points outside fifth spot and has the worst points differential of the teams fighting for the last finals place.
Norths is holding third place by one point from Redcliffe, giving it two lives come the finals. The Devils are four points behind North Queensland for the right to host the first week of semis.
Both Norths and Wynnum have minor judiciary concerns. Forwards Pat Gardner and Danny McAllister are on grade one striking charges, but both could escape suspension with early pleas.
Although the Devils have not lost since June 4 and the Seagulls have not won since June 12, hooker Ronny Troutman will be doing his level best to fire up the underdogs in his long time coming 100th Queensland Wizard Cup appearance.
The duel between Troutman and the similarly tenacious Norths? rake Nathan Friend will be worth the price of admission alone, let alone the contest between two of the most uncompromising packs in the competition. Referee Justin Eastwood has been allocated the match at Bishop Park.
NORTHS: Quentin Laulu-Togagae, Josh Tatupu, Josh Graham, Ryan Shortland, Aaron Morgan, Marc Brentnall, Luke Millwood, Pat Gardner, Nathan Friend, Antonio Kaufusi, Jeremy Smith, Aaron Bulow, Anthony Boyd. Interchange: Peter Robinson, Scott Anderson, Rob Tanielu, Col Wilkie.
WYNNUM: Daniel Sorbello, Simon Phillips, Jimmy Ahmat, Damien Quinn, Michael Rose, Nathan Murphy, Jace Van Dijk ?, Danny McAllister, Ron Troutman, Craig Greenhill, Gary Winter, Darren Bain, John Bruce. Interchange: Peter Penaia, Clayton Maher, Rodney Griffin, Royce Simms. ___________________________________________ Burleigh Bears have the bye. ___________________________________________
Special thanks to the QRL website for another fantastic article.
To discuss the Queensland Rugby League with other fans please follow this link to League Unlimited's QRL forum.