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TOOWOOMBA v REDCLIFFE Clive Berghofer Stadium, Saturday 2pm, August 13.
Former State of Origin player Stuart Kelly will miss the ABC televised match of the round, fought out between two teams likely to meet in the first week of finals.
Kelly could be out for up to a month with a groin injury, meaning the Clydesdales would need to make the preliminary final for him to return. It is a big blow to the 29-year-old, who has spent the year adding direction to the club?s youth brigade. Only last week Kelly scored a try and helped steer the Clydesdales to a 52-14 win against Souths Logan. His replacement is teenager Greg Eastwood.
Toowoomba is also keeping a tight watch on the finals eligibility of several players ? namely key forwards Darren Mapp and Sam Thaiday. Under QRL rules players must feature in as many, if not more, games for their Queensland Wizard Cup club as for their NRL club to play in the finals.
Redcliffe has concerns of a different nature after last week?s bye. The Dolphins will be trying to get the best out of Jamie Russo, Nick Emmett, Greg Bourke and Adam Starr, with each of the quartet hampered by injury in recent times. Aggressive utility Russo has been absent the longest, due to a quadriceps injury suffered in Round 16.
Just two appearances away from creating history, Redcliffe prop Troy Lindsay will be hoping for a clean bill of health from this weekend. All things going well, Lindsay should become the first player to register 200 games in Queensland Wizard Cup history in the last round of the regular season.
While not as long in the tooth, Toowoomba pair Tony Duggan and Nick Parfitt are also creating history as they go. While Duggan broke into the top 10 career try scorers with a hat-trick last weekend, Parfitt became the ninth player to pass 500 career points.
Brett Suttor will be the referee for Saturday afternoon?s game.
TOOWOOMBA: Nick Parfitt, Tony Duggan, Steve Michaels, Michael Bond, Denan Kemp, Greg Eastwood, Ian Lacey, Nick Kenny, Michael Ryan, Anthony Seibold ?, Joe Clarke, Darren Mapp, Neale Wyatt. Interchange: Tame Tupou, Keiron Lander, Derricke Watkins, Ian Blake.
REDCLIFFE: Ryan Cullen, Phil Shilvock, Greg Bourke, Nick Emmett, Liam Georgetown, Jamie Russo, Shane Perry ?, Adam Starr, Mick Roberts, Troy Lindsay, Grant Flugge, Danny Burke, Danny Green. Interchange: Nick Walker, Shannon Fish, Matt Mapes, Damien Jentz.
A must win game for Burleigh if it is to keep its hopes of the minor premiership alive.
The Bears led the field home in both 2003 and ?04, but now need to win their last two matches and hope North Queensland loses its last remaining fixture against Toowoomba. From the side which was defeated 38-16 by Norths last week, the only announced changes are those forced by necessity.
Balin Cupples slides out to the wing to replace Trent Purdon (bicep), with Nick Shaw filling his role in the centres. Matt Doeg comes into hooker in place of Ryan Gundry (cork), with Scott Cooke the new man on the bench.
Unsurprisingly Easts has kept the same squad which came from 10-0 down to beat Wynnum 35-16 last Saturday. After winning five of their first six games this season, the Tigers have won just three in their last 12 appearances.
Easts has not beaten Burleigh in their last 11 showdowns, although the majority have been decided by a hair?s breadth. The Stones Corner mob led Burleigh 8-0 at halftime in their Round 11 match this year, only to lose 26-14.
Of course, the Tigers and Bears were opponents in last year?s extra time grand final thriller, with prop Shane O?Flanagan scoring the game-breaker in the 97th minute.
O?Flanagan has notched five tries in his last three matches, but would be gutted to know this week?s opponent Leigh Coghill has the upper hand over the course of the season. Bound for North Queensland, Coghill leads all front-rowers in 2005 with eight tries, compared to Flash?s seven.
Scheduled to referee this match is Rob Alexander.
EASTS: Michael Pearce, Steve Beattie, Shane Neumann, Donald Malone, Walter Imo, Aaron Kuskey, Rowan Graham, Dallas Hood ?, Steve Goodhew, Leigh Coghill, Mark Cantoni, Marty Allen, Matt Lockyer. Interchange: Scott Alo, Trevor Exton, Alec Fata, Matt Elley.
BURLEIGH: Reggie Cressbrook, Balin Cupples, Nick Shaw, Trent Leis, Aseri Laing, Adam Hayden, David Hicks, Ali Brown ?, Matt Doeg, Shane O?Flanagan, Martin Griese, Adam Hutchison, Adrian Vowles. Interchange: James Griffiths, Jeremy Lateo, Scott Cooke, Robert Apanui. _____________________________________________
CENTRAL v IPSWICH Browne Park, Saturday 7pm, August 13.
The Central Comets will look to avoid the wooden spoon and Ipswich will aim to end its season a high when the two evenly-matched sides clash at Browne Park.
Central has two games left and needs to either win them both or win one game and draw another if it is to have a chance of offloading the spoon to Souths Logan. The fixture against the Jets will also be their last home appearance of this season.
Meanwhile Ipswich played its last home game several weeks ago and finishes the season a week earlier than other clubs, courtesy of the bye in the final round.
When these sides met earlier this season the result was a 22-20 win to Ipswich at QLD Group Stadium. Over the history of the Queensland Wizard Cup the balance of the head-to-head equation is also with the Jets, boasting nine wins to Centrals? six.
Odds are Central won?t look to win this game off the boot. Not since Ian Dunemann potted a field goal in Round One of the 2000 season have the Comets posted a drop-goal. In comparison, Ipswich?s Brendon Lindsay has two this season.
The home side has young forward Trent Callaghan facing a careless high tackle charge and a dangerous throw charge, with the most likely scenario being a one-match ban. The incidents occurred one minute apart in last week?s 52-10 loss to North Queensland.
This weekend marks the grand finals in both the local Rockhampton and Gladstone leagues. With the Comets and Jets amid a rebuilding phase, key recruits are expected to be announced in the not too distant future.
Clayton Sharpe will referee Saturday night?s match on the Tropic of Capricorn.
CENTRAL: Clint Rothery, Trent McKinlay, Mark Henry, Tyron Haynes, Paul Albury, Adam Geddes, Aoterangi Herangi, Kurt Cawdron, Herewini Rangi, Mick Esdale, John Bidgood, Andrew Dale, Trent Callaghan. Interchange: Toby Wallace, Todd Brandon, John Faupula, Dallas Williams.
IPSWICH: Andy Poynter, Steven West, Geoff Chalk, Chris Scanlan, Luke Walker, Brendon Lindsay, Ricky Bird, Grant Young, Adam Boettcher, Walter Mackie, Steele Retchless, Matt McPhee, Danny Coburn ?. Interchange: Bevan Heuir, Peter Savage, Daniel Fullarton, Paul Cohen. ______________________________________________
WYNNUM v TWEED HEADS Kougari Oval, Sunday 3pm, August 14.
Wynnum coach Neil Wharton will play Old Mother Hubbard this week as he tries to replace lock John Bruce, fullback Daniel Sorbello and possibly prop Peter Penaia.
With the cupboard already bare for several weeks, the Baysiders will sound out even more lower graders to bolster the top squad. Bruce has attracted a one-match ban for a careless high tackle and Sorbello has suffered medial ligament damage. Meanwhile Penaia will face the judiciary tomorrow on an ungraded count of contrary conduct.
The lone saving grace is the return of veteran forward Clayton Maher from suspension.
Tweed Heads fared better in the video review process this week, however they too will be feeling frustrated after their season was officially ended. The southernmost team in the competition could still end on equal points with fifth-placed Toowoomba, but cannot outrank them.
Rules of the competition state that if teams are tied for position at the end of fixtures, ascendancy is determined by most wins. Tweed Heads has already experienced three draws this year and therefore falls behind in that department.
Back into the Tweed side comes speedster Ryan O?Connell, out for the past two games due to a neck injury. After injuring his wrist against Easts in Round 15, Jay Hampson returned against Ipswich last week.
Only recently promoted from the Northern Rivers competition, backrower Luke Kelly is out with an ankle injury. Captain Andrew Moroney (knee) has been named to play.
Justin Eastwood will carry the whistle for the battle of the Seagulls.
WYNNUM: Jimmy Ahmat, Scott Marks, Simon Phillips, Damien Quinn, Herman Lafaele, Nathan Murphy, Jace Van Dijk ?, Danny McAllister, Royce Simms, Craig Greenhill, Gary Winter, Clayton Maher, Gareth Turton. Interchange: Peter Penaia, Shaun Weatherall, Rodney Griffin, Brett McPherson.
TWEED HEADS: Nat Barnes, Nathan Small, David Strachan, Josh Vaughan, Damien Moar, Brad Davis, Tim Maccan, Tom Prichard, Matt King, Eddie Harrison, Selasi Berdie, Andrew Moroney ?, Ben Hill. Interchange: Jeff Moate, Ben Quinlan, Ryan O?Connell, Jay Hampson. ________________________________________________
NORTHS v SOUTHS LOGAN Bishop Park, Sunday 3pm, August 14.
Still holding designs on second spot and home ground advantage in the first week of finals, Norths will recall its darkest moment this season when it tackles South Logan.
Back in Round 11 the Devils fell to arguably the biggest upset of the year, with the Magpies scoring a 22-20 win via a Grant Lewis intercept on the buzzer.
Although the two sides are markedly different this time around - with Lewis among those omitted - supporters in both camps will remember the score.
Norths is coming off seven straight victories and looks much stronger than the first encounter thanks to the absence of representative fixtures. In saying that, forwards Peter Robinson and Antonio Kaufusi could be called up for NRL duty.
Souths Logan faces being without team linchpin Scott Smith after he was ordered to front the judiciary for a dangerous throw. Smith already has two prior similar offences this season and could earn as many as 254 demerit points and a two-week ban.
Greg Inglis has been named fullback again for Norths despite persistent ankle injury. The rangy talent is worth roughly 13 points per game in 2005. Half Marc Brentnall and backrower Aaron Bulow are the only Devils to feature in all games so far.
Souths Logan still has a job ahead of it to avoid the wooden spoon. The Magpies hold a three-point lead over last-placed Central with two matches each to play.
Michael Inman has been entrusted with refereeing duties at Bishop Park.
NORTHS: Greg Inglis, Josh Tatupu, Josh Graham, Ryan Shortland, Aaron Morgan, Col Wilkie, Marc Brentnall, Pat Gardner, Nathan Friend, Antonio Kaufusi, Jeremy Smith, Aaron Bulow, Anthony Boyd ?. Interchange: Peter Robinson, Scott Anderson, Rob Tanielu, Brandon Costin.
SOUTHS LOGAN: Eddie Dodd, Jacob Christie, Bob Blair, Matt Templeman, Nathaniel Bowman, Cameron Joyce, Craig Chapman, Stan Fau, Scott Smith, Ashley Lanfranchi, Darren Glase ?, Matt Bell, Jerry Ahern. Interchange: Marvin Alo, Shaun Nipperess, Daniel Joyce, TBA.
North Queensland have the bye.
Special thanks to the QRL website for another fantastic article.
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