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REDCLIFFE v NORTHS Dolphin Oval, Saturday 2pm, August 20.
A grand stage has been set for Redcliffe warrior Troy Lindsay to become the first player in Queensland Wizard Cup history to register 200 games.
Lindsay?s milestone appearance will come in a live telecast, with the Dolphins needing a win to secure an elimination final at home against Toowoomba. Lindsay has received a phenomenal run of Players? Player awards in the last two months and looks primed to celebrate the special occasion in style.
The task of facing Norths is no easy one however, as the red-hot Devils are coming off eight wins in a row. Norths is also looking to win all three grades to secure its first Spotless Club Championship since 1974. A loss for them in any grade could potentially hand the coveted award to Burleigh.
While Redcliffe fights to protect fourth spot, Norths has an outside chance at the minor premiership, provided North Queensland and Burleigh lose matches in the final round. Although not named, Greg Inglis is also a chance of being crowned the Cup?s leading tryscorer of 2005. He currently has 17 tries to Simon Phillips? 18.
Injuries have claimed key forwards from both clubs. Redcliffe prop Adam Starr has a fractured eye socket, while regular Norths skipper Anthony Boyd has ankle woes. Dolphins centre Nick Emmett has been charged with a grade one dangerous throw, but will escape suspension with an early plea.
Leading contenders for the Qantas Player of the Year Award from Redcliffe are fullback Ryan Cullen and half Shane Perry. Also hoping to have their name read out on grand final day are Norths utility Inglis and hooker Nathan Friend.
Brett Suttor has been named referee for this vital clash.
REDCLIFFE: Ryan Cullen, Phil Shilvock, Greg Bourke, Nick Emmett, Liam Georgetown, Jamie Russo, Shane Perry ?, Nick Walker, Mick Roberts, Troy Lindsay, Grant Flugge, Danny Burke, Danny Green. Interchange: Wayne Bond, Shannon Fish, Matt Mapes, Damien Jentz.
NORTHS: Smith Samau, Josh Tatupu, Josh Graham, Ryan Shortland, Aaron Morgan, Brandon Costin, Marc Brentnall, Pat Gardner, Nathan Friend, Scott Anderson, Aaron Bulow, Peter Robinson, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Col Wilkie, Adam Blair, Rob Tanielu, Antonio Kaufusi. _______________________________________
The State League affiliates of Queensland?s two NRL sides are set to build on an already keen rivalry in Thuringowa this weekend.
Undefeated at home this season, North Queensland is the front-runner for the minor premiership, but has Burleigh and Norths breathing down its neck. Meanwhile, Toowoomba could possibly steal fourth spot with a win, gaining a home final.
Interest in the lead-up to this match will focus on the suspensions faced by Clydesdales pair Joe Clark and Sam Thaiday. Clark has been charged with a grade two intentional high tackle on Redcliffe?s Jamie Russo, bringing 487 demerits for an early plea or 650 for a guilty verdict. Thaiday is up on a grade two dangerous throw on Adam Starr that brings 243 for an early plea or 325 for a guilty finding.
In comparison, the Young Guns have lost Matt Scott, Jacob Lillyman and Neil Sweeney to NRL duty. However they receive handy trio Rod Jensen, Shane Tronc and David Faiumu in return, all of whom have played around 20 NRL games this season. The possible return of Josh Hannay could also bolster the finals newcomers.
One match after Toowoomba lost Stuart Kelly to a groin injury the club faces being without fellow playmaker Berrick Barnes, named on an extended Brisbane Broncos bench. That said, as many as three players could drop back from the Bronco squad.
North Queensland has elected not to select former Young Guns captain Leigh McWilliams for this match. Old teammate Derricke Watkins makes his first return to Golf Links Drive since leaving the Cowboys.
Cairns whistleblower Michael Inman will control the match.
NORTH QUEENSLAND: Jason Barsley, Rory Bromley, David Myles, Dean Payne, Charles Vis, Shane Muspratt, Brent McConnell, Jaiman Lowe, David Faiumu, Shane Tronc, Daniel Strickland ?, Micheal Luck, Rod Jensen. Interchange: Clint Amos, Scott Bolton, Gavin Cooper, Mark Dalle Cort.
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: Nick Meyers, Keiron Lander, Derricke Watkins, Ian Blake. ________________________________________
The bush meets the beach at Piggabeen Sporting Complex, with a clash of two sides tipped to be big improvers in 2006.
Both Tweed and Central have played without household names this season, but are tinkering with their development systems to promote future growth. As it stands, the Seagulls and Comets boast some of the largest local representation in the Cup.
The difference in results appears to be that Tweed?s Coast-bred contingent has led the charge, while Central?s young up-and-comers have been prepared to live in the shadows of imports such as Mark Henry and Herewini Rangi. Nevertheless, these clubs drew 30-all in their only other showdown this season.
Dale will receive a two-match ban unless he can prove himself not guilty of a dangerous throw. Haynes is also under scrutiny for a throw, but could miss suspension with an early plea. Meanwhile Herangi is most likely to incur a one-game ban for a careless high tackle in the 79th minute.
For his last game as Central coach Neale Crow will make several late adjustments, naming just 14 players in his initial side. Tweed Heads coach Steve Murphy has elevated prop Matt Briggs from the Northern Rivers competition to his interchange bench.
Leading contenders from these sides for the Qantas Player of the Year Award are Brad Davis, Andrew Moroney and Tom Prichard (Tweed Heads), as well as Henry and Rangi (Central). Clayton Sharpe will adjudicate these club?s final appearances for 2005.
TWEED HEADS: Nat Barnes, Nathan Small, David Strachan, Josh Vaughan, Damien Moar, Brad Davis, Tim Maccan, Tom Prichard, Matt King, Jeff Moate, Eddie Harrison, Andrew Moroney ?, Ben Hill. Interchange: Ben Quinlan, Ryan O?Connell, Jay Hampson, Matt Briggs.
CENTRAL: Clint Rothery, Trent McKinlay, Mark Henry, Tyron Haynes, Paul Albury, Mitch Wyatte, Adam Geddes, Kurt Cawdron, Herewini Rangi, Mick Esdale, John Bidgood, Toby Wallace, Trent Callaghan. Interchange: John Faupula, (three players to be added). _________________________________________
SOUTHS LOGAN v EASTS Davies Park, Sunday 3pm, August 21.
Matt Lockyer looks likely to score his 400th Queensland Wizard Cup point at his former haunt this weekend when he returns to Davies Park.
Still boasting the record for most points by a Magpie in the Cup (226), Lockyer has furthered that tally to 397 career points. Now plying his trade with neighbouring Easts, the Roma product overtook Central stalwart Graham White (395) last week and is one point behind Heath Egglestone on the all-time list.
The fact that Lockyer should face a career milestone against the Magpies fits nicely with an ongoing debate between the clubs over recruitment policies. Lockyer, Scott Alo, Trent Young, Scott Young and Aaron Lewis are all players to go from Davies to Langlands Park in the last few years. Similarly, Souths Logan signed both Jerry Ahern and Scott McLennan from Easts this season.
On the paddock, there are some mouth-watering match-ups to be enjoyed. Two exciting centres with strong links to the Wide Bay area, Bob Blair and Donald Malone, could possibly stand opposed. Forwards Stan Fau and Leigh Coghill are also among the best and biggest players the competition has to offer.
Easts hooker Steve Goodhew may also feel he has a point to prove against Magpie rake Scott Smith. Goodhew was let go by the North Queensland Cowboys last season, while Smith is signed with them for 2006. Both are celebrating their 21st birthdays this year.
Players to watch from this match for the Qantas Player of the Year are Fau and Smith of Souths Logan, while Coghill and Lockyer are polling well for Easts.
Justin Eastwood has been appointed to referee the local derby at West End.
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, (one player to be added).
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. _________________________________________
IT could all come down to this. After more than five months of fixtures, the last game before the finals may decide the minor premier, club champion and top tryscorer.
Having led at almost every turn this season, Burleigh must kick again in the home stretch and hope that North Queensland fades in its match with Toowoomba. The Bears are presently on 30 competition points, one in arrears of the Young Guns. If the Coast club is successful it will mark the third straight year it has claimed the minor premiership.
Losing could mean Burleigh will finish as low as third in State League, while it would also severely hamper the chances of snatching the Spotless Club Championship. Norths leads the championship by two points, but faces Redcliffe in three grades. Eight points are awarded for wins in the Queensland Wizard Cup, with six points each for the Mixwell Cup and Colts Challenge.
Wynnum won?t want to be forgotten in this equation either. The Seagulls could prove a point to critics this year by ending on equal wins and losses, provided they defeat the Bears. Their tussle with old rival Easts for fourth in the Club Championship is also worth noting. Wynnum has 216 points to Easts? 214 on current standings.
Seagulls Simon Phillips (18) and Damien Quinn (15) occupy two of the top four tryscorers? positions this year, while Trent Leis (14) and Balin Cupples (13) are nearby.
Having re-signed for three more seasons this week, Wynnum coach Neil Wharton will lock horns again with old adversary Rick Stone. Wharton won his last premiership against Stone?s Bears in 2003.
Completing a fine year in the middle, Rob Alexander will officiate the crunch match.
WYNNUM: Jimmy Ahmat, Dane Tworek, Damien Quinn, Simon Phillips, Herman Lafaele, Nathan Murphy, Jace Van Dijk ?, Danny McAllister, Royce Simms, Craig Greenhill, Gary Winter, Clayton Maher, John Bruce. Interchange: Eddie Hei Hei, Gareth Turton, Rodney Griffin, Brett McPherson.
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. Ipswich have the bye.
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