A week out from the #NRL season kickoff, we look at the fantastic potential possessed across the Tas...
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SATURDAY MAY 8 Redcliffe Dolphins v Ipswich Jets, 2.10pm, Dolphin Oval ABC Televised match of the round...Redcliffe is coming off its first loss of the season, while Ipswich is coming off its first win?The Jets will be missing three-quarter Gordon Rattler who broke his collarbone in the 38-8 victory against Tweed Heads?However, long-time North Queensland Cowboy Kyle Warren is fit for the visitors despite some concern about his knee?Redcliffe coach Neil Wharton has tinkered with his forwards, sliding forward mainstays Danny Burke and Grant Flugge back to bench and promoting Nathan Sologinkin and Gavin Cooper to the starting 13?Nathan Black has been elevated from the Dolphins? Mixwell Cup side and will play the reserve hooker role usually filled by Matt Anderton?The rivalry between these two clubs has grown since a heated grand final in 2002, with Wharton predicting several weeks ago that Trevor Gillmeister?s Jets would lift in time to face his club?Since the Queensland Cup began in 1996 Ipswich has never won at Dolphin Oval, amounting to a string of 10 successive losses on the peninsula.
North Queensland Young Guns v Norths Devils, 5.30pm, Dairy Farmers Stadium. Will-of-the-wisp fullback Daniel Sorbello makes his comeback for the Young Guns after a horrendous start to the season?``The Freak?? or ``Freaky?? as he is often known, Sorbello injured his medial ligament in the first few minutes of the opening round against Central and has not played since...He made his NRL debut for North Queensland last season?As they stand on the ladder, Norths is in fifth spot, while the Young Guns are in eighth?After boasting Rodney Howe in their front row for two weeks, the Devils? props will be the talented, but far less experienced Rob Tanielu and Pat Gardner?Norths has three players ? Dustin Cooper, Cooper Cronk and Nathan Friend ? who have been named on an extended bench for NRL affiliate Melbourne?Norths gained four selections in the Queensland under-19s team that will play New South Wales under-19s before Origin I?Meanwhile North Queensland will provide two players.
Central Comets v Toowoomba Clydesdales, 7pm, Browne Park. Injuries to the Brisbane Broncos NRL side have severely affected the Toowoomba make-up?Most notably the Clydesdales have lost Carl Webb, Motu Tony, Michael Ryan and Neville Costigan, all of which gained promotion?Although some may be surprised by Minto?s selection in the forward pack, he has filled in there several times this season?There are a bevy of Central Queensland boys in the Toowoomba team including Minto, Neale Wyatt, Ian Lacey and Nick Kenny...Ashley Alberts lived in Rockhampton before joining Toowoomba and Nick Parfitt is from nearby Maryborough?While the equal-first Clydesdales are understrength, Central will typically carry a massive forward pack?Comets captain Terry Benson is still not back from injury, but forward Fili Sofa has recovered from a broken finger?Central have kept impressive rookie John Tamanika on the wing?Brisbane and Toowoomba both overlooked Tom Learoyd, who is struggling with persistent knee injury.
SUNDAY MAY 9 Wynnum Seagulls v Souths Logan Magpies, 3pm, Kougari Oval . Souths Logan has switched rising commodity Bob Blair to five-eighth, with Aaron Lewis promoted to lock?Oddly enough Lewis was named five-eighth for Queensland under-19s this week, creating a nice reunion of the Lewis surname and the Maroon number six?Souths has not won at Kougari Oval since May 1999, but did stage a 22-all draw with the Seagulls in 2000?Souths? Blair and Wynnum?s Gary Winter were the only players reported from the previous round, however both escaped suspension?The Seagulls welcome back vital forward Grant Wooden, but are still missing John Bruce, Cameron Durnford and Brett Seawright?Wynnum curiously carries a negative for-and-against record despite sitting fourth?The points differential increased to -26 after a 40-14 loss to Norths in round seven?Souths Logan is second last on the ladder.
Burleigh Bears v Brothers Valleys, 3pm, Pizzey Park. Burleigh enters this match looking for a fifth straight win, while Brothers Valleys will be aiming to avoid a seventh straight defeat?With surnames like Essex, Jentz, Bromilow and Shilvock, Brothers Valleys would be a Scrabble master?s dream and this week they?ve selected Carlos Mataroa to play halfback?Mataroa comes from New Zealand?s Bartercard Cup competition and made his Queensland Cup debut at centre earlier in the year?He has been a stand-out in Mixwell Cup through recent weeks and officials have rewarded him by letting him play his favoured position?The Blues are in the process of signing two Fijian players and have added Brad Thompson and Matt Griffin from Central?Currently holding up last spot, they are also expected to welcome back Josh McCartney, Clint Raven and James Ingram in coming weeks?Burleigh has recalled 2002?s leading try scorer Dan Kennedy to replace injured Mark Wilson (shoulder) on the wing.
Tweed Heads Seagulls v Easts Tigers,3pm, Piggabeen Complex. Queensland Residents prop Matt Ross has finally been cleared to make his return from a broken hand for Tweed?The Seagulls need his strong surges up front, having lost their last four games after winning their first three?Previously, Ross played for Easts?The Tigers themselves welcome back a valuable front rower in Scott Alo, while Leigh Coghill is also set to return in coming weeks?Easts is in sixth place at present, while Tweed is ninth?Last year?s match between these two teams at Piggabeen ended in a thriller, with Easts prevailing 36-34?Matt Lockyer was the hero on the day, scoring three tries and booting six goals?Despite having the feed, Tweed lost a scrum with a minute remaining, allowing Lockyer to score and then convert from out wide after the siren.