AFTER eight rounds of the 2004 Queensland Cup the race for final five spots is intense with only three clubs precariously placed outside what might be termed the ?semi-final zone.?? Ipswich, Souths Logan and Brothers Valleys are at the foot of the Queensland Cup ladder and all three clubs need to turn their seasons around soon or they will playing for little more than pride. Easts are in fifth spot on 10 points, seven clear of Ipswich, eight clear of Souths Logan and nine clear of Brothers Valleys. That is a lot of ground to make up and only a supreme optimist would tip any of those three clubs to feature in the finals, particularly as they all face tough assignments this weekend. Ipswich play Easts at Langlands Park on Saturday; Souths Logan host North Queensland Young Guns at Davies Park on Sunday and Brothers Valleys are at home to Wynnum at O?Callaghan Park, Zillmere, also on Sunday. North Queensland are one win outside the top five while Wynnum is fourth on 11 points, trailing the Burleigh Bears on percentages. The Dolphins and Toowoomba head the competition table on 14 points with Redcliffe hosting Central Comets at Dolphin Oval on Sunday. The Comets, like North Queensland, are one win outside the top five. Toowoomba and Burleigh kick off the weekend at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night in the curtain-raiser to the Broncos ? Newcastle NRL clash. Toowoomba is coming off a hard fought 36-28 win over the Comets in Rockhampton while Burleigh also had to work overtime to beat Brothers Valleys 28-18 last Sunday. In the other match of round nine Norths host Tweed Heads at Bishop Park on Saturday in the ABC Television clash with both teams coming off disappointing losses. After winning their first three matches the Tweed boys have lost each subsequent clash and they are in danger of joining Ipswich, Souths Logan and Brothers Valleys in the Queensland Cup cellar. State of Origin fever will take a grip on Queensland this week with the XXXX Maroons team to be named at the Castlemaine lunch at Brisbane City Hall on Monday. For comprehensive coverage of rugby league in Queensland go to http://www.qrl.com.auLike
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