LADIES and gentlemen. We have a top five and they will take some displacing. That?s a big statement after only nine rounds ? not quite halfway into the competition ? but which team from the current top five is going to fall over before the semi-finals. Not competition leaders and 2002 grand finalists Ipswich you would think. And the two Seagulls, Wynnum and Tweed, only one point behind on 14 points are displaying a consistency of skill and purpose which suggests they will be there when the whips are cracking.
Toowoomba share fourth spot with premiers, Redcliffe on 13 points and with the talent available to Toowoomba through their association with the Broncos it is hard to imagine them dropping off the pace.
That leaves Redcliffe and it is true they have dropped back to the field somewhat and they could be vulnerable. The Dolphins provided a host of players to the Brisbane representative side which defeated Sydney 48-24 on Wednesday night, and they are sure to provide a big contingent for the City ? Country match on July 5 and that could knock them around a bit.
Similarly Toowoomba will be hit hard at State of Origin time with players called up to the NRL because the Broncos provide so many players to the Queensland cause.
So which clubs outside the five can gate-crash the party?
Certainly not Wests and Souths Logan who are on the bottom of the ladder, with Souths Logan achieving their first win of the season last week ? against the Panthers.
And you would have to say Norths and Central face too big a task with both clubs on four points, nine adrift of the five.
That leaves just Burleigh, Easts and North Queensland.
Burleigh (11) have the biggest injury list in the club?s history and they will do it tough, but they do have depth as evidenced by the performance of their A grade and Colts teams in the South East Division?s Mixwell Cup.
Easts (10) are in the reckoning, but their performance against Toowoomba last weekend when they were beaten 56-26 suggests they will be there to make up the numbers if they reach the finals.
North Queensland are only on eight points, but strangely they shape as the team most likely to challenge for the title if they happen to make the finals.
Rarely, if ever, has a team been on the receiving end of so many narrow losses and the Young Guns are due for a change of luck, maybe starting with Saturday?s match against Souths Logan at Davies Park.
But Souths Logan, led by Papua New Guinea international, Bruce Mamando, cannot be underestimated and they are capable of an upset.
The weekend kicks off with the ABC televised clash between Easts and Burleigh at Langlands Park, with both sides coming off a loss.
In the other Saturday match Central host Wests at Browne Park, Rockhampton under floodlights.
On Sunday there are three 3pm matches.
At Kougari Oval Wynnum host Ipswich in what shapes as the match of the round.
But almost as attractive is the Tweed Heads v Toowoomba match at Piggabeen. And the other match ? between Redcliffe and Norths at Dolphin Oval ? isn?t half bad either.
So enjoy your weekend of football and those supporting teams in the bottom half of the ladder ? get out there and try to get your lads into the top flight.
PHIL Gould has done NSW no favours with the amount of undue pressure he has placed of some of the key players for the Blues this year. Just look at Braith Anasta?s performance for the Broncos last night.
AUCKLAND'S home of rugby league may be saved from the bulldozer yet.
BRADFORD Bulls continued their charge to the top of Tetley's Rugby Super League and ended Leeds Rhinos' unbeaten run with a 48-22 win at Odsal on Friday night in front of a vocal 21784 crowd.
WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats are looking to gain their third successive victory when London Broncos visit Belle Vue on Sunday afternoon.
WARRINGTON Wolves hope to cement their place back into the top six when Castleford Tigers visit Wilderspool in Saturday's ESL encounter.
CASTLEFORD Tigers consolidated their position inside the top six of Tetley's Rugby Super League with a 32-16 defeat of Warrington Wolves.
The Tigers moved three points clear of the seventh placed Wolves with another solid performance to affirm their Play-Off ambitions and move above St Helens into fifth for at least 48 hours.
A good old fashioned mud bath at the SCG finally went in favour of the Dragons by 18-16 over the Rabbitohs.
MELBOURNE Storm has extended Parramatta?s losing streak to five matches by winning its second away game of the year following a hard-fought 12-10 victory at Parramatta Stadium tonight.
THE Melbourne Storm have won a drama charged match 12-10 against the Parramatta Eels at Parramatta Stadium this evening.
THE Penrith Panthers have beaten the Wests Tigers 26-4 in a dominant display at Campbelltown Stadium.
FORMER Balmain star Alan McMahon has passed away overnight, aged 48.
THE North Queensland Cowboys have proven themselves to worthy away winners by outclassing the Manly Sea Eagles 31-20 at Brookvale Oval this evening.
THE Cronulla Sharks have beaten the Newcaslte Knights 30-24 in sensational circumstances this evening.
FRIDAY Night Football saw the Video Referee make two big calls in two big games. One was right; the other left a lot to be desired.