BURLEIGH v NORTH QLD Pizzey Park, Saturday July 29, 2pm *Live on ABC TV at 2pm Referee: Brett Suttor
THE STORY: If Burleigh is to somehow produce a miracle and fight its way back into finals contention, the Bears must start by beating the toughest team in the competition. North Queensland is bolstered by the inclusion of Brett Firman on the bench, while Burleigh is beset by injuries. Coach Jimmy Lenihan says Adam Hayden is unlikely to play again this season, with four more players also in doubt this weekend.
THE STAT: Despite being one of the competition�s most successful clubs, Burleigh has not won against North Queensland in their last seven battles. This includes the four times the clubs met in 2004 in a running duel for the Wizard Cup premiership. North Queensland won the grand final 36-6.
THE STAR: North Queensland prop Sam Faust was named one of the club�s best in last weekend�s 10-all draw with Easts. In 2002 he captained a Kirwan High side which included Sam Thaiday, Jacob Lillyman, Colin Wilkie, Dean Payne, Steve Goodhew, Phil Dennis, Drew Donovan and Simon Boyes � all of whom have played Wizard Cup or higher.
CHANGES: BURLEIGH � In: Trent Leis, Luke Mercer. Out: Matt Doeg, Chris Barnes. NORTH QLD � In: Ben Lowe, Brett Firman. Out: Justin Smith, Brady Payne. CHARGES: BURLEIGH � Jamie Russo (Grade 1 Offensive Language, Early Plea, 0wks + 56pts). Aseri Laing (Grade 1 Careless High Tackle, Early Plea, 0wks + 56pts).
Burleigh Bears Players: 1. Reggie CRESSBROOK 2. Trent PURDON 3. Trent LEIS 4. Jordan ATKINS 5. Aseri LAING 6. Jamie RUSSO 7. Clay HARRIS 13. Robert APANUI 12. Adam HUTCHISON 11. Martin GRIESE 10. Shane O'FLANAGAN 9. Ryan GUNDRY 8. Ali BROWN
Interchange: 14. James GRIFFITHS 15. Wayne PHILLIS 16. Luke MERCER 17. Marty MITCHELL
Coach: Jimmy LENIHAN
North Qld Young Guns Players: 1. Jason BARSLEY 2. Neil SWEENEY 3. Ty WILLIAMS 4. Jamie FRIZZO 5. Brenton BOWEN 6. Shane MUSPRATT 7. Brent McCONNELL 13. Ben LOWE 12. Scott BOLTON 11. Daniel STRICKLAND 10. Sam FAUST 9. Clint AMOS 8. Ray CASHMERE
Interchange: 14. Brett FIRMAN 15. Leigh COGHILL 16. Mark DALLE CORT 17. Jim ANDERSEN
Coach: Mick CRAWLEY
EASTS v TWEED HEADS Langlands Park, Saturday July 29, 3pm Referee: Michael Wise
THE STORY: This match could well be branded the �Battle For Fourth Spot�, with the winner from this encounter in the box seat to host the elimination final in a month�s time. There have been minimal changes to the respective line-ups from last weekend, as both teams enjoy good form. One player back from suspension is Tweed skipper Matt King.
THE STAT: Tweed Heads beat Easts 26-24 in a match-up earlier this season. On that occasion there was an air of controversy to the result, with Tigers half Luke Branighan ruled offside for a try which could have won the game.
THE STAR: Matt Lockyer may have relinquished the goal-kicking duties, but he still features on the Wizard Cup�s list of top scorers. With 433 career points he is just one conversion short of joining similarly skilled ball-player Scott Maguire, who retired with 435 points and ranks 13th all-time. North Queensland�s Brenton Bowen is 12th with 468 points.
CHANGES: EASTS � No announced changes. TWEED HEADS � In: Matt King. Out: Andrew Cross.
CHARGES: TWEED HEADS � Josh Vaughan (Grade 1 Careless High Tackle, Not Guilty).
Easts Tigers Players: 1. Kevin STEPHENSEN 2. John TAMANIKA 3. Mike HOBBS 4. Mark McKENZIE 5. David TYRRELL 6. Luke BRANIGHAN 7. David GEORGIOU 13. Matt LOCKYER (c) 12. Martin ALLEN 11. Mark CANTONI 10. Trevor EXTON 9. Jamie TOMLINSON 8. Scott SIPPLE
Interchange: 14. Cameron DURNFORD 15. Damian DURNFORD 16. Steve GOODHEW 17. Scott YOUNG
Coach: Michael BOOTH
Tweed Heads Players: 1. Ryan MILLIGAN 2. Nat BARNES 3. James WOOD 4. Josh VAUGHAN 5. Ryan O'CONNELL 6. Brad DAVIS 7. Paul ROLLS 13. Matt POW 12. Dean ALLEN 11. Tom PRICHARD 10. Roy FRIEND 9. Matt KING 8. Matt AUSTIN
Interchange: 14. Andrew MORONEY 15. Selasi BERDIE 16. Cory BOND 17. Josh PEACOCK
Coach: Steve MURPHY
THE STORY: Wynnum Manly�s penchant for rocking the apple cart in recent weeks stands as a threat to Toowoomba�s designs on second spot and even the minor premiership. Although the Seagulls lost 56-30 to Norths last weekend, statistics at one stage in the second half showed they had just seven sets in possession, compared to the Devils� 20. Toowoomba also had a loss last Saturday, going down 34-16 against Redcliffe.
THE STAT: Brett Seymour will play his fifth Wizard Cup game of the year on Saturday. He will see plenty of familiar faces in the Wynnum team. Simon Phillips and Josh Rovelli played for the same junior club, Mackay Souths, while Steve Irwin is an ex-Toowoomba teammate.
THE STAR: Amid last weekend�s loss to Norths, Seagull Tangi Ropati scored a late consolation try which showed great nous and agility. Ropati came to Wynnum at the behest of Brisbane Broncos assistant Ivan Henjack and is set to play at Kougari again in 2007. He is often identified as a danger player by opposition coaches.
CHANGES: WYNNUM MANLY - In: Simon Phillips, Jim Ahmat, Jim Baira. Out: Rodney Barba, Daniel Evans, Justin Loewe. TOOWOOMBA � In: Nick Parfitt, Brett Seymour, Jason Moon, Chris Muckert. Out: Todd Parnell, Joel Moon, Neville Costigan, Lynden Murphy.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls Players: 1. Tangi ROPATI 2. Simon PHILLIPS 3. Brian JELLICK 4. Steve IRWIN 5. Bill WYATT 6. Jim AHMAT 7. Albert TALIPEAU 13. Luke DALZIEL DON 12. Darren BAIN 11. John BRUCE 10. Sam CRABB 9. Zac CHISHOLM 8. Fili SOFA
Interchange: 14. Josh ROVELLI 15. Gary WINTER 16. Jim BAIRA 17. Kerry SMITH
Coach: Neil WHARTON
Toowoomba Clydesdales Players: 1. Nick PARFITT 2. Denan KEMP 3. Steve MICHAELS 4. Jason MOON 5. Gideon MZEMBE 6. Brett SEYMOUR 7. Ben GREEN 13. Derricke WATKINS 12. Chris MUCKERT 11. Sam THAIDAY 10. Ben HANNANT 9. Ian LACEY 8. Nick KENNY
Interchange: 14. Ben VAEAU 15. Joe CLARKE 16. John TE REO 17. Jamie SIMPSON
Coach: Mark GEE
REDCLIFFE v SOUTHS LOGAN Dolphin Oval, Sunday July 30, 3pm Referee: Gavin Morris
THE STORY: In a somewhat fitting sideline to the �Fibros v Silverfins� battle, Souths Logan chief executive Jim McClelland was this week forced to call Redcliffe coach Anthony Griffin after the Souths Logan clubhouse was broken into. The reason? Griffin remains the insurance broker for the Magpies, a club he coached until two seasons ago.
THE STAT: Troy Lindsay will equal Peter Leis� long-standing record of 261 first grade games for Redcliffe this weekend to add another feather to his cap in a wonderful career. Lindsay, Leis and fellow 200-games Trevor Benson and Tony Obst will hand the jerseys out to the Dolphins before the game. Lindsay is also the most-capped player in the Wizard Cup.
THE STAR: After initially being ruled out for the remainder of the season, Brandon Costin has put his hand up to play for the depleted Magpies. This will mark the first time he has played alongside Chris Sandow. Hooker Cameron Joyce is also back after knee and ankle injuries.
CHANGES: REDCLIFFE � In: Kaine Manihera. Out: Rory Bromley. SOUTHS LOGAN � In: Brandon Costin, Mase Laulu-Togagae, Cameron Joyce. Out: Toe Faaee, James Pritchard, Jerry Ahern.
CHARGES: REDCLIFFE � Danny Burke (Grade 1 Careless High Tackle, Guilty, 0wks + 75pts).
Redcliffe Dolphins Players: 1. Ryan CULLEN 2. Kaine MANIHERA 3. Greg BOURKE 4. Nick EMMETT 5. Chris GIUMELLI 6. Chris FOX 7. Marty TURNER 13. Gerard PARLE 12. Danny BURKE 11. Grant FLUGGE 10. Adam STARR 9. Michael ROBERTS 8. Troy LINDSAY
Interchange: 14. Nick WALKER 15. Mark SHIPWAY 16. Danny GREEN 17. Shannon FISH
Coach: Anthony GRIFFIN
Souths Logan Magpies Players: 1. Derek FLETCHER 2. Tyrone COPPEDGE 3. Mick ANSCHAU 4. Jason MITCHELL 5. Mase LAULU-TOGAGAE 6. Quentin LAULU-TOGAGAE 7. Chris SANDOW 13. Brandon COSTIN 12. Tanu WULF 11. Phil DENNIS 10. Josh GRIFFITH 9. Cameron JOYCE 8. Angus MARTIN
Interchange: 14. Stanley FAU 15. Chris McGURK 16. Shaun NIPPERESS 17. Damian WILLIS
Coach: Mark GLIDDON
NORTHS v IPSWICH Bishop Park, Sunday July 30, 3pm Referee: Justin Davis
THE STORY: Norths has the slimmest of finals hopes, but the Devils showed last weekend that if any side can come from nowhere to make the five it is them. Spurred by three tries each from Chris Walker and Steve Franciscus, the Devils scored 52 unanswered points against Wynnum. Ipswich will also want to finish the season strongly as it looks to get rid of the wooden spoon and attract coaching candidates for 2007.
THE STAT: Ipswich actually got the better of Norths the first time they met this year, winning 38-36 at QLD Group Stadium. Norths fielded its most inexperienced team of the season that day however, with seven players from Round 9 not playing first grade this weekend.
THE STAR: James Aubusson arrived at Norths this season to much fanfare and is now really starting to show his skill. The Junior Kangaroo is a clever organiser and tackles extremely hard for a �small� man, much in the same vein as Lincoln Withers. Forwards quickly learn he is not the man to direct traffic towards.
CHANGES: NORTHS � In: Chad Leach, Troy Hansen. Out: Aaron Morgan, Brendan Afitu. IPSWICH� In: Luke Walker, Ricky Bird, McKenna Gibson. Out: Josh Costello, Alan Petersen .
Norths Devils Players: 1. Smith SAMAU 2. Chad LEACH 3. Chris WALKER 4. Ryan SHORTLAND 5. Steve FRANCISCUS 6. Jackson NICOLAU 7. Isaac KAUFMANN 13. Matthew BARTLETT 12. Jamie FEENEY 11. Aaron BULOW 10. Jeffery LIMA 9. James AUBUSSON 8. Scott ANDERSON
Interchange: 14. Sam TAGATAESE 15. Will SCANLON 16. Trent HENRICK 17. Troy HANSEN
Coach: Wayne TRELEAVEN
Ipswich Jets Players: 1. Brendon MARSHALL 2. Ben McFADGEAN 3. Rickie DODD 4. Chris SCANLAN 5. Luke WALKER 6. Travis BAKER 7. Ricky BIRD 13. Danny COBURN 12. Joel REITHMULLER 11. Daniel FULLARTON 10. Isaak AH MAU 9. McKenna GIBSON 8. Cameron MULCAHY
Interchange: 14. Matt McPHEE 15. Mat CAMERON 16. Tyson LOFIPO 17. Aaron WERTH
Coach: Trevor GILLMEISTER
CENTRAL � Bye
CHARGES: Cheyenne Motu (Grade 1 Careless High Tackle, Early Plea, 0wks + 56pts)