BURLEIGH v NORTHS Pizzey Park, Saturday 2pm, August 6.
Another bumper crowd is expected for Burleigh�s last home game of the year, with plenty at stake in a clash between two genuine premiership contenders.
Club pride will be at the forefront of the battle, with the Bears and Devils the leading candidates for this year�s Spotless Club Championship. Presently Burleigh is on 286 points, while Norths is on 262. The Bears tied for the title with Easts last year, but Norths has not won the Club Championship since 1974.
Points are allocated on a basis of eight points for Queensland Cup wins and six points each for the Mixwell grades. Therefore a maximum of 20 points will go to one club.
The form guide heading into this match shows Norths has won six State League games in succession, while Burleigh has won three in a row. Both sides topped 40 points last weekend and boast the top two attacking records in the competition. On the last occasion these sides met, a below-strength Norths fell 60-10 to the Bears.
In personnel changes, Burleigh forward James Griffiths is back from a virus and finds himself on a five-man bench. Norths� Peter Robinson has announced he will retire at the end of the season due to chronic knee injury. Meanwhile, former Burleigh premiership player Jason Webber has registered with Norths Juniors in the Brisbane Second Division.
Across the park there are plenty of key match-ups. City and Country hookers Nathan Friend and Ryan Gundry go head-to-head, with Gundry a former Devils player to boot. Meanwhile the fullbacks, Greg Inglis and Reggie Cressbrook, are respectively the leading tryscorer and pointscorer of season 2005.
Saturday�s clash will coincide with reunions of Burleigh�s 1995 Gold Coast Group 18 and 1985 Under 18s premiership teams. Michael Inman will be referee for the afternoon.
BURLEIGH: Reggie Cressbrook, Trent Purdon, Balin Cupples, Trent Leis, Aseri Laing, Adam Hayden, David Hicks, Ali Brown �, Ryan Gundry, Shane O�Flanagan, Martin Griese, Adam Hutchinson, Adrian Vowles. Interchange: James Griffiths, Scott Cooke, Nick Shaw, Robert Apanui, Jeremy Lateo (one to be omitted).
NORTHS: Greg Inglis, Josh Tatupu, Josh Graham, Ryan Shortland, Aaron Morgan, Col Wilkie, Marc Brentnall, Pat Gardner, Nathan Friend, Antonio Kaufusi, Jeremy Smith, Aaron Bulow, Anthony Boyd. Interchange: Peter Robinson, Scott Anderson, Rob Tanielu, Brandon Costin. ________________________________________________
EASTS v WYNNUM Langlands Park, Saturday 3pm, August 6.
Neighbouring rivals Easts and Wynnum have never needed an excuse to lift themselves for matches against one another. However, with both clubs under a curse this season and performing below expectation, the stakes have been upped another notch.
Just over 12 months ago the Tigers and Seagulls met at the same venue for the preliminary final, a match in which Steve Renouf scored three tries for Easts. The home side will hope genetics can recreate history, with Renouf�s nephew Donald Malone named in the centres. Malone featured for Toowoomba last season.
Several other changes have been made to the Easts side, with Rowan Graham and Aaron Kuskey the new halves. Graham and Kuskey have played predominantly in the forwards this season. Matt Lockyer moves from pivot to lock.
Wynnum has three players charged from last week�s win over Ipswich. Already undermanned, the Seagulls could lose veterans Clayton Maher (high tackle) and Jim Ahmat (dangerous throw). Simon Phillips (striking) will escape with an early guilty plea.
Although coach Neil Wharton didn�t think there was much in the Maher incident, he said �Monkey� was �facing the last games of his career and (is) obviously disappointed and frustrated at how the team has performed�. Maher is one of just two remaining players from the club�s 1995 Brisbane Rugby League premiership team.
Winger Phillips last week joined Greg Inglis as equal leading tryscorer in the competition on 16, with teammate Damien Quinn on 15 tries. Quinn needs just six points to draw level with former Easts maestro Scott Thorburn and enter the top five all-time scorers.
Despite earlier predictions that State of Origin star Paul Green would return for Wynnum this weekend, Wharton said it was �not worth it�. Brett Suttor will officiate the match.
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.
WYNNUM: Daniel Sorbello, Scott Marks, Jim Ahmat, Simon Phillips, Herman Lafaele, Damien Quinn, Jace Van Dijk �, Danny McAllister, Royce Simms, Craig Greenhill, Gary Winter, Clayton Maher, John Bruce. Interchange: Peter Penaia, Eddie Hei Hei, Rodney Griffin, Brett McPherson. ________________________________________________
SOUTHS LOGAN v TOOWOOMBA Brandon Park, Saturday 3pm, August 6.
Souths Logan chief Jim McLelland believes increased exposure and the continued support of ABC TV are behind Penrith�s interest in Magpie pair Bob Blair and Matt Bell.
Although neither has officially signed for the Panthers, it looks highly likely they will head to the foot of the Blue Mountains in 2006. Last year Penrith picked up Michael Gordon from Tweed Heads and John Flint from Burleigh.
While Blair has represented Queensland Residents, Bell has risen from virtual obscurity, having been plucked from Second Division club Brothers St Brendan�s two years ago. Both players scored in a recent televised game between Souths Logan and Tweed Heads.
Others from Souths Logan to attract interest have been Scott Smith (North Queensland), Daniel Joyce, Stan Fau and Graham Levu (all Canberra).
This week�s opponent Toowoomba will be mindful of an upset from the cellar dwellers, with the Clydesdales needing a win to secure fifth spot. At present the Brisbane Broncos� affiliate is vulnerable to a late challenge by Wynnum.
Returning from Junior Kiwis duties, Greg Eastwood has been relegated to the bench courtesy of Toowoomba�s strength in the outside backs. This is despite the loss of Scott Minto at NRL level. Tony Duggan needs just two tries to overtake Aaron Barba and enter the top 10 career tryscorers in the Queensland Cup, while teammate Nick Parfitt requires three tries.
The Clydesdales squad could again be strengthened late in the week by cast-offs from the Broncos, with Sam Thaiday and Neville Costigan once more in the frame. Michael Ryan has been named to return a hooker after several weeks off. Clayton Sharpe will referee the match at Brandon Park, home of Souths Juniors.
SOUTHS LOGAN: Eddie Dodd, Jacob Christie, Bob Blair, Tanu Wulf, Craig Chapman, Nathaniel Bowman, Cameron Joyce, Stan Fau, Scott Smith, Ashley Lanfranchi, Darren Glase �, Matt Bell, Jerry Ahern. Interchange: Joe Pitt, Marvin Alo, Daniel Joyce, Adrian Maloney.
TOOWOOMBA: Nick Parfitt, Tame Tupou, Steve Michaels, Michael Bond, Denan Kemp, Stuart Kelly, Ian Lacey, Nick Kenny, Michael Ryan, Anthony Seibold, Joe Clarke, Darren Mapp, Neale Wyatt. Interchange: Greg Eastwood, Tony Duggan, Derricke Watkins, Matt Lowe. ________________________________________________
CENTRAL v NORTH QLD Browne Park, Saturday 7pm, August 6.
After a week off with an elbow injury, former New Zealand A forward Kurt Cawdron has been named to return for Central in the northern derby.
Cawdron comes onto the bench in place of fellow Kiwi Aoterangi Herangi, with Grant Broadhurst and Mick Esdale the starting props. During his junior career Cawdron played representative football alongside the likes of Wairangi Koopu and David Vaealiki.
Last year Central was responsible for a massive upset over North Queensland in the corresponding game at Browne Park, winning 42-22. Unfortunately for the Comets, none of the players who scored for them that day remain with the club.
Indeed Rory Bromley, who posted a hat-trick in the aforementioned match, is now with the Young Guns. However, Bromley has not been named to appear this weekend, with Jason Barsley (groin) and Neil Sweeney (concussion) coming back for the visitors.
A video review of last week�s thriller between North Queensland and Tweed Heads has revealed centre Dean Payne was responsible for jolting the ball out of Josh Vaughan�s hands to deny a match-winning try. Payne chased 60m and came from the opposite side of the field to make the play. It was initially thought Vaughan had dropped the ball clean.
Returning to �home� this Saturday will be Matt Scott, a product of St Brendan�s Yeppoon, just outside Rockhampton. Scott has shifted back to Queensland Wizard Cup after the return of Carl Webb and Paul Rauhihi at NRL level.
A win to the Young Guns will assist their chances for the minor premiership, while Central is keen to avoid the wooden spoon. Referee for the match is Rob Alexander.
CENTRAL: Clint Rothery, Dallas Williams, Mark Henry, Tyron Haynes, Paul Albury, Mitch Wyatte, Adam Geddes, Grant Broadhurst, Herewini Rangi �, Mick Esdale, Todd Brandon, Andrew Dale, Matt Hill. Interchange: Toby Wallace, Kurt Cawdron, Trent Callaghan, John Bidgood.
NORTH QUEENSLAND: Jason Barsley, Brenton Bowen, David Myles, Dean Payne, Neil Sweeney, Shane Muspratt, Brent McConnell, Jaiman Lowe, Clint Amos, Matthew Scott, Daniel Strickland �, Micheal Luck, Jacob Lillyman. Interchange: Leigh McWilliams, Wallace Solomona, Scott Bolton, Gavin Cooper, Mark Dalle Cort (one to be omitted). ________________________________________________
TWEED HEADS v IPSWICH Piggabeen Complex, Sunday 3pm, August 7.
Of all the players to have recorded the most Queensland Wizard Cup appearances for their club, Tweed�s Eddie Harrison would perhaps be the least well-known.
Harrison plays his 60th State League match for the Seagulls this Sunday, meaning he has only missed two matches since the club was admitted in season 2003.
Previously, Harrison graduated from Palm Beach Currumbin and played Australian Schoolboys in the year 2000. The 111kg prop was joined in the Aussie Schoolboys by Joel Monaghan, Joven Clarke, Luke Dorn, Brett Firman and Anthony Quinn.
Five-eighth Brad Davis also played in the same junior representative side and, along with Tim Maccan, is the only other player to feature in all Tweed�s games this year.
Changes this week for the Seagulls see captain Andrew Moroney move to prop, while Selasi Berdie and Luke Kelly get a chance to start in the forwards. In his first game back from shoulder injury, hooker Matt King played 80 minutes last week.
Ipswich has welcomed the return of half Ricky Bird, pushing Steve West to the wing. Aaron Davey and Jonathon Muir drop out altogether, with Paul Cohen on the bench.
The Jets last week celebrated the Queensland Wizard Cup debut of teenage forward Daniel Fullarton and he has again been called upon to man the interchange. A carpenter, Daniel is a Norths Ipswich junior and younger brother of fellow Jet Cody Fullarton.
Justin Eastwood has been entrusted with the whistle at the Piggabeen Complex.
TWEED HEADS: Nat Barnes, Nathan Small, David Strachan, Josh Vaughan, Damien Moar, Brad Davis, Tim Maccan, Tom Prichard, Matt King, Andrew Moroney �, Luke Kelly, Selasi Berdie, Ben Hill. Interchange: Jeff Moate, Eddie Harrison, Kristin Green, Ben Quinlan, Ryan O�Connell, Jay Hampson (two to be omitted).
IPSWICH: Andy Poynter, Steven West, Geoff Chalk, Chris Scanlan, Luke Walker, Brendon Lindsay, Ricky Bird, Grant Young, Adam Boettcher, Walter Mackie, Steele Retchless, Matt McPhee, Danny Coburn �. Interchange: Bevan Heuir, Peter Savage, Daniel Fullarton, Paul Cohen.
Redcliffe have the bye.
Special thanks to the QRL website for another fantastic article.
To discuss the Queensland Rugby League with other fans please follow this link to League Unlimited's QRL forum.