Intrust Super Cup: Rd 12 preview

NORTHERN PRIDE v BURLEIGH BEARS 
5.30pm, Saturday 17 May, Barlow Park
Referee: Tim Rutherford
Head to head: Pride 8, Burleigh 3, drawn 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #PRIDEvBEARS
Live stream: via Pride Live Tab https://www.facebook.com/northernpriderugbyleague

A mid-season change in direction will see Jim Lenihan return for his second stint as Bears head coach. 

Lenihan takes over from Carl Briggs, who parted ways with the Bears last week with a 5-5 record this year.

The responsibility is now with Lenihan to bring greater consistency to the club, and his task this weekend couldn’t possibly be any more daunting – the Bears will face a formidable Pride team coming off a rare loss.

Throw in the Pride’s home ground advantage at Barlow Park and it’s a tough first-up assignment for Lenihan.

But the former Dragons centre has plenty of experience behind him, having previously coached the Bears in 82 games between 2006 and 2009.

He has coached the same number of games as Ipswich’s Walker brothers, with 40 wins, three draws and 39 losses to his name.

Burleigh have won only one of the past eight games against the Pride, which is another concern for the visitors this weekend.

On the numbers front, Burleigh’s Khan Ahwang requires six more points to become the first player to notch 100 for the season.

In contrast, returning Pride fullback Hezron Murgha will be hoping to open his account in his first match back from knee surgery.

His return means the versatile Davin Crampton will start at lock, despite scoring one of the best individual tries of the season while playing fullback against the Tweed last weekend. 

Along with Murgha, their Cowboys contingent will include Kyle Feldt, Javid Bowen, Robert Lui, Ricky Thorby and Joel Riethmuller.

SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES v MACKAY CUTTERS
2pm, Sunday 18 May, Davies Park 
Referee: Michael Wise
Head to head: Souths Logan 9, Mackay 3     
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #SLMvMC
Live call: http://www.spreaker.com/user/crouchpauseengage

Such is the current state of the Intrust Super Cup ladder – these two strong teams sit in 10th and 11th place – but only two wins away from the current top five.

The Cutters have now recorded three wins from four games and have momentum, while the Magpies have lost three games in a row.

However, two of these have been by a margin of a try or less, and their round 10 18-10 loss against Ipswich was also a tight match, with the Jets getting away in the closing stages.

The Cutters have named an unchanged line up to the one that defeated the Falcons last weekend. 

Halfback Tom Rouse left the field early in that match, but has been given the all clear by the club to take his place in the side.

Cowboys front-rower Sam Hoare will play his 50th Cup game, all of which have been with the Cutters.

The Magpies have two changes, with Raiders Brenko Lee and Luke Bateman joining their side in place of Max Dudley and Josh Damen.

Magpies coach Josh Hannay’s previous experience coaching in the local Mackay competition also provides another interesting reference point for this match.