Intrust Super Cup: Rd 18 preview

• TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS v NORTHS DEVILS
Saturday, 11 July at Jack Manski Oval, Townsville, 4pm
Referee: Nick Morel

With the North Queensland Cowboys having the bye weekend and resting Intrust Super Cup regulars in Glenn Hall and Robert Lui – both of whom played for the Cowboys last weekend – Saturday’s match against the 13th - placed Norths Devils shapes as a danger game for the all-conquering Blackhawks.

Three points clear on top of the competition ladder with 14 wins and just the two losses this season, the Blackhawks are coming off another big win last start, this time a 46-12 trouncing of Burleigh. Heading into the last third of the season and with the rest of the competition chasing, the team will be mindful of the high expectations upon them in their inaugural year.

Despite not having Lui, Hall, nor halve Ray Thompson – who made his return from a fractured cheekbone for the Cowboys last weekend – the Blackhawks will still have the services of winger Zac Santo, centre Kyle Feldt and backrower Kelepi Tanginoa. Santo and Feldt both scored tries against Burleigh last weekend, while Feldt was on song with the boot, kicking seven from eight conversion attempts.

Norths Devils are backing up from a heavy 40-16 loss to Wynnum Manly last start and have three wins, 12 losses and a draw from 16 matches this season.

• SOUTHS LOGAN v NORTHERN PRIDE
Saturday, 11 July at Tully Showgrounds, 5pm
Referee: Jarrod Cole

The Northern Pride (seventh place with nine wins, seven losses) are starting to find some consistent form at the business end of the season and would fancy their chances of notching a third straight win this weekend following impressive victories over top five team Easts Tigers (24-12) and Ipswich Jets (20-14) in their past two outings.

Saturday’s game against the Souths Logan Magpies (11th place with four wins, 11 losses) is being played in Tully, part of the Pride’s geographical footprint, and the Cairns-based team will be keen to put on a good showing for regional fans.

The Pride will be again slightly weakened by injury to their Cowboys contingent with centre Javid Bowen still out with a shoulder injury, but expected back for the Pride’s round 19 clash against the Tweed Heads Seagulls. Hard-working backrower Ben Spina will miss another week of footy due to a rib complaint, while Scott Bolton – who played for the Cowboys in their 18-12 round 17 National Rugby League win over St George Illawarra – will have the weekend off. 

Fullback Hezron Murgha returns to the field after a the week out with concussion, and will be joined in the Pride line-up by Cowboys squad mates in hooker Cameron King and frontrower Patrick Kaufusi, who travelled to Sydney with the Cowboys last weekend as the non-playing 18th man.

MACKAY CUTTERS (sixth place with nine wins, seven losses) have the bye for round 18