Intrust Super Cup Round 5 preview
A top-five clash and a host of other mouth-watering matches headline an 'egg-citing' Easter long weekend in Round 5 of the Intrust Super Cup.
It all starts on Saturday afternoon with the headlining bout between the table-topping Townsville Blackhawks and fifth-placed Wynnum Many Seagulls at Jack Manski Oval in Townsville.
Both sides have only lost one game this season and judging by their early season form there's every chance they could meet come finals time in September.
The Blackhawks are on a high after their 50-12 thumping of Central Queensland with back-rower Rhyse Martin coming off four tries and 174 metres against the Capras.
Ipswich are also coming off a comfortable 36-10 win over the Sunshine Coast Falcons as they look ahead to their clash against defending premiers Northern Pride at North Ipswich Reserve.
The Pride are winless so far in 2015 after having to deal with an exodus of players during the off-season with former Pride and Cowboys' winger Ty Williams telling The Cairns Post during the week that patience is the key and the club will eventually click into gear.
Saturday's final fixture sees 2013 premiers Mackay Cutters (third place) host Norths Devils (11th) with the visitors receiving a boost with the inclusion of veteran Todd Lowrie after the back-rower missed their past two games due to suspension and Broncos duties.
Sunday's TV game between Easts Tigers (10th) and Souths Logan Magpies (eighth) at Langlands Park will provide both teams a chance to keep in touch with the top five.
Level on four competition points with a similar points differential, the Tigers will go into the match as favourites by virtue of the NRL-affiliated talent they have in their side.
Melbourne Storm players Matt Duffie, Cameron Munster, Mahe Fonua and Shaun Nona will again bolster the Tigers' backline, while the Magpies will have to go without hulking prop Mitch Garbutt who has made the Broncos' bench for their local derby against the Gold Coast Titans.
The match will be shown live on Channel Nine in Queensland from 1.40pm.
Another game with the ability to change the shape of the top five is the match-up between sixth-placed Burleigh Bears and seventh-placed Redcliffe at Dolphin Oval with both teams coming off victories in Round 4.
Redcliffe coach Troy Lindsay has named an unchanged line-up from the one that flogged Norths 44-20 although Bears mentor Jim Lenihan will be without Titan Lachlan Burr who earned a call-up to the top squad after two strong outings for Burleigh.
The final match in Round 5 is an Easter Sunday blockbuster between Sunshine Coast Falcons and the PNG Hunters.
Fan favourites PNG are currently sitting second on the ladder and are sure to draw a big crowd at Sunshine Coast Stadium when they take on the hosts desperate for their first win of the season.
PNG coach Michael Marum has a settled side to choose from while Falcons boss Glen Dreger will have Storm five-eighth Ben Hampton back on deck after he sat out last weekend's game against Ipswich.
Hampton was used as cover for Cooper Cronk who was under an injury cloud heading into Monday's golden point loss to the Cowboys in Townsville.
CQ Capras and the Tweed Heads Seagulls both have byes this weekend and will receive an automatic two competition points as a result.
Click here for full previews of all seven Intrust Super Cup Round 5 matches.