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Brothers and University continue their race for the 2012 Queensland Premier Rugby Minor Premiership heading into the final round of the regular season on Saturday while Sunnybank, Easts and GPS will battle for the remaining two finals spots.
The Brethren are in the box seat to secure first place on the ladder at the end of the home-and-away rounds as they remain the outright leaders on 63 competition points with only one game remaining against the bottom-placed Sunshine Coast Stingrays at Jack Ross Oval.
Should Brothers stumble at the final hurdle it’s University (62 competition points) who are poised to be the major benefactors should they manage to overcome top four hopefuls Easts at St Lucia this weekend.
The Tigers are faced with a must-win clash against University and a loss would open the door for GPS to improve on their current fifth-place ranking and overtake Easts within the top four should they beat Wests at Yoku Road.
Making the Gallopers job slightly easier is the return of St.George Queensland Reds and Wallabies forwards Radike Samo and Saia Faingaa for GPS’ tough final regular season clash.
Easts and Sunnybank are in control of their own destiny as both sit on 57 competition points ahead of GPS on 56 competition points, however the Dragons have a far easier final round combatant with ninth-place Gold Coast forced to travel to Oldmac Oval.
All four of the above matches will impact on the make-up of the 2012 Queensland Premier Rugby top four but it’s the Game of the Round between University and Easts clash where most eyes will be drawn to.
The Tigers were sitting comfortably only a fortnight ago before two losses in their past two games has now put them in a situation where they must win a second match against University in season 2012 after previously overcoming the Students 39-29 in round nine.
Easts have scored just a combined two tries in their most recent losses to GPS (19-14) and Souths (14-10) while University have piled on an incredible 110 points in their past two wins against the Sunshine Coast (76-7) and Gold Coast (34-14).
While GPS are hoping for a Tigers’ collapse, they too must win on Saturday to remain a strong chance of finishing their season inside the top four and are faced with a Wests side full of confidence after beating Souths 31-17 at the weekend.
The Bulldogs have already beaten the Gallopers once this season, 27-20 in round nine, and will again back their ability to claim another victory over a top four combatant, having also beaten Brothers and Sunnybank earlier in the year.
Also needing a win to confirm a place within the top four is a red-hot Sunnybank side that is riding a three-game winning streak which has consisted of a combined 150 points and 23 tries scored.
During this span Sunnybank has dominated Wests (48-21), Brothers (50-20) and Norths (52-14) and their attack will again be strengthened with Matt Lucas, brother of Reds playmaker Ben, returning at scrumhalf as part of a side that also features Albert Anae at prop and Ben Tapuai in the centres.
Brothers responded from their round 16 drubbing against Sunnybank to defeat the Gold Coast 31-29 at the weekend and now have one more chance to find their best form against the Stingrays on Saturday.
In the final game of the round both Souths and Norths will be determined to finish their season on a high when they clash at Chipsy Wood Oval on Saturday.
The Magpies remained in finals contention before their disappointing 31-17 loss to Wests last Saturday while Norths will be eager to remind everyone that they are a much better side than the one which were dominated 52-14 by Sunnybank in their last outing.
Before that result Norths had won four of their past five matches while a win for Souths on Saturday would give them a double-digit win season in 2012.
Download the Queensland Premier Rugby Round 18 Program here: http://www.redsrugby.com.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=-1TvbhsXcmc%3d&tabid=533.
Supporters can also catch all the round 17 action by watching the Queensland Premier Rugby Wrap here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InlQZhFDpds.
Queensland Premier Rugby Round 18 – Saturday 1 September
Brothers v Sunshine Coast
Jack Ross Oval 3:15pm
GPS v Wests
Yoku Road 3:20pm
Souths v Norths
Chipsy Wood Oval 3:15pm
Sunnybank v Rugby Gold Coast
Oldmac Oval 3:00pm
University v Easts
St Lucia 3:00pm
26 MAY 2013
24 MAY 2013
23 MAY 2013