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St.George Reds powerhouses Radike Samo and Albert Anae will go head to head in a critical encounter between GPS and Sunnybank this Saturday during an intriguing third round of the Queensland Premier Rugby season, with the defending champions sitting just three points behind the third-ranked Gallopers.
Samo produced a starring 80-minute performance in Jeeps’ first round win over Norths and will again provide the x-factor this week when they take on Sunnybank, who are boosted by Anae and are gaining speed after notching up their first win of the season last week.
In their last encounter the Dragons’ star-studded line up ended the Gallopers season with a 51-13 humbling in the 2011 Minor Semi-Final, but GPS prove a more formidable opponent this week as they look to scratch out last year’s loss.
The Gallopers’ tight five-point win over Souths in round two leaves them undefeated in 2012 and one of the clear top three in the competition, along with Brothers and University.
Sunnybank flyhalf Dion Taumata will look to back up last week’s perfect kicking performance as he lines up against Smith, but their engine room - headlined by Anae - will have to fire to quell the try-scoring ability that saw GPS run in 28 points in round one.
The stakes are high for the Dragons - holding their position in the top four by just one point over Easts and Souths - but a dominating 44-21 performance against the Sunshine Coast last week will send them confidently into the round three clash at Old Mac Oval.
With GPS and Sunnybank set to battle at third and fourth on the ladder, the opportunity opens up for Easts to leapfrog into the top four this week when they take on the Sunshine Coast at Stockland Park.
The Tigers receive a huge boost for the encounter with the return of instrumental flyhalf and kicker Matt Brandon, but the Stingrays’ three-try second half effort against Sunnybank last week will give them confidence as they look to keep in touch with the competition, despite being the only team yet to secure a point this season.
It’s Brothers who have set the benchmark for the competition to this point, looming undefeated atop the ladder after an ominous 60-19 overwhelming of Wests in round two, characterised by impressive combinations throughout the field and a hat-trick to fullback Damon Murphy.
The eighth-ranked Norths have the challenge of meeting the firing Brothers this week at Hugh Courtney Oval after suffering a 21-point loss to University in round two while again missing injured captain Carlos Gavidi, who was their only try scorer in their 30-18 loss to Brothers last year.
Despite their humbling loss to Brothers last week, Wests scored all their points in the second half and will look to carry on from that form when they line up against the Gold Coast on Saturday at Pizzy Park, after the Breakers were kept try-less in their 19-6 loss to Easts.
After penalties cost the Gold Coast last week, they will look to hone their defensive efforts and return to the winner’s circle when they take on the Bulldogs, who are yet to record a win.
University are continuing to build form this season, with their clinical win and six-try haul against Norths last week showing a marked improvement from round one and catapulting them to second on the ladder before their clash against Souths at Chipsy Wood Oval this week.
The Magpies will prove a difficult task on Saturday, having shown strength and intensity at the breakdown in their narrow five-point loss to GPS last week and recording a sounding win against Sunnybank in round one.
The round three Queensland Premier Rugby program can be download, in pdf format, here: http://www.redsrugby.com.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=QwvhqUJidgo%3d&tabid=533.
Queensland Premier Rugby Round Three - Saturday 12 May
Norths v Brothers
Hugh Courtney Oval at 3:00pm
Rugby Gold Coast v Wests
Pizzy Park at 3:00pm
Souths v University
Chipsy Wood Oval at 3:00pm
Sunnybank v GPS
Old Mac Oval at 3:00pm
Sunshine Coast v Easts
Stockland Park at 3:00pm
14 DECEMBER 2018