Premier Rugby Round 10 Preview
By Finn Morton; Photo – Brendan Hertel/QRU Media
Souths v Sunnybank. Chipsy Wood Oval at 3:20 pm
Sunnybank have decided to part ways with Damon Virtue, replacing him with new Head Coach Evan Willis for the second half of the 2019 season.
Willis takes the reigns for the first time against Souths on Saturday in what he expects to be a tough fixture.
“Souths are a really hard team to read. They have some brilliant players off the cuff. If they have a pattern of play it’s no pattern,” he admitted.
“A team like that who are dangerous, you’ve got to limit their possession opportunities. We’ve got to value the seed.”
While any hope of finals footy appears over for Sunnybank, the Dragons coach is determined to improve the side as players eye high honours.
“There are some really good tools that Damon Virtue put in place around game structure. The biggest feature that we have to change is our ability to play for eighty-minutes and stick to our patterns.
“We don’t want to flush this season. Every game we’ve played we’ve been competitive.
“We’ve blooded a couple of Colts players this season who have been outstanding including Sammy Samu who scored two great tries against Eats. But we really need to focus on playing for eighty-minutes. I guess that is establishing a platform around mentality. There are guys with NRC aspirations and the only way we are going to get them into the front of people’s minds is if we have some good results in the second half of the year.”
Sunnybank is focused on adopting a new mentality to “stick to shape and patterns and commitment for eighty-plus minutes.”
But Souths have been one of the form teams as of late.
The Magpies are currently on a four-game unbeaten run that has seen them surge up to third on the ladder.
Sunnybank have managed competitive performances against some of the competition leaders such as GPS and Easts, but will this change of management give the Dragons the boost they need to take their game to the next level?
Souths will be their first test and a tough challenge at that.
Bond University v Brothers. Bond University at 3:20 pm
Brothers will look to extend their lead at the top of the table as they journey to the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Bond will be full of confidence heading into the fixture after nearly upsetting The Filth in round one.
But this time around, Brothers won’t have home field advantage.
Bond may have only won two out of their four games at home, but don’t let their record fool you.
The Gold Coast is a tough place to win.
Playing at home can only help so much though when you’re preparing to face the best attacking team in the competition.
Brothers have gone from strength-to-strength since their round one clash so a much-improved performance will be needed for Bond to pull off an upset.
Wests v Norths. Sylvan Road at 3:20 pm
A renewed sense of freshness should play into Wests’ favour as they prepare to take on a Norths side lacking in form.
The Bulldogs will hope to play with an extra spring in their step as they play their first game since their bye week.
And didn’t they need it?
Over the four weeks before the bye, Wests won one from four, leaking 125 points in the process.
But will Norths envy Wests’ week off or will they come out ready to pull off an upset?
The Eagles are coming off big losses against Bond and Souths, so they will need to improve significantly if they are to avenge their 49-0 loss to Wests in round one.
To keep their slim finals hopes alive, they must.
Easts v UQ. Bottomley Park at 3:20 pm
UQ began their season strongly with a clinical 38-12 victory over the Tigers in round one.
The Students will be looking to repeat history as they look to get their season back on track. But both sides are coming off comprehensive losses against Brothers and GPS respectively.
With only five competition points separating fourth through to seventh, every win is vital as we near the business end of the season.
UQ will be looking for a win to keep their hopes of finals footy well and truly alive. But should results not go their way, the Bulldogs could drop as much as eight points out of the top four with seven games to play.
Easts are also desperate for a victory as a loss would see the Students overtake the Tigers, as well as open the door for other teams to do the same.
The Tigers will look to erase any memory of the 38-12 loss to UQ in round one with an improved performance expected of the side currently sitting fifth on the ladder.