QLD Premier Rugby Round 7 Preview: Are Brothers the real deal in 2019?
Brothers have been the standout side of the 2019 season so far and sit on top of the QLD Premier Rugby ladder after five straight wins.
So are they the team to beat this season?
It looks like we’re about to find out.
Brothers take on last year’s grand finalists – UQ and GPS – in consecutive weeks, starting on Saturday at home against the Red Heavies.
The Filth had a bye in round six but still have some injury concerns heading into Saturday’s clash.
Aiden Toua and Ryan Smith have been ruled out through injury but Byron Ralston, Lawson Creighton and Rhys Martin return to Rod Seib’s starting side.
“UQ are a very mobile team who can score from everywhere. Their defensive line speed is one of the best in the competition so we know our decision making will be challenged,” Brothers coach Seib said.
“Set piece is always important but I think it will be particularly key to getting any advantage on Saturday.”
UQ ended a disappointing run of losses last week with a 30-point win over Sunnybank but coach Mick Heenan knows his side will need to step up again to challenge Brothers, particularly in defence.
“They don’t really have any weaknesses. They’ve got a good set piece, they move the ball well and their defence is strong,” Heenan said.
“We’re still working hard on our defence. Some of our issues were technical but part of it was also effort related so hopefully we’ve fixed that.”
Forwards Tim Manns and Pat Morrey will both miss the clash through injury and will be replaced by Ben Paxton-Hall and Adam Korczyk.
“We’ve have a poor run with injuries but hopefully we will see some players coming back after the bye next week.”
Elsewhere, Bond and Wests meet on the Gold Coast in a match both sides probably think they should win.
Bond were their own worst enemy again last week in a five point loss to Souths and have now dropped four matches this year by single digits.
“We had some really good patches in attack and defence but we’re falling short in crucial moments of the game and it’s costing us,” coach Brad Harris said.
“We scored to go ahead with 20 minutes to go but then made two errors which both led to tries late in the match.”
With just one win to their name after six rounds, the Gold Coast side begins a season defining month of rugby on Saturday when they host Wests, ahead of clashes against Norths and Sunnybank.
Wests were also disappointing in an eight point loss to Easts last weekend and missed an opportunity to secure their spot at the top end of the ladder.
“We started really slowly and struggled to get into the game. We did well to fight back in the second half, but our poor first half cost us,” Dogs coach Pat Byron said of his side’s uncharacteristic performance.
“We’ve had to make five changes to our forward pack through injury and unavailability, including an entirely new front row, so it’s going to be a big test for us. Bond have a big forward pack and some good attacking backs so we are going to have to play well to win, especially down there.”
In the rounds other matches, Norths host Easts on Ladies Day and Jeeps will look to claim their fifth straight win when they travel to play Sunnybank.