West End are yet to reach their potential in the Volunteers Cup competition. Can the Bulldogs end the run of close losses this weekend? Picture: Bruce Clayton
West End are yet to reach their potential in the Volunteers Cup competition. Can the Bulldogs end the run of close losses this weekend? Picture: Bruce Clayton

Bulldogs chance to end losing run away from home


Anthony Breeze

THE Volunteers Cup has called the North Ipswich Reserve home for the first five rounds.

Ipswich sides must now travel up the range to Toowoomba for Saturday's clashes.

Can Goodna remain undefeated? Can Norths continue their great form and will West End finally win a close one?

Here's how the weekend games shape up.

1.30pm: Norths v Gatton

NORTHS were flogged two weeks ago by Valleys but that loss has really woken them up with two strong wins in the past few weeks.

The Tigers took the loss as a team and have regained their form with a host of players stepping up to the plate.

One of those in sublime form is young centre Ty Humphreys who has scored a hat-trick of tries in the last two games. Other Tigers impressing are Chris Scanlon, Blake Olive and Anava Fesolai, controlling the middle of the field superbly.

While Humphreys is scoring the tries, he isn't the only man in the backline who is threatening with fullback Luke Self and centre Tonga Mounga doing their bit.

Gatton haven't tasted success since Round 3 but have been the big improvers week in week out after a slow start to the season.

Hooker Brandon Clarke has been outstanding while fullback Tyson White has also been in great form.

The young Hawks team are learning all the time and if they can remove the unwanted errors at certain times then they can match the more experienced teams.

Although this game should be a tight tussle, the Tigers are in better form and have a few more options in attack.

The high-flying Goodna Eagles face their biggest test so far against Valleys in Toowoomba. Picture: Bruce Clayton
The high-flying Goodna Eagles face their biggest test so far against Valleys in Toowoomba. Picture: Bruce Clayton

3.30pm: Goodna v Valleys

IT'S the battle of the Rugby League Ipswich heavyweights in Goodna against the Toowoomba Rugby League pacesetters in Valleys.

The Goodna juggernaut kept rolling on and it was the hapless Souths outfit that felt the wrath of the Eagles last week.

Goodna always start games in fast fashion and if they can't be slowed down early then opposing teams are in for a long day.

The Tigers found that out last week going into the break 42-0 down.

Besse Aufaga-Toomaga has been in awesome form but has not been the only player starring as he has had able support from John Maila, Elone Taufa and flying winger in Fa'ata'ape Timai.

The Roosters have also been in great form over the past few weeks and go into this clash knowing they have the firepower to win.

Halfback Gerome Burns was outstanding early in the competition but injury has caused him to miss the past two games.

In his absence, Josh Chappell has really taken it upon himself to guide the Roosters around the park and he has been doing it in grand fashion.

Flying winger Alex Hinch has been ending backline movements regularly but will miss the clash through suspension and will be a huge loss for this showdown.

The Eagles are rightfully Cup favourites but must not rest on their laurels as this Roosters outfit has the firepower to cause victory.

It's Rugby League Ipswich v Toowoomba Rugby League in this clash.

I tip Goodna will get the chocolates in a close encounter.

5.30pm: West End v Souths

WEST End are a coach's nightmare with the side losing their past 3 games by close margins. Souths have not tasted much success so far while going through an injury crisis.

The Bulldogs have the players to win games as was evident in their last second loss to heavyweights Goodna but have failed to hold onto the ball and have lost some direction in the last few weeks.

The West End halves must take control of the game and start directing the big mobile forwards around the park.

The versatile Robert Kennedy as been a pillar of strength each week but can't do it by himself.

Another player who has tried hard each week is captain Aiden Boyce who just keeps putting in week after week.

Souths have been up and down with their form and must right the ship soon or will miss the all important top four.

Injuries have taken a toll on the side with inspirational half Jordon Lipp getting injured then replacement half and one of the TRL best players in previous seasons in Matt Duggan also going down.

Mitch Tuite has tried his hardest to guide them around but needs a few more players to start to take a hands-on role.

Luke Maiden and Mitchell Revell are two of the pack that have been really digging in but they also require help in securing the middle of the field.

This game looks like be a close one but I think the more experienced Bulldogs side will come away with the points.

Quick thoughts

POSITIVES: 1. The news this week that the AFL grand final would be coming to the Gabba in October. Queensland rescued the competition so it was only fitting that the grand final would be played here.

2. The US Open has started and our Aussie contingent are performing very well.

3. The NBA looked like being cancelled but thank goodness players came around as we have witnessed some superb contests.

NEGATIVES: 1. If you thought the Broncos had reached rock bottom then think again as they put in another absolutely diabolical performance against the Roosters. Fans can't wait for the final game to end the season from hell.

2. Cricket Australia has bungled the TV rights so bad that it could seriously affect the sport going forward in a big way. Some strong words have been used to describe our top management.

Sporting birthdays

1. 1937: Dawn Fraser - Australia's greatest ever female swimmer, who won the 100m freestyle gold medal at the 1956, 60 and 64 Olympics.

2. 1949: Tom Watson - American golfer who won eight major titles, including five British Opens.

On this day

1. 1922: Finnish athlete Paavo Nurmi sets a 2000m world record running 5.26.30.

2. 1934: Don Bradman scores 149 not out in 104 minutes, hitting 17 fours and four sixes.

3. 1966: Jack Brabham clinches his third Formula 1 World Drivers Championship.

4. 1972: 16 year-old West German Ulrike Meyfarth jumps 1.92m to win gold at the Munich Olympics and equal the world record.