A PLACE inside the Queensland Cup’s top four is within touching distance for the Townsville Blackhawks, but getting there this weekend will be no simple feat.
The Blackhawks play the Burleigh Bears on the Gold Coast today, and a win would put them on the brink of leapfrogging Sunshine Coast into fourth.
Sunshine Coast play competition leaders PNG tomorrow, and a loss would put the Falcons back on equal points with the Blackhawks.
That is, if the Blackhawks come away from Pizzey Park with a win.
Blackhawks coach Kristian Woolf is wary of the Bears, who scored a 20- 18 win against the Blackhawks at Jack Manski Oval in Round 7.
“You look outside of where they’re sitting on the ladder and they really are one of the strongest teams in the competition,” Woolf said.
“Players like Luke Page, Matt White and Jamie Dowling have all been in NRL systems and they provide a lot punch in the middle, and their have a lot of strike power with blokes like Kurtis Rowe and Jamal Fogarty who also have NRL experience.
“We’re extremely wary of them and it’s one of our biggest games of the season so far.
“They’re coming off a ( 32- 26) win against Sunshine Coast and they were very strong in that game.
“They were up 24- 6 at one stage and that shows the type of ability they have.”
Woolf will today decide whether to field Temone Power or Kierran Quabba in place of suspended prop Sione Lousi, who misses today’s encounter after pleading guilty to a shoulder charge in the wake of last weekend’s 22- 20 loss to Ipswich in Winton.
“Kierran is coming back from a hamstring injury and he brings a lot of effort and enthusiasm, you can rely on him for that,” Woolf said.
“Temone is getting better with each game and he brings more of an X- factor in attack, so we’ll have to decide what we go with.”
Blackhawks halfback Michael Parker- Walshe was close to passing late fitness tests, but will again be sidelined to fully recover from an injured shoulder.
Burleigh’s late run of form has come too late, with the defending premiers placed 10th and out of finals contention.