First up on Friday night will be Des Hasler's Bulldogs facing off against his old club Manly and his former confidante and assistant coach, Geoff Toovey. There is no love lost between these two clubs following Hasler' s acromonious split from the 2011 premiers. Not to mention both clubs have been in rare form and fans will be treated to high quality match ups all over the park; Barba vs. Stewart, Inu vs. Lyon, Pritchard vs. Watmough, Reynolds vs. Foran. Don't be surprised if this is a preview of the game that will be played on the final weekend in September.
Saturday night will bring Souths mentor Michael Maguire back to his old stomping ground of AAMI Park in Melbourne where he was an assistant coach under Craig Bellamy. Joining the homecoming party is Souths fullback Greg Inglis, centre Matt King and captain Mick Crocker who will also face off against their former teammates in an interesting subscript to what should be a cracking game of attacking football.
Later that night Queenslanders will shift their attention up north where the North Queensland Cowboys play host to big brother the Brisbane Broncos. Only this year little brother looks like he might ruin the family dynamics. Former Broncos Brent Tate and Antonio Winterstein will be doing all they can to ensure a Cowboys victory.
Sunday will see the resurgent Canberra Raiders take on the Cronulla Sharks led by iron man captain Paul Gallen. Canberra winger Blake Ferguson will particularly be hoping that the Raiders can get a win against the club that he unceremoniously walked out on.
The prospect of these match ups is enough to leave a rugby league fan salivating on his retractable plastic seat or even on his remote. In a year that has already brought us high quality rugby league, amazing attacking football, some huge hits and high drama, I get the feeling that we are just getting started. Here we go again.
Adam Schoenmaker is a high school chaplain in the northern suburbs of Brisbane for three days each week and serves two days a week in his local church. Adam loves a good book, a classic album and all Queensland sporting teams.
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