2013 Connell & Meninga Cup Draw
Maroons coach Mal Meninga is eager to watch the next generation of Queensland talent on display in the statewide Under 16 and Under 18 competitions.
The Cyril Connell and Mal Meninga Cups kick-off next month with a total of 30 teams in action across the two age groups.
“Both of these competitions play an integral part in our player pathway system by preparing players for higher honours with Queensland representative teams and programs,” Meninga said.
“The QRL and rugby league in general is benefiting immensely from the hard work put in by clubs, associations and of course the coaches and players involved in these competitions.
“The recent QAS Junior Emerging Origin camp in Brisbane highlights the tremendous talent that has come through the Under 16 and Under 18 Cups.”
Anthony Milford, Aaron Whitchurch, Lachlan Maranta, Korbin Sims, Corey Oates, Cameron Cullen and Chris Grevsmuhl are just a handful of graduates from the Connell and Meninga Cups who were involved in last month’s QAS camp and other recent Queensland representative teams.
Josh Papalii, a regular first grader with the Canberra Raiders and member of this year’s senior QAS Emerging Origin squad, is another player who has quickly climbed the ranks since playing in Souths Logan’s 2009 Meninga Cup side.
Meninga said it was an exciting time for young players setting out in rugby league.
“For next year we’re considering the introduction of an Under 18 Queensland Emerging program, which would complement the programs already in place for the 15s and 16s and obviously the QAS Junior (20s) and senior Emerging Origin squads,” he said.
The 2013 Connell and Meninga Cup seasons will be played over seven rounds, with teams in both competitions split into a Southern Conference (Pool A) and Northern Conference (Pool B).
The top two qualifiers from each pool will then meet in the semi-finals commencing on April 20.
The two Queensland champions will play the New South Wales winners in the national final in Sydney.
Souths Logan went all the way last year, defeating the Parramatta Eels in the Under 16 national decider.
Wests Panthers will not field teams in either age group this year. In other changes, there will be no double headers and Ipswich will play in the Southern Conference instead of Northern.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls
Gold Coast Green
Gold Coast White
Souths Logan Magpies
Sunshine Coast Falcons