Mackay's 'Festival of League'
Rugby League in Mackay will next weekend launch the 2014 season with an event not seen in the region before.
In somewhat of a ‘Festival of Rugby League,’ all junior, senior and representative fixtures will be played over the weekend with games starting as early as 8:30am on Saturday morning and final fixtures finishing late on Sunday afternoon.
Planning has taken a considerable commitment from all levels of the game and the event is certain to be a great showcase and advertisement for the game in Mackay.
MJRL Chairman Barry Blanchfield was understandably excited by the prospect of the weekend.
“It creates a link between the juniors and the seniors," Blanchfield said.
"When you look at the draw it is great that junior games are interspersed with senior games. The Under 15 and 16 age groups in particular are our senior teams of the immediate future.”
Feature games for the weekend will be played at Stadium Mackay and also on the main field at the re-vamped Junior Rugby League complex.
“We have poured a lot of resources in to our facility over the last 18 months so I am pleased that it is being used for a great showcase of local rugby league,” Blanchfield said.
The weekend will feature all senior teams across three grades. Round 1 of the AUSCOAL Super Cup pits defending premiers Souths Sharks against the Whitsunday Brahmas and Moranbah Miners and the Norths Devils on Saturday.
MDRL Chairman Glenn Ottaway suggested there may be some surprises in this year’s competition.
“Souths will be strong again as they are always well prepared and managed," Ottaway said.
"Moranbah usually put up a few smoke screens but inevitably roll out a few ex-NRL players who are now working in the mines. Norths are definitely rebuilding but have a coach that is very motivated to set a foundation at the club and the Brahmas are always competitive.”
On Sunday Wests will play Brothers and Sarina go head to head with Magpies.
“I think Wests and Magpies will surprise a few teams," Ottaway said.
"I would expect them to be the big improvers on last year. Sarina will also build on the foundation they set last year when they snuck in to fifth place. Brothers are a bit of an unknown quantity at this stage but they do have the two time Bill Paten medallist in Jerome Iakimo in charge so that will be a plus.”
Key Event Details:
Saturday, March, 22 – 7:30am (through Stadium Mackay entrance)
Sunday, March 23 – 8:00am (through Mackay JRL entrance)
Saturday, March 22 - $5 till 4:00pm. $10 after 4:00pm.
Sunday, March 23 - $5 all day
Canteen and Bar facilities available at both venues at advertised times.