THE highly-anticipated XXXX Rivalry Round only happens once a year and this weekend, history will be made as for the first time ever it will become a statewide event with all senior Queensland Rugby League competitions involved.
Launched in 2012 via the Intrust Super Cup, the Rivalry Round quickly established itself as a Queensland sporting calendar highlight as bitter rivals clashed in often epic encounters. It a few short years, it has become so popular, Queensland Rugby League major sponsors XXXX have looked to broaden their commitment to the concept.
This weekend will see enticing match-ups in local league competitions from Cairns to the Gold Coast and everywhere in between, with fierce rivals lining up to face off and claim bragging rights.
Across the state however, all eyes are set to turn to the state’s premier competition the Intrust Super Cup, as six well-established rivalries see their next chapter of history written on the field in what shapes as another brilliant weekend of footy.
NORTHERN PRIDE v MACKAY CUTTERS
Mackay face their local rivals for the first time as defending Intrust Super Cup premiers, but will have to overcome history and momentum in this passionate showdown. The Pride have dominated this North Queensland derby in recent times, winning nine of their 13 matches. They have also started the 2014 season on fire, racing to the top of the table while the Cutters sit down in 11th spot.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS v CQ CAPRAS
A XXXX Rivalry Round match-up introduced in 2013, the Falcons meet the Capras and will be working hard to avoid claiming an unwanted piece of Cup history. A Capras’ win would condemn the Falcons to a 28th consecutive defeat, tying with the Logan Scorpions record for the competition’s longest drought. CQ won last year’s game 54-0 at home; so the Falcons will look to claim a win at home and repay their fans’ loyalty by breaking their streak.
EASTS TIGERS v NORTHS DEVILS
Two of Queensland’s most famous clubs; their 2013 clash showed that form lines go out the window in XXXX Rivalry Round. Heading into the game in-form and striving to solidify a finals spot; Norths were ambushed by the visiting Easts in stunning style. The 70-16 scoreline had to be seen to be believed and made history as the equal-biggest margin in the round’s history. Easts hold the upper hand in head-to head (19 wins to 17 with two draws).
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS v REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS
This is historically one of the biggest Cup rivalries, dating back to 1951 when the Seagulls were readmitted into the old Brisbane Premiership. Some of the biggest names in Queensland Rugby League history (Beetson, Lewis, Myles, Civoniceva and Close) have worn the colours of these proud powerhouses and this match looks set to live up to the hype. Redcliffe have traditionally held the upper hand in this rivalry and narrowly defeated the Seagulls 18-16 last year in a highly physical affair.
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES v IPSWICH JETS
It’s a rematch of the thrilling 2008 Intrust Super Cup grand final and another bruising encounter is on the horizon for these storied rivals. Souths’ 24-18 upset premiership win was a heart-breaker for Jets fans and 2013’s XXXX Rivalry Round provided Ipswich some redemption and showed this match goes beyond just the two competition points. Ipswich’s 44-10 win rocked the Magpies, whose season never recovered as they lost their next three games to miss out on finals footy altogether.
BURLEIGH BEARS v TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS
The Intrust Super Cup’s south-east derby has been going strong since 2003’s admission of Tweed Heads into the competition and historically it is the closest – and arguably, most ferociously fought – of all Intrust Super Cup derbies. Always a physical affair; each side has won 11 matches in head-to-head history with neither side giving an inch in XXXX Rivalry Round matches.
By Dean Kelly