Interstate rivalry will grip Bishop Park this Sunday when Queensland’s leading Under Age teams meet the New South Wales champions for the right to be crowned National title holders.
The two must-see matches effectively pit the north of Queensland against western Sydney, with the Townsville Blackhawks to proudly fly the flag for the Sunshine State against the Parramatta Eels (Under 16) and Penrith Panthers (Under 18).
While the prospect of lifting National silverware is undoubtedly a massive incentive for the finalists to perform strongly, it won’t be the sole focus for players, coaches and supporters at the ground.
That’s because the QRL is partnering with the NRL to deliver messages from the ‘Respect' Campaign’, a whole-of-game initiative taking a stance against negative behaviour at footy grounds across the country.
A number of ‘Respect’ protocols will be in play throughout the exciting match-day program, including signage on the sidelines and important messages delivered by the ground announcer.
Coach and captain armbands will be worn to signify the leadership group, while selected match officials will be provided with special jerseys highlighting the ‘Respect’ message.
Furthermore, players, coaches and the three match officials will meet in the centre of the field to shake hands prior to the game and conduct the coin toss.
QRL Managing Director Robert Moore said: “This is an excellent initiative that is already having a positive impact across many levels of the game.
“We had a number of these protocols in place last weekend at our State Finals and it was pleasing to note that all matches were played in tremendous spirit.”
Moore said some outstanding rugby league talent would be on display at Bishop Park, home of the Norths Devils, this Sunday.
The first game kicks off at 11.30am between Cyril Connell Cup champions the Townsville Blackhawks and Harold Matthews Cup winners the Parramatta Eels.
Townsville snuck home in a thrilling match against Souths Logan Magpies last weekend after a late Adam Cook penalty goal handed his team a stunning 20-18 come-from-behind win.
The Blackhawks did it much easier in the Mal Meninga Cup decider, crossing for six tries in their convincing 38-16 victory over Norths.
Their next assignment is the high-flying Penrith Panthers, who took out the SG Ball Cup following an impressive 25-10 win over Illawarra Steelers.
Game Day schedule
Sunday, May 15 @ Bishop Park, Norths Devils
11.30am: Townsville Blackhawks v Parramatta Eels (U16 Cyril Connell Cup v Harold Matthews Cup)
1pm: Townsville Blackhawks v Penrith Panthers (U18 Mal Meninga Cup v SG Ball Cup)
3pm: Norths Devils v Souths Logan Magpies (Intrust Super Cup)
4.30pm: Norths Devils v Souths Logan Magpies (FOGS Colts Challenge)
· The official Rugby League Respect Round, themed LET THEM PLAY, will be held on June 4-5, 2016.