The Intrust Super Cup has a proud history of producing players who are ready to perform on the big stage, and it doesn’t get any bigger than NRL grand final day.
This year, 17 of the players named in the Melbourne Storm’s 22-man squad for this Sunday’s NRL grand final have played in the Queensland / Intrust Super Cup system, playing 497 games in total.
Some of these include current Maroons stars in skipper Cameron Smith and halfback Cooper Cronk, as well as rising stars of the game like former CQ Capra and Easts Tiger Cameron Munster.
Nine Storm players have featured in the Intrust Super Cup this year, taking part in 61 games.
Melbourne have a well-established feeder arrangement with the Easts Tigers and Sunshine Coast Falcons that has allowed Queensland rugby league fans to see some NRL stars in action up close this year.
Their grand final opponents the Sharks also have players who have spent time in the Cup. Former Ipswich Jet Kurt Capewell was a late withdrawal from last year’s NRL State Championship team and is set to be replaced by another former Jet in Sam Tagataese on the bench in this year's NRL decider.
New Zealand international Gerard Beale and Michael “the menace” Ennis also played Cup; with the former Origin hooker running around for Aspley in 2007.
Not only is grand final day the peak for players – match officials will also get to experience the opportunity to test themselves on the biggest stage.
QRL Referees’ High Performance Unit members Peter Gough (lead referee) and Nick Morel (touch judge) will be involved in the Intrust Super Championship match. Peter Gough has officiated in 60 Intrust Super Cup games, with Nick Morel one ahead on 61. Former Queensland match official Brett Suttor, who will be a touch judge for the NRL Grand Final, has officiated in 48 Queensland Cup games.
All in all, the second tier has never been closer to the first.
See all the referee appointments for NRL grand final day via Referee Appointments.
For a full list of former Queensland / Intrust Super Cup players involved in NRL grand final day 2016, see below*:
||46||(Central Queensland / Easts Tigers – 2012-15)|
||19||(Sunshine Coast / Easts Tigers – 2015/16) – six games in 2016|
||22||(Norths – 2006/7)|
||5||(Easts Tigers – 2016) five games in 2016|
||1||(Easts Tigers – 2014)|
|Cooper Cronk||61||(Norths – 2001/05)|
|Cameron Smith||28||(Norths – 2001/02)|
|Jordan McLean||11||(Easts Tigers / Sunshine Coast – 2011 & 2015)|
|Kenny Bromwich||42||(Easts Tigers / Sunshine Coast – 2012/15)|
|Tim Glasby||98||(Central Queensland / Easts Tigers – 2010/14)|
|Christian Welch||22||(Easts Tigers – 2015/16) eight games in 2016|
|Ben Hampton||31||(Easts Tigers / Sunshine Coast – 2013, 15/16) three games in 2016|
|Young Tonumaipea||23||(Sunshine Coast / Easts Tigers – 2015/16) eight games in 2016|
|Slade Griffin||14||(Sunshine Coast / Easts Tigers – 2015/16) 10 games in 2016|
|Matt White||23||(Ipswich / Burleigh / Tweed / Easts – 2009, 11/12, 14/16) 12 in 2016|
|Felise Kaufusi||45||(Northern Pride / Easts Tigers / Falcons – 2013/16) three in 2016|
|Michael Ennis||3||(Aspley, 2007)|
|Gerard Beale||6||(Wynnum Manly, 2009)|
||37||(Norths / Ipswich Jets - 2004-7, 2009-11)|
|Kurt Capewell||53||(Wynnum Manly / Ipswich Jets – 2011/12, 2014/15)|
*Statistics by Brad Tallon