Round 1 Intrust Super Cup preview
Sunshine Coast Falcons v Easts Tigers
Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday, March 4 - 4.30pm
Referee: Michael Gordon
Assistant Referee: Damian Brady (Intrust Super Cup debut)
Head-to-Head: Easts Tigers 10 Sunshine Coast 5
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #SCFvTIGES
The first round of this year’s Intrust Super Cup will kick off with the two Melbourne feeder clubs facing off in what is set to be a hard-fought contest. Despite being pencilled in to start for the Falcons in the five-eighth position earlier this week, half Ryley Jacks made his NRL debut alongside Cooper Cronk for the Storm tonight. While his absence will be felt, the Sunshine Coast do have a wealth of talent at their disposal – including new signing Kevin Locke, and they will have to be on song if they are to conquer an impressive-looking Tigers outfit. Easts have recruited well in the off-season and will have experienced Cup players like Linc Port and David Murphy make their club debuts. Former Tigers Steven Thorpe (prop) and Jarrod McInally (wing) are back at Coorparoo this season and will start the game.
*This game will see a two referee system employed despite not being a broadcast game, as the QRL aims to not only provide more clubs with experience under the NRL-style model – but also give more match officials the opportunity to experience refereeing the game in this manner.
Mackay Cutters v Northern Pride at BB Print Stadium, Mackay
Saturday, March 4 - 6pm
Referee: Tyson Brough
Head-to-Head: Pride 14 Mackay 5
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #MCvPRIDE
Foley Shield football returns to the north tomorrow night with the Cutters hosting the Pride in their first leg of the revamped tournament. Across many decades, it was the pinnacle of rugby league in North Queensland and was one of the hardest fought contests in rugby league. This year, these two clubs (and the Townsville Blackhawks) will contest the shield when their major competition teams go head-to-head. Both clubs have welcomed new coaches in the off-season in former NQ Cowboys Under 20s assistant coach Steve Sheppard (Mackay) and Northern Pride club legend Ty Williams. While the on-field contest is expected to be a fierce one, the Pride have the better record, having won the past three, and five of the past six games played between these two sides.
CQ Capras v PNG Hunters
Browne Park on Saturday, March 4 - 6.05pm
Referee: Nick Pelgrave
Head-to-Head: PNG 3 Central 1
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #CQCvPNG
Livestream: QRL Livestream
A new-look CQ Capras will host the PNG Hunters at Browne Park – the scene of one of their most remarkable wins last season. The home side stunned the highly fancied visitors 27-20 in their Round 11 match, with Reece Baker scoring a double. Both sides have undergone a personnel revamp in the off-season with Capras coach Kim Williams looking to add experience to his line-up by signing names such as former NRL player Matt Groat (Dewsbury Rams) and well-regarded hooker Krys Freeman (returning from a stint with Newcastle). The Hunters however are welcoming home a number of players who have previously performed well for them on the big stage – headlined by 2015 Intrust Super Cup Five-Eighth of the Year Israel Eliab from the London Broncos. He is joined in the squad by Wellington brothers Albert and Stanton and tough forward Willie Minoga who is back from the Blackhawks.