The spotlight will shine on the game’s rich history this weekend with the staging of XXXX Rivalry Round in the Intrust Super Cup.
The annual round pits traditional rivals against each other with some mouth-watering match-ups taking place across the state, from Pizzey Park on the Gold Coast to Barlow Park in the Far North.
The Pizzey Park clash between the Burleigh Bears and Tweed Heads Seagulls will epitomise the desperation on display throughout the round as both teams strive for their first win of the season.
Adding further fuel to the fire is the intense history between the two clubs, which can’t be split in the head-to-head stakes with 13 wins apiece and a draw.
QRL Head of Football Neil Wharton said fans could look forward to an outstanding weekend of rugby league.
“XXXX Rivalry Round is always a terrific event on the QRL calendar as it brings out the best in our players and coaches,” Wharton said.
“Rugby league is a game built on passion and pride, and you will see both traits come to the fore across all seven venues this weekend.”
As the major sponsor of the QRL for more than 20 years, XXXX is once again thrilled to support the initiative.
“At XXXX, we’re extremely proud of our long association with rugby league in Queensland, from the Maroons right through to the grassroots level of the game,” said XXXX National Field Sales Director, Damien Mori.
“What excites us most about this weekend is the opportunity to get behind a major state-wide competition which has such strong community support.”
That community support will be on display in Rockhampton and Cairns, as well as five south east Queensland venues.
Rockhampton’s Browne Park will pit the Central Queensland Capras against the Mackay Cutters, while the match in Cairns between the Northern Pride and Townsville Blackhawks will celebrate the origins of the historic Foley Shield.
Round 6 will officially kick off with an intriguing clash between the Ipswich Jets and Easts Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
The clubs have developed an intense rivalry over the years, with 42 players having played for both the Jets and Tigers since the Cup competition commenced in 1996.
This match will be followed by another explosive Saturday afternoon encounter between the Sunshine Coast Falcons and PNG Hunters.
In a result that sent shockwaves through the 2016 competition, the Falcons knocked the Hunters out of the premiership race with a stirring victory on PNG soil.
On Sunday, Channel 9 viewers will be able to tune into the Burleigh v Tweed clash, which will be followed by a further two Sunday afternoon blockbusters.
Traditional Brisbane combatants Souths Logan Magpies and Norths Devils face off at Davies Park, while BMD Kougari Oval plays host to the Wynnum Manly Seagulls and Redcliffe Dolphins.
The match-up between the Magpies and Devils will be a beauty, with both clubs among the most improved in the competition.
Norths lead the Intrust Super Cup with four wins from their opening five games, but the Magpies can draw level on eight competition points if they upset Chris Sandow’s Devils.
Another epic encounter is set to light up the Bayside, as the Seagulls aim to get over the top of the in-form Dolphins in front of their passionate home fans.
XXXX Rivalry Round
Saturday, April 8
Ipswich Jets v Easts Tigers at North Ipswich Reserve 4pm
· Head-to-Head: Easts 21 Ipswich 20 Drawn 1
· 42 players have played Cup for both clubs
Sunshine Coast Falcons v PNG Hunters at Sunshine Coast Stadium 4.35pm
· Head-to-Head: PNG 4 Sunshine Coast 3
· Sunshine Coast knocked the Hunters out of last year's competition with an 18-12 win in PNG after losing 34-4 there the week before
Northern Pride v Townsville Blackhawks at Barlow Park 5.30pm
· Head-to-Head: Townsville 4 Northern Pride 0
· Pride have got closer to Townsville each game, losing by 42, 18, 13 and then 2 in round 22 last year
CQ Capras v Mackay Cutters at Browne Park 6pm
· Head-to-Head: Mackay 11 Central 6
· Central have won the last 2 games between these 2 sides
Sunday, April 9
Burleigh Bears v Tweed Heads Seagulls at Pizzey Park 1.40pm (Channel 9)
· Head-to-Head: Burleigh 13 Tweed 13 Drawn 1
· Jim Lenihan's 150th Cup game & Aaron Zimmerle's 99th as coaches
Souths Logan Magpies v Norths Devils at Davies Park 3pm
· Head-to-Head: Norths 23 Souths Logan 17 Drawn 1
· Norths have not beaten Souths Logan since 2013, with the Magpies winning 5 and drawing 1 since then
Wynnum Manly Seagulls v Redcliffe Dolphins at BMD Kougari Oval 3pm
· Head-to-Head: Redcliffe 26 Wynnum 17 Drawn 2
· Redcliffe have won only one of the last six games between these two sides, 38-6 at BMD Kougari last year.