Cup's role as springboard to NRL
There are two primary reasons for the existence of the Intrust Super Cup.
The first is to be the premier rugby league competition in Queensland.
In my two stints living in the Sunshine State, I have come to appreciate that unlike our southern cousins – the Intrust Super Cup is not a reserve grade competition; it's the best senior football played in Queensland every weekend.
I even recall growing up the debate that surrounded whether the then Brisbane Rugby League competition was in fact a superior offering to that of the New South Wales Rugby League prior to the introduction of the Broncos in 1988.
It's why the Broncos' admission into the NSWRL created such a divide, as many viewed it not from the strengthening of the NSWRL into a national competition, but a further siphoning of Queensland talent that would diminish the BRL's standing.
In the first year of a full three-match State of Origin series in 1982, 36,000 people crammed into Lang Park to see a Gene Miles-led Wynnum Manly team defeat Souths 17-3 in the BRL grand final, dwarfing the two crowds that attended the Origin matches that year (27,326 and 19,435).
It may not have always been the way in the days of the BRL, but the other reason the Intrust Super Cup exists now is as a development pathway.
The signing of current Townsville Blackhawk Carlin Anderson to a two-year deal with the North Queensland Cowboys this week exemplified how well that purpose is being fulfilled.
With the end to the national youth competition now only months away, the importance of the Intrust Super Cup feeding into the top tier of the National Rugby League is only going to grow in the years to come.
The NRL is littered with players who having come through the Under 20s system, further developed their games in the Intrust Super Cup before going on to higher honours.
The Kingaroy Kid Chris McQueen will in all likelihood become an England international next weekend, a long way from his days coming through the grades as a wild-haired winger for Wynnum Manly.
Paterika Vaivai has returned to the NRL this year with the Titans after a premiership-winning season with Burleigh, Tyler Cornish signed for the Bears and earned an NRL debut in the process while the likes of Kurt Capewell (Sharks), Anthony Don (Titans), Cameron Cullen (Sea Eagles), Cameron Munster (Storm) and Cody Walker (Rabbitohs) have all used the Intrust Super Cup as a springboard to bigger and better things.
These are just a handful of the success stories and while it may be viewed as some as a player drain from the Queensland Rugby League's No.1 competition, we can all rest easy knowing that the seemingly never-ending talent pool will continue to keep our clubs competitive.
Did You Know? with Tony Webeck
The final BRL grand final prior to the introduction of the Broncos in 1988 featured a smorgasbord of players who would go on to play in the NSWRL-run Winfield Cup in the coming years.
Brothers were convincing winners over Redcliffe in the 1987 decider 26-8, but their team would soon be plundered by the richer clubs down south.
While Joe Kilroy and Brett Le Man lined up for the Broncos in their inaugural match against Manly at Lang Park, Clinton Mohr (St George/Gold Coast), Mark Coyne (St George), Robert Grogan (Gold Coast), Peter Gill (St George/Gold Coast), Tony Rea (North Sydney), Gary Smith (North Sydney), Trevor Bailey (St George), Jason Stafford (Western Suburbs), Gary Vernon (Parramatta) and Eric Kennedy (Gold Coast) were all picked up by other clubs within the Winfield Cup.
Redcliffe weren't spared either with Greg Conescu, Bryan Niebling and Rohan Teevan all members of the inaugural Brisbane Broncos squad in 1988.
A former editor of Big League, Tony Webeck is the Chief Queensland Correspondent for NRL.com.