The Foley Shield was for many years and across many decades the pinnacle of rugby league in North Queensland. It was watched and enjoyed by tens of thousands of people each year and was known around not only Queensland but Australia as being one of the toughest rugby league competitions in the country.
From Cowboys legend Laurie Spina to internationals including Dale Shearer and the famous Daisy brothers, Vern and Frank, there are many great players who have all been part of the fabric of the history of the game in the north.
In the past 5-10 years, there have been many contributing factors that have led to the Foley Shield being a reduced competition and for a number of recent years the Foley Shield has been in hibernation.
The QRL Northern Division in 2017 reinvented the Foley Shield as a three-tiered competition that involved the Under 18, Under 20 and A Grade teams of the three Intrust Super Clubs in North Queensland, namely the Northern Pride, the Townsville and District Blackhawks and the Mackay Cutters. The Foley Shield was always the highest quality rugby league in North Queensland and in 2017 it was again played by players of the highest ability in these three grades.
The results this year and the way the three regions have embraced the competition showed that the Foley Shield is once again back as part of the rugby league landscape in North Queensland.
The Pride Junior teams were competitive in the 18s and 20s in 2017 and their Intrust Super Cup side have been competitive without putting the results on the board. The Mackay Cutters through a fantastic new regional approach embracing the juniors, seniors and the Cutters improved dramatically this year and came within a game of winning the Foley Shield but the Mendi Townsville and District Blackhawks showed across all grades this year that they were the best region by winning the 2017 Foley Shield.