This season, the QRL Northern Division and the three Under 20 Hasting Deering Colts sides based in North Queensland (the Kenfrost Homes, Mt Peter Estate Northern Pride, the Mendi Group Townsville and District Blackhawks and the QCCS Mackay Cutters) have agreed to participate and play for the Noel Ford Memorial Shield.
The Noel Ford Memorial Shield was played from 1966 to 1995 and was named in honour of former Townsville and Souths Townsville player and coach Noel Ford who was tragically taken in 1965.
The shield was originally played between the winners of the Mid West and Whitsunday competitions, but this changed in the 1990s to include Mackay teams when the Burdekin Whitsunday League ceased to exist. It was last won by Mackay Brothers in 1995.
Former Townsville Foley Shield, North Queensland Marlins and Queensland Country A Grade player and brother-in-law of Noel Ford, Dave Whiting said it was fantastic that the trophy had been found and restored and that is was back and part of the rugby league landscape in North Queensland.
The first game kicks off in Mackay tomorrow (March 10) where the Cutters will take on the Blackhawks at BB Print Stadium.
Other dates are:
Saturday March 24: Blackhawks host the Pride at Jack Manski Oval
Saturday March 31: Pride host the Cutters at Barlow Park