Pride and Blackhawks collect North Queensland honours

The Northern Pride have collected the Foley Shield in 2018 after coming out on top in the tough rivalry between themselves and the Mackay Cutters and Townsville Blackhawks.

The Shield is awarded based on the games between the Intrust Super Cup sides (Northern Pride, Townsville Blackhawks and Mackay Cutters) and their Under 20 Hastings Deering Colts and Under 18 Mal Meninga Cup sides.

The A Grade teams from the Cairns, Mackay and Townsville District A Grade competitions also formed part of it when they played against each other at the Marlins selection trials in May.

The teams from the far north were dominant in 2018, the Pride winning all of their four games against the Cutters and Blackhawks, while their Under 20s had a draw and a win and their Under 18s had a win and a loss. The CDRL A Grade team won one game and lost one.

The turnaround is a stark change to where they sat this time last year, below both the Blackhawks and the Cutters.

The Under 20s Blackhawks experienced success of their own, having taken out the Noel Ford Memorial Trophy, which recognises them as the best Under 20s side in the northern region.

There's a fascinating history behind the trophy, having been first played for in 1965 in honour of Ford, who was a former player, coach and volunteer.

The trophy was donated by his family and played for until 1995 when it was retired, before going missing for nearly 2 decades.

Upon being found and refurbished, it was again brought in to be played for in the new Hastings Deering Colts competition and now recognises the best under 20s side in the northern region.

Although the Noel Ford Trophy has already been presented to the Blackhawks based on the games earlier this year, both the Under 20 Blackhawks and the Pride side played their preliminary final against each other this evening (Saturday, September 15) at Jack Manski Oval with the Blackhawks winning the close match 26-22.

They will take on Norths Devils next Sunday in the grand final at Suncorp Stadium.