A total of 19 players from clubs in the Cairns District Rugby League competition are set to be selected for the Cairns men's team who will go up against Townsville and Mackay in the Foley Shield.
The Foley Shield is the oldest and most famous regional rugby league competition with plenty of history around it, helping to build the excitement for the event taking place at Townsville Sports Reserve this weekend.
Main Image: Cairns defeated Townsville in Innisfail 30-28 to win the Foley Shield in 2012 before the competition went into hiatus until 2017. Photo: Maria Girgenti
CDRL ladder leaders Cairns Brothers are to feature four players in the team with three from Mossman and Innisfail and 10 clubs are represented.
- Stay tuned to QRL.com.au to see all the Foley Shield team lists once they are officially announced.
The Cairns team is under the coaching direction of former Northern Pride players Ben Reuter, Ryan Ghietti and Jason Roos.
The revamped structure for the Foley Shield concept will see five games played in two different locations this weekend to decide the winner prize.
The Northern Pride play the Cutters at BB Print Stadium, Mackay in the Intrust Super Cup and Hastings Deering Under 20s competiton; while in Townsville three A Grade games will be played between Cairns, Townsville and Mackay Districts League teams.
With the Pride and the Cutters game being played on Saturday night and two A Grade games taking place in Townsville on the same day, the Foley Shield could very well go down to the final game on Sunday between Cairns and Mackay.
While Intrust Super Cup results will go towards a region's tally, only the first round between the clubs will count this year as Mackay Cutters and Northern Pride only play each other once and they did not play against each other in the Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup competition.
The Intrust Super Cup and Hasting Deering Colts games played in Round 1 between Northern Pride v Blackhawks on March 23, Townsville Blackhawks v Mackay Cutters on April 6 and this weekend's game between Mackay Cutters v Northern Pride will count.
As Cairns doesn't yet have a full competition, the women’s games being played this weekend for the Northern Region Women’s Championships will not count for Foley Shield. However, it is hoped that in 2020, the CDRL will have a tackle competition so potentially the women will then be added to the Foley Shield.
Chairman of Mackay District Rugby League Adam Wright said this weekend should involve some tough games of footy, with the likely winner securing the 2019 Foley Shield due to the outcome of the Intrust Super Cup games so far this year.
"This year our men's team only has two Intrust Super Cup players, Tyler Gardner and Masiru Nona who are contracted to the Mackay Cutters with the local competition being very strong this year making up the rest," he said.
"There are a number of players in the side who have represented the North Queensland Marlins and Queensland Rangers in the past couple of years such as Ivan Petelo, Matthew Skaife and Jardine Bobongie.
"One Mackay player to watch out for over the weekend will be Schae Mawer."
Games will be livestreamed on QRL.com.au and the QRL Facebook page and will kick off on Saturday.
Day 1 will see Townsville playing two games against Mackay and Cairns while on Sunday, Cairns will go up against Mackay.
The Foley Shield which started in 1948 is steeped in history and was called the NQ Country Carnival and before that, the Crowley Cup.
Babinda won the first ever Foley Shield defeating Ayr and the event was once a more regional event with Herbert River, Whitsunday (Proserpine, Bowen and Collinsville), Mount Isa, Eacham (Atherton Tablelands) and Innisfail taking part.
All winners of the Foley Shield and teams such as Mount Isa were multiple winners in 1970s and 1980s.
The competition went into hibernation in the mid 2010s, but was revised in 2017 with the three regions of Northern Pride and CDRL, Townsville Blackhawks and TDRL and Mackay Cutters and MDRL involved.
From this weekend's Foley Shield carnival, Northern Marlins men's and women's representative teams will be selected to compete at divisional championships later in the year.