Eight emerging and senior stars of the women’s game have come together to launch the inaugural statewide women’s competition, which from today will be known as the BHP Premiership.
The women’s players joined all 14 Intrust Super Cup coaches as well as representatives from the Hastings Deering Colts and Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup competitions to officially welcome in the start of the new season.
All four statewide leagues commence next weekend (March 14-15), with a total of 25 games to be played throughout the state and northern New South Wales.
QRL managing director Robert Moore said excitement was building ahead of the new season.
Match: Brothers v Stars
Round 1 -
Venue: Blue Ribbon Motors Field, Ipswich
“The 2020 season is shaping up to be ground-breaking year for rugby league in Queensland with the start of the highly-anticipated BHP Premiership,” Moore said.
“We congratulate all eight clubs for the work they have put in to get to this point, as well as our passionate and dedicated team here at the QRL.
“Like so many other people, I’m looking forward to the opening round and watching the progress of our state’s leading female athletes as many of them press their claims for Queensland representative jerseys.”
Moore thanked BHP for its support of the inaugural premiership.
“Like us, BHP is passionate about all things Queensland, so to have such a community-minded company extend its partnership with us to incorporate the naming rights of the women’s premiership over the next two years is a huge boost for the game,” Moore said.
Dominic Nolan, Head of Corporate Affairs at BHP, said, “BHP is excited to play a central role in elevating women’s rugby league to new heights in Queensland in 2020".
“We are committed to achieving a more diverse workforce, and increasing the number of women working at BHP is a critical part of that," Nolan said.
“It made sense for us to work with the QRL to explore how we could help it to take the women’s game further.”
Moore sent his best wishes to all clubs involved in this year’s Statewide Competitions.
“An extraordinary amount of hard work and sacrifice goes into preparing teams, and if pre-season standards are anything to go by, we’re in for an outstanding year across all competitions,” Moore said.
Burleigh Bears will be out to press their claims for back-to-back Intrust Super Cup premierships in the 25th season of Queensland’s premier men’s competition.
Match: Bears v WM Seagulls
Round 1 -
Venue: Pizzey Park, Gold Coast
The Bears will be guided by former Newcastle Knights mentor Rick Stone, who has returned to the club he led to two grand final victories (1999 and 2004).
Craig Hodges is another former Cup coach with NRL experience who is also seeking success in the Intrust Super Cup.
Hodges is overseeing the Easts Tigers campaign after linking with the Langlands Park club from the Gold Coast Titans.
The seasoned pair will go up against four coaches who are leading the fortunes of an Intrust Super Cup team for the first time in 2020.
They are Keiron Lander (Ipswich Jets), Michael Crawley (Mackay Cutters), Matt Church (PNG Hunters) and Sam Mawhinney (Sunshine Coast).
Mawhinney last year guided the Falcons to their first Hastings Deering Colts premiership.
The Falcons begin their premiership defence with a Round 1 clash against the Redcliffe Dolphins next weekend.
Tweed Seagulls, the 2019 Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup premiers, are drawn to play the Northern Pride in the opening round.
All 2020 Statewide Competitions will be officiated by match officials involved in the QRL Referees’ High Performance program.
Containers for Change branding will feature on the front of referees’ uniforms after the Queensland recycler formed a partnership with the QRL to engage all stakeholders to improve the state’s sustainability and recycling habits.
Via engagement with members, participants, clubs and partners, the initiative will appeal to clubs and individuals to sign up for a scheme account, allowing much needed fundraising dollars to be achieved for grassroots clubs.