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Cairns to return with new challenge

The pride and joy of far North Queensland is making a comeback.

Despite making an early call to cancel the 2020 Cairns District Rugby League season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent easing of restrictions intensified the appetite for footy to make a triumphant return in the far north; and a decision to come back, albeit in an abridged format, has been green-lighted.

The 'Lightning Challenge' will commence on August 8 and features Cairns Brothers, Tully and two teams from the Northern Pride - incorporating a mix of the club's Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup, Hastings Deering Colts and Intrust Super Cup players.

Speaking to the Cairns Post after the decision, CDRL chair Colin Moore said whilst clubs would not play for the traditional premiership, there would still be a winner at its completion.

"We’ll still do points and for-and-against, but the idea is not to have it as a competition,” Moore said.

“It’s more a bit of a challenge and just getting the players back on the paddock.”

Each team is set to play each other twice over six weeks, concluding on September 12.

“It will be held over six weeks, with each club hosting two double-headers at their home grounds,” Moore said.

“We’re just trying to be positive and hoping that it will allow us to get more people through the gate.”

The decision on playing lower grades hasn't been confirmed yet, and could still be a possibility should there be enough interest for a return.

Main image: Cairns District Rugby League action. Photo: Maria Girgenti