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'I'm secretly a Wests supporter, so I hope they take it out'

The local can bar will once again become the 'home away from home' for many urban revellers from this weekend, as the In Safe Hands Cup makes its highly-anticipated return.

As a passionate mud and bloods supporter, no one is more excited for its resumption than In Safe Hands CEO Michael Pecic.

The Brisbane small business is the largest provider of child protection and safety training throughout Australia and will partner with Queensland's most elite community rugby league competition for a fourth-straight year.

"My passion is always about local sport and I'm a mad rugby league supporter so to be able to sponsor the Brisbane Rugby League A Grade is a great privilege," Pecic said.

"It's great to see the number of supporters at local games continue to increase and I think in the current climate, it's great to have local footy back in the community for people to enjoy - especially for mental health and also from a fitness and a social perspective as well."

In Safe Hands have been supporting the Brisbane Rugby League since 2017.
In Safe Hands have been supporting the Brisbane Rugby League since 2017.

An exciting change was made to the format at the end of last season, with Intrust Super Cup clubs withdrawing their direct team presence to instead form affiliation relationships with community teams in an effort to expand the competition and create more opportunities for players at the local level.

This move led to the inclusion of Brighton Roosters, Bulimba Bulldogs, Carina Tigers, Normanby Hounds and Pine Rivers Bears; joining Valleys Diehards, Wests Panthers and Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the revamped competition.

"It's a pat on the back to the game's development that clubs have been supported enough to be able to grow and expand," Pecic said.

"I think the decision to level the playing field a little bit with the new affiliation to Intrust Super Cup teams is a great step in the right direction.

"Even though they're [Intrust Super Cup] not playing this year, having that clear pathway for local footballers means that our local competitions become stronger and stronger."

The inclusion of more local teams will also hope to inspire more rivalries between adversaries.

"My favourite element of the BRL is the healthy traditional rivalry between all the teams, especially with likes of Valleys and Wests," Pecic said.

"This is what I grew up with when I used to go with my dad to the local footy and although it's all in good spirit, the rivalry is definitely there and it's good to be around."

Wynnum clinched last year's premiership over Valleys in an absolute nail-biter.
Wynnum clinched last year's premiership over Valleys in an absolute nail-biter.

This weekend, Normanby hosts Wynnum, Bulimba take on Carina and Pecic's beloved Panthers travel to Brighton.

"I'm secretly a Wests supporter, so I'm hoping they take it out," Pecic said.

"I've got some good friends there and my boys play at Wests Arana so it'll be good to see the western corridor back in the limelight.

"They've had a huge amount of changes this year, so it'll be interesting to see how they go."

Round 1 will also see Valleys up against Pine Rivers, with all eyes on former Queensland Maroons star Scott Prince, who is set to make his club debut.

 

We have a King and now a Prince in the royal blue. Yes you can believe your eyes, the legendary Scott Prince will...

Posted by Valleys Diehards on Monday, 8 June 2020

"Valleys is always strong, but adding Scotty Prince makes them even stronger," Pecic said.

"I'm actually most excited about how some of the new teams are going to play, and how they break up some of the players the previous teams had last year, because there were some really good young players coming through last year.

"I think it's going to be a very even competition... I don't really see a clear-cut favourite across all teams.

"Maybe Prince's input at Valleys puts them just ahead of the pack."

Click here to view the In Safe Hands Cup draw.

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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