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Round 1 preview: The competition is back

It's been a long time coming, but the Intrust Super Cup returns this weekend with players and fans eager to be part of the action.

Plenty has changed since the forced cancellation of the competition following Round 1 last year, including some new rule changes and the relocation of the PNG Hunters to Runaway Bay for the duration of the season.

This weekend, all teams will aim to start their 2021 season with a bang and set themselves up for a big season ahead.

PNG Hunters v Wynnum Manly Seagulls
Head-to-head: PNG Hunters 7, Wynnum Manly Seagulls 4
Hashtags: #intrustsupercup #PNGvWYN
Broadcast: Kayo Saturdays via Kayo Freebies

  • Runaway Bay’s Bycroft Oval hosts it first Intrust Super Cup game and what a contest it is shaping up to be with the Hunters playing their first game of the year at their adopted home ground for 2021.
  • They’ll go up against an extremely strong Wynnum Manly team bolstered by the inclusion of Broncos Keenan Palasia, Jesse Arthars and Richard Kennar.
  • Having spent 31 days in quarantine as part of a thorough relocation process, the Hunters have endured a challenging preparation. However, they have assembled an experienced support staff roster that will ensure head coach Matt Church has everything he needs to get the Hunters firing early in the competition.
  • The Hunters will wear black armbands and observe a minutes silence to pay their respects to the late Sir Michael Somare before kick-off.
  • This match will be streamed live via Kayo as part of an exclusive broadcast arrangement with Australia’s biggest sports streaming service.

Hunters lock Alu grateful for Cup opportunity

Sunshine Coast Falcons v Northern Pride
Head-to-head: Sunshine Coast Falcons 12, Northern Pride 11
Hashtags: #intrustsupercup #SCFvPRIDE

  • An exciting opening round match up awaits with both teams loaded with attacking firepower.
  • In Nicho Hynes, Jack Howarth, Cooper Johns and Trent Loiero, the Falcons are armed with an abundance of emerging NRL talent.
  • Although a daunting first round assignment, Pride fans shouldn’t discount their team’s chances. Rod Griffin, Jayden Hodges and Ben Hampton provide experience and much needed direction, while coach Ty Williams has plenty of pace in the outside backs.
  • Before the cancellation of last year’s competition, the Pride had lost 10-straight games away from home. They will have to play well to overcome that factor, with the Sunshine Coast having won the past three games between these two sides at Kawana.

Tweed Seagulls v Central Queensland Capras
Head-to-head: Tweed Seagulls 25, Central 7, drawn 1
Hashtags: #intrustsupercup #TWEEDvCQC

  • After persistent rain on the coast, this match has been moved to Tugun. The move away from Tweed’s Piggabeen fortress is a blow of sorts, but one the Seagulls will be confident of overcoming.
  • Tweed have won 16 of the past 17 games between these two sides in a dominant head-to-head record.
  • For the Capras, local favourite Guy Williams will coach the team in an Intrust Super Cup fixture match for the first time. Williams played 216 games for the Capras, who will this year field one of the most inexperienced teams in the competition.
  • The battle of the halves should be an intriguing tussle, with the Seagulls to roll out the new combination of Lindon McGrady and former Australian schoolboy Toby Sexton. Williams will be looking for captain Jack Madden and five-eighth Radean Robinson to make an instant impact.

Ipswich Jets v Townsville Blackhawks
Head-to-head: Townsville Blackhawks 7, Ipswich Jets 6
Hashtags: #intrustsupercup #JETSvTSVB

  • The annual Defence Force Appreciation Day will add plenty of colour and excitement to a huge day of rugby league at the North Ipswich Reserve.  
  • While Townsville have won three of the past four games between these two sides, Ipswich does have its own bragging rights after beating the Blackhawks in the 2015 grand final.
  • Townsville will unleash a formidable forward pack, which will be guided by former Courier Mail best and fairest Josh Chudleigh. They also have NRL experience to draw on in the backs, with Josh Hoffman to wear the No. 1 jersey and Justin O’Neill named at centre.
  • Ipswich will look to fullback Jayden Connors and hooker Kierran Moseley to spark their attack under new coach Keiron Lander.
  • International star Kalifa Faifai Loa plays his 50th game for the Blackhawks, and his 113th

Mackay Cutters v Redcliffe Dolphins
Head-to-head: Redcliffe 12, Mackay 9, drawn 2
Hashtags: #intrustsupercup #CUTTERSvPHINS

  • Mackay’s BB Print Stadium will see the Cutters at home to a visiting Redcliffe Dolphins side brimming with talent, with players from new NRL affiliate club New Zealand Warriors like Kane Evans and Pride Peterson-Roboti named to play.
  • The Cutters will look to their forwards including Ross Bella and Cowboys contingent Ben Condon, Shane Wright and Maori All Star representative Emry Pere to lead the way.
  • The home side have recorded six wins and a draw in the 11 games played between these two sides in Mackay. However, the Cutters have lost their past five home games, including their Round 1 opener last year, a 23-22 loss to Norths Devils.
  • The Dolphins have some strong away form on their side and have won five of their past six games on the road.

Mogg joined by Hodges and Hill at Dolphins

Brisbane Tigers v Norths Devils
Head-to-head: Tigers 24, Norths Devils 23, drawn 3 
Hashtags: #intrustsupercup #TIGESvDEVILS

  • Now known as Brisbane Tigers, the home side will be hoping to start their new life under their new name with a win when they host cross-town rivals Norths Devils.
  • In an interesting quirk, the away team has won 13 of the past 14 games played between these two sides. Home fans have not seen a win since Norths were able to claim a victory in 2012. In that time, there has also been a draw played out at Langlands Park in 2016.
  • The Tigers have also struggled in their more recent matches and lost four of their past five games at their Coorparoo ground. However, they did secure a big win to open the 2020 season, defeating the Central Queensland Capras 44-4.
  • Norths have won three of their past four and five of their past seven away games.

Souths Logan Magpies v Burleigh Bears 
Head-to-head: Burleigh 27, Souths Logan 13, drawn 3
Hashtags: #intrustsupercup #SLMvBEARS
Broadcast: Intrust Super Sundays via Kayo Freebies, 9NowQRL.com.au, Intrust Super Cup app and Intrust Super Cup Facebook.

  • The only Sunday match of the round sees a new-look Souths Logan Magpies take on the last team to hold the premiership cup aloft in the Burleigh Bears. New faces in the Souths Logan squad for Round 1 include former Queensland Maroons player Karmichael Hunt who has been named in the centres and ex-Newcastle Knights prop Tyrone Amey.
  • Fittingly for a team that has featured at the top of the competition for the past few seasons, Burleigh have won the past four games played between these two sides.
  • Souths Logan will be aiming to reverse their recent home form which has seen them lose their past three games at Davies Park.
  • The Burleigh have won their last five games overall and have also been victorious in six of their past seven games on the road.

*Statistics by Brad Tallon

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