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Partnerships generate momentum ahead of season opener

Fresh playing groups, the support of new partners and the “spirit of togetherness” were major talking points as rival players from Queensland’s premier men’s and women’s statewide competitions faced off today.

The men’s Hostplus Cup kicks off this weekend with four matches on Saturday and three Sunday fixtures, including the clash between last year’s premiers the Norths Devils and the Townsville Blackhawks.

Key Devils forward Michael Sio last season played a pivotal role in the Devils’ first premiership since 1998, and today he stared down Seagulls grand final rival Sam Scarlett as part of the QRL’s media launch.

Sio and Scarlett were joined by two rising stars of the female game, with Jasmin Kemp representing 2021 premiers the Burleigh Bears and Patrice Chambers wearing the green and red of the Wynnum Manly Seagulls.

Bring on Hostplus Cup and BMD Premiership

The two teams will meet in Round 1 of the newly-named BMD Premiership on March 26.

In a coup for female rugby league in Queensland, BMD has assumed the naming rights of the statewide women’s competition for the next three years.

BMD will also feature on the sleeve of the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons jersey, and the group will proudly support the QRL’s Indigenous Round.

Like the women’s competition, the premier men’s trophy will also have a new name attached to it this year with the Hostplus Cup now a sought after piece of silverware for 14 teams who will contest 20 rounds and a four-week finals series.

The rebranding follows a merger between Hostplus and long-term partner Intrust Super.

QRL chief executive Rohan Sawyer acknowledged the commitment of both BMD and Hostplus at today’s media call.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have two dedicated partners who share our passion for supporting participants, clubs and communities across the state,” Sawyer said.

“Their investment allows us to do what we do best – and that is facilitating sustainable competitions for participants and fans to enjoy their rugby league each week.

“Both competitions produced epic grand finals last year, and I’m sure this year’s football will go to a whole new level after seeing some of the hard work that clubs have put in during the pre-season.”

BMD Group director and chief executive officer Scott Power said his organisation was thrilled to support the competition and its aspiring participants.

“BMD is proud to be partnering with QRL and fully support them in their strategy to increase participation and engagement in female rugby league,” Power said.

“The inclusion of women in the engineering and construction industry remains a key focus for our business, so we feel that this partnership with QRLW is a fantastic alignment of our shared vision and objective to improve participation and pathways for women in our respective industries, both of which are currently underrepresented.”

While the football will be fiercely-contested as the Hostplus Cup teams look to make an early mark on Round 1, there will be a softer touch to the weekend’s action as well with QRL celebrating Harmony Round.

The round will be played in conjunction with Harmony Week, which is a time to celebrate multiculturalism and is all about promoting inclusiveness, respect and belonging.

With the opening kick-off just days away, fans are encouraged to subscribe to the QPlus.tv platform, the home for livestreaming in Queensland.

The QPlus.tv platform will feature all QRL statewide competitions as well as regional and representative fixtures that have previously been livestreamed.

More than 400 games will be streamed to QPlus.tv in 2022, including all Hostplus Cup, BMD Premiership, Hastings Deering Colts, Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup, Harvey Norman Under 19 and Cyril Connell Challenge games.

The first round of the Hostplus Cup and BMD Premiership are free as a trial for fans, who have already watched more than 5800 hours of content on QPlus.tv in the opening rounds of the junior competitions.

Tweed Seagulls and Brisbane Tigers will have the honour of bringing in the new Hostplus Cup season this weekend.

The other Saturday matches to follow see the Mackay Cutters taking on the PNG Hunters, Ipswich Jets at home to the Northern Pride and the Redcliffe Dolphins in action against the Sunshine Coast Falcons.

On Sunday, Wynnum Manly host the Burleigh Bears, Souths Logan Magpies play the Central Queensland Capras, and the Devils travel to Townsville for their opening clash against the Blackhawks.

Acknowledgement of Country

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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