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United for the Tigers: Brisbane hopeful of breaking NRL State Championship drought

The Brisbane Tigers will look to break a seven-year State Championship drought for the Hostplus Cup, when they line up as the first of three Queensland teams on NRL grand final day.

The last Cup team to overcome their New South Wales counterparts in the annual NRL State Championship showdown was the Ipswich Jets in 2015, who defeated the Newcastle Knights 26-12.

The Burleigh Bears, Redcliffe Dolphins, PNG Hunters and Norths Devils have all tried since to bring the trophy back for the Hostplus Cup.

Now the Tigers will step up to the plate against the South Sydney Rabbitohs, after already making history this season when they claimed the club's first title in 32 years with their 22-18 grand final victory over Burleigh on September 17.

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With the Gold Coast Titans also taking on Newcastle in the NRLW grand final and the Brisbane Broncos meeting the Penrith Panthers in the NRL premiership decider on Sunday, there will be plenty of Queensland support at Sydney's Accor Stadium.

And Tigers coach Matt Church has called for fans to get behind his team as they look to get the Sunshine State off on the right foot.

"It adds a bit of a special maroon tinge that we’ve got a team in each competition," Church said.

"Hopefully it means there will be lots of Queenslanders down there and coming up against an iconic brand like the Rabbitohs, hopefully we can get a lot of support out there early and a lot of Queenslanders behind us.

"It’s highly important to not only represent our organisation in the Tigers but to represent our competition and state.

"Any opportunity to represent the maroon is a pretty prestigious honour and we’ll be putting our best foot forward on Sunday."

Coach Matt Church after the Brisbane Tigers' Hostplus Cup grand final victory. Photo: Zain Mohammed/QRL
Coach Matt Church after the Brisbane Tigers' Hostplus Cup grand final victory. Photo: Zain Mohammed/QRL

The NRL State Championship will kick off at 12.20pm AEST.

It will be the first appearance for both the Tigers and Rabbitohs at this level and Queensland Rugby League's competitions manager Dave Maiden said the clash is one that all teams in the Hostplus Cup aspire to.

Maiden said it was always a difficult task - particularly with the number of semi-professional players in the Hostplus Cup compared to the number of fulltime NRL players in NSW Cup - but it was one he knew the Tigers would be ready for.

"Our teams have always backed their own abilities and the Brisbane Tigers are no exception," Maiden said.

"They have shown this year that they are more than capable after a gruelling finals series... they are well-coached and prepared to take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs this weekend.

"We ask that all Queenslanders get behind the Tigers and head out early on Sunday to cheer on our players as the best of the Queensland and NSW clubs do battle against one another.

"We know they will do us proud."


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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