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NRL State Championship preview

The Brisbane Tigers will this Sunday aim to become the first Hostplus Cup team to take out the NRL State Championship since 2015.

After winning the 2023 Cup premiership in a strong performance against the Burleigh Bears on Sunday, September 17, the Tigers are back in action this weekend, in the opening match of NRL grand final day at Sydney's Accor Stadium.

Led by coach Matt Church and skipper Ryley Jacks, the Tigers will take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs, who overcame the North Sydney Bears in the NSW Cup grand final on Sunday, September 24.

The Tigers have been forced to make a few changes to their side with retiring fullback Corey Thompson away for family commitments while star hooker Tristan Hope was suspended for a dangerous contact charge out of the Cup grand final.

But, even with some fresh faces in the line-up, they are hopeful they can bring State Championship glory back to the competition, as they look to snap their second major drought this season.

Here is what you need to know about the 2023 NRL State Championship.

NRL State Championship 2023

Brisbane Tigers v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Where: Accor Stadium, Sydney
When: Sunday, October 1 at 12.20pm AEST (1.20pm AEDT)
Broadcast: Live and free on Nine

Brisbane Tigers coach Matt Church

This game, it's hugely important. Firstly, it’s about representing our competition. But it also puts a lot of our guys in the shop window. They’re all aspirational players so this is the best platform to push for the next level. With the week off after winning the Hostplus Cup grand final, we believe it gives us the best opportunity to match the NSW Cup sides. I know that on a personal level, I’d like to be known as the best team in the nation. But we know South Sydney will present a tough challenge. I watched their grand final on the weekend against the North Sydney Bears. They’ve got a big forward pack led by Shaq Mitchell but I believe their main threat is their halfback in Dean Hawkins, who will be looking to create opportunities for strike player Blake Taaffe out the back. We definitely have to be on our toes for that. I know for us come Sunday, it’s just about putting our best foot forward. At times when we haven’t played our best footy this year, it's because we’ve gone away from what works for us. We had a really great performance against Burleigh in the grand final. I know it will take a similar performance against the Rabbitohs on the weekend if we’re going to be lifting that trophy up on Sunday.

Brisbane Tigers' road to the NRL State Championship

Hostplus Cup ladder position: Third

Regular season results: 14 wins, five losses, one draw

Hostplus Cup grand final result: Brisbane Tigers 22 def Burleigh Bears 18

Pulu on the NRL State Championship: 'We want to push for more success'

South Sydney Rabbitohs' road to the NRL State Championship

NSW Cup ladder position: Second

Regular season results: 15 wins, nine losses

NSW Cup grand final result: South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 def North Sydney Bears 18

Previous NRL State Championship results

2014: Northern Pride 32 def Penrith Panthers 28
2015: Ipswich Jets 26 def Newcastle Knights 12
2016: Illawarra Cutters 54 def Burleigh Bears 12
2017: Penrith Panthers 42 def PNG Hunters 18
2018: Canterbury Bulldogs 42 def Redcliffe Dolphins 18
2019: Newtown Jets 20 def Burleigh Bears 16
2020: Cancelled due to COVID-19
2021: Cancelled due to COVID-19
2022: Penrith Panthers 44 def Norths Devils 10

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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