The stakes will be high in the north during the opening round of the 2017 Intrust Super Cup when the Mackay Cutters host the Northern Pride at BB Print Stadium.
>>> View 2017 draw
The Queensland Rugby League released the competition draw today, with the round 1 Cutters v Pride match commemorating 10 years since the two clubs met in their first Cup encounter, won 44-16 by the Pride.
The northern clubs have come a long way since their entry into the competition in 2008, with the Pride claiming two premierships (2010 & 2014) and the Cutters sweeping all before them in 2013.
The third North Queensland Toyota Cowboys feeder club, Townsville Blackhawks, will open their season with an away game against Norths Devils.
The 2017 Intrust Super Cup commences on the weekend of 4-5 March and will include the following feature rounds:
The competition will be played over 25 rounds, with all clubs having 11 home games, 11 away games and two byes in addition to the popular Country Week round.
QRL Head of Football Neil Wharton said all clubs were granted their priority requests following consultation with Competitions Manager Dave Maiden.
“It’s not an easy task to put a draw together of this magnitude and meet the requests of all the clubs,” Wharton said.
“To be able to have an 11 home and 11 away (fixture season), a full round of Country Week matches and two byes that will potentially help teams with their run into the big games at the back end of the season speaks volumes about the work Dave has put in.”
Wharton said Country Week in Round 20 again promised to be a wonderful occasion for so many.
“This initiative is an outstanding opportunity for us to showcase our premier competition throughout the whole of Queensland,” Wharton said.
“We’re really pleased to accept the support of the Queensland Government who have actually increased their funding over the next three years.
“This will allow us to take games to remote areas. Country Week is a great concept and it is one that we thoroughly enjoy, but more importantly it’s about providing opportunities for players and local communities.”