TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS v MACKAY CUTTERS
4.30pm, Saurday 7 March, Jack Manski Oval
Referee: Liam Kennedy
Head-to-head: First game
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #TSVBvMC

It will be an historic day for the Townsville Blackhawks at Jack Manski Oval playing their first Intrust Super Cup match, and they’ve pulled out a solid starting outfit littered with Origin and first grade experience to take on fellow North Queensland Cowboys feeder club Mackay Cutters.

Former Maroon Neville Costigan leads a powerful forward pack that includes captain Dan Beasley and former Cowboys Ricky Thorby and Anthony Mitchell.

There’ll be a little extra rivalry between the two with Rhyse Martin taking on his brother Tyson who has been named at 12 for the Cutters.

Mackay will field a different team to the one that finished last season, but it’s hardly low on firepower with new five-eighth Cameron Cullen and Cowboy Tautau Moga to feature in the backline.

EAST TIGERS v NORTHERN PRIDE
1.40pm, Sunday 8 March, Tapout Energy Stadium (live on Gem)
Referee: Chris Anderson
Head-to-head: Pride 12 Easts 5
Twitter: #intrustsupercup #TIGESvPRIDE

This is the blockbuster game for round 1 of the competition, with last year’s Cup winners the Northern Pride up against beaten finalists the Tigers.

One of the big talking points is former Pride player Shaun Nona playing at 6 for the Easts.

After his breakthrough season with the Cairns-based side, Nona is now contracted at the Melbourne Storm and faces off against his old teammates.

In a boost for the defending champions, Cowboys Lachlan Coote and Cameron King will be itching to put in a big performance to get some miles back in the legs after coming back from injury last season.