The 2022 Laurie Spina Shield is set to be a weekend to remember on a number of fronts.
Run by the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys, the LSS celebrates its landmark 25th anniversary in 2022 and – with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions – players will be welcomed on to the field of play prior to the Cowboys’ NRL game for the first time since 2019.
Sixty-six teams will play 224 games over the two-day carnival, which will be played at Townsville Brothers over April 1 and 2.
Teams will descend on Townsville from across Queensland, including Brisbane to the south, Mt Isa to the west and as far north as Cairns.
The LSS is an under 11s carnival with a focus on participation and sportsmanship.
One of the highlights of the carnival has traditionally been teams chosen to play curtain raiser games prior to Cowboys NRL games, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these games have not been played since 2019, which means Saturday will mark the first ever LSS games played at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Eight teams are set to participate in four games at QCB Stadium on Saturday prior to the Cowboys and Roosters showdown at 6.35pm. The North Queensland Toyota Gold Stars will also face the South Logan Magpies on Saturday afternoon.
The Fastest Feet Relay also returns for the first time since 2019, which sees more than 650 kids participating in a relay race across the QCB Stadium turf at halftime in the Cowboys game.
“The Laurie Spina Shield is the biggest rugby league carnival in the southern Hemisphere and the 2022 version is set to be one of our most memorable,” Cowboys Game Development Manager Jack Robotham said.
“We’re extremely excited to welcome our Laurie Spina Shield players back on to the field of play for the first time since 2019 – not just to play, but also for the Fastest Feet Relay.
“The kids also create a great atmosphere from the stands and will be right behind our Cowboys when they take on the Roosters.”