The Intrust Super Cup uses this weekend’s Round 20 to take the game of rugby league to the fans, to real rugby league supporters who deserve a taste of the live stuff.
This is the fifth time an entire round has been dedicated to taking the game on the road. It is one of the rounds to look forward as the season kicks off. Mount Isa, Gympie, Ravenshoe and more are treated to a very decent spectacle.
Sure it is only second tier Intrust Super but that doesn’t mean the rugby league will be second rate. Some of the sides in the competition would trouble some lowly NRL. Most would beat Newcastle.
As the dreamer and rugby league romantic I am, I would love to see this replicated in the NRL.
But like an Australian version of the Super League’s Magic Weekend or Challenge Cup it is an idea too far out of the box for the NRL.
Their best ideas appear to revolve around themes that almost seem like the importance is on buying the new jersey, ‘Superhero Round’ being the nadir.
No doubt there’ll be arguments that this kind of country excursion should be limited to the lower ebbs of the rugby league pyramid. Or that some clubs would lose more than others. But if the NRL forced all teams to give at least one home game over a two year cycle or all teams once in a season it would work out.
It works best though when packaged together as an entire week of country football like this weekend’s Queensland Cup.
The shortfall in revenue for clubs could be topped up by the governing body who sit on an extraordinary amount of money after TV deal. Give every team in that round the same money. Plus clubs can sell game to the highest bidder.
It’s not always about the money though, clubs would be doing a good deed for regional areas which get bugger all usually.
Perhaps as a compromise the NRL could the short round games during Origin out to the bush, where only four games are played on a weekend.
It’s not as if anyone is overly interested in the NRL during the Origin spotlight. The NRL certainly don’t appear interested in the competition at that time. Take it to fans who might be! It’s worth a thought anyway.
This week’s country week games: (Featuring our match preview in 25 words or less)
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES v NORTHS DEVILS @ Barcaldine
Norths without Francis Molo for obvious reasons – Magpies in hunt for six having beaten Townsville and Easts in last three weeks.
BURLEIGH BEARS v IPSWICH JETS @ Charleville
Two of the comp’s in form teams having won six and five in a row respectively. Ipswich climbed from second last to top five. Bears on top of everyone.
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS v CENTRAL CAPRAS @ Mount Isa
Townsville are on the slide with four losses in five for the once invincible Blackhawks. Central are almost out of finals contention.
MACKAY CUTTERS v WYNNUM SEAGULLS @ Moranbah
Wynnum on another roll, but this game is closer to Mackay than Wynnum.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS v TWEED HEADS SEAGULLS @ Gympie
Gold Coast based Tweed Heads come to the former Gold Rush town looking for a golden two points. Loss will just about rule out finals.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS v NORTHERN PRIDE @ Ravenshoe
Dolphins just got home against the Hunters, and won this match last year in Innisfail.
PNG HUNTERS v EASTS TIGERS @ Port Moresby
The last time the Hunters lost in Papua New Guinea was to Easts two years ago. Pity their away form isn’t as intimidating.
COUNTRY WEEK TIPS:
Magpies to beat Devils
Ipswich +5.5 start v Bears
Blackhawks to beat Capras
Wynnum to beat Cutters
Falcons to beat Tweed Heads
Dolphins to beat Pride
Tigers + 6.5 start v Papua New Guinea
PREVIOUS YEAR’S ADVENTURES
Take a trip down memory lane to see just how far the Queensland Cup has travelled in the past few seasons.
2015: Dalby, Blackall, Bundaberg, Charters Towers, Innisfail, Stanthorpe, Port Moresby.
2014: Longreach, Emerald, Moranbah, Mareeba, Kingaroy, Kokopo (Papua New Guinea)
2013: Burleigh, Roma, Whitsundays, Woodford, Toowoomba, Yarrabah
2012: A big blank in our history – anyone remember where the games were played?