2016 Intrust Super Cup draw released
The Ipswich Jets will launch their Intrust Super Cup title defence with successive games on home soil including a blockbuster grand final rematch against Townsville in Round 2 of the 2016 season.
The complete 2016 Intrust Super Cup draw was released by the Queensland Rugby League on Tuesday with a greater emphasis on local derbies and with each of the 14 teams to receive two byes in the 25-week season.
Given that six members of the squad that first defeated the Blackhawks and then the Newcastle Knights in the State Championship Final are now training with NRL clubs and inspirational skipper Keiron Lander has retired it will be a new-look Ipswich team that is unveiled when they take on Norths Devils at North Ipswich Reserve on the weekend of March 5-6.
Runners-up the Blackhawks will also launch their 2016 campaign at home when they host the Adam Mogg-coached Redcliffe Dolphins at Jack Manski Oval with new CQ Capras coach Kim Williams returning to familiar territory when his team travels to Mackay to face the Cutters.
Craig Ingebrigtsen's first game in charge of the Sunshine Coast Falcons will be an emotional one as the Ackerman Family Trust Fund will be one of the beneficiaries of Zaidee's Rainbow Foundation Round that will shed light on the issue of organ and tissue donation. The Falcons host the Northern Pride in Round 1.
Other Round 1 clashes see Tweed Heads hosting Easts, Burleigh travelling to BMD Kougari Oval to face Wynnum and Souths Logan welcoming the always entertaining PNG Hunters to Davies Park.
There are a host of mouth-watering games in Round 2 headlined by the grand final rematch between the Jets and Blackhawks that will be the centrepiece of Ipswich's Defence Force Appreciation initiative.
The first of two Gold Coast derbies between Burleigh and Tweed Heads will take place at Pizzey Park, Ingebrigtsen faces his former Tigers team at Langlands Park, the Northern Pride and Mackay engage in a battle of the north and Wynnum Manly host the Hunters.
The season will culminate with the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday, September 25 and QRL Competitions Manager Dave Maiden said that with an inability for each team to play each other twice a greater emphasis was placed on local rivalries.
"After consultation with our clubs we have endeavoured to place a priority on local derbies to ensure the competition's biggest rivals meet twice," Maiden said.
"This will help generate further excitement and will allow clubs to attract more fans through the gates."