Intrust Super Cup clubs have applauded the NRL's move to modify the National Youth Competition as they up the ante in their preparations for the brand new under-20s FOGS Cup that kicks off on Saturday.
Introduced this year, The FOGS Cup is a Queensland-wide under-20s competition that will run at the start the 2017 season in preparation for the disbandment of the current NYC format in 2018.
The NYC will be no more after this season, with the NRL instead implementing two new state-based under-20s competitions from 2018.
The Queensland Rugby League has moved quickly to get one step ahead, with the under-20s FOGS Cup set to kick off tomorrow with the first round of fixtures.
Speaking at the Intrust Super Cup season launch, Sunshine Coast Falcons CEO Chris Flannery said the under-20s FOGS Cup is the perfect pre-cursor to the new format next year.
"It's a really good lead-in for the boys next year," Flannery said.
"They will get their head around travelling and get to play some really good teams from all around the state.
"I think it's a really good initiative.
"Next year will also be great as there will be an influx of young guys from the NYC coming back to their clubs like the Falcons, Easts, and Redcliffe.
"I'm really looking forward to it all."
The new formatting of the under-20s in 2018 will do a lot for player welfare after many young men from the NYC struggled to adapt to life after the competition.
It will also do wonders for Intrust Super Cup sides, with a plethora of talent returning to the local clubs they first started their careers at.
For Ipswich Jets CEO Jason Cubit these are two of the most important factors about the change.
Speaking exclusively to NRL.com, Cubit said rugby league could only prosper with the upcoming changes.
"Kids have had to move away from home and sign with an NRL club, and that's meant they've had to leave clubs like us," Cubit said.
"The data is there to show that over the 10 years of the NYC competition, that type of system has not worked.
"Only 10 per cent of kids that play in that competition end up signing an NRL deal.
"The NRL have looked at that, looked at the player welfare issues, and then addressed it by putting more emphasis on the state cups.
"This provides a better pathway for those kids coming through. It's a great move that the Ipswich Jets fully support.
"The QRL have done well by starting a year early with the under-20s FOGS Cup and I’m sure it will be a real success."
The under-20s FOGS Cup will run from the 4th of March, with the grand final to be played on Sunday May 7th at Dolphin Oval.