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QRL releases junior statewide competitions draws

After the recent release of the Intrust Super Cup and BHP Premiership draws, the Queensland Rugby League have today shared the 2021 draws for four more statewide competitions, including two exciting new offerings for talented young players.

“To be able to put on six competitions at statewide level and provide pathways for male and female participants, regardless of your postcode – that’s exciting for us,” competitions manager Dave Maiden said.

Following an extensive strategic review to support and enhance player development and pathways across Queensland, season 2021 will see the Hastings Deering Colts contested over 16 rounds and cater for under 21 players.

Defending champions Sunshine Coast Falcons will face off against Ipswich Jets in their Round 1 opening clash, with Mackay Cutters and Western Mustangs launching the season at BB Print Stadium on Saturday, April 10.

The Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup under 18 competition will feature 15 teams playing six rounds within four regional conferences with state semi-finals and finals also held.

Tweed Seagulls, who won the under 18 national title in 2019, will host Ipswich Jets at Piggabeen Sports Complex on Saturday, March 6 to open Round 1 with Burleigh Bears and Souths Logan Magpies also playing a Saturday game.

“While playing in pools is tough … we still have a statewide option for 18s in terms of playing finals and getting a result out of the efforts they put into the pre-season and it's based around the player and coach development framework and how we create opportunities for participants – whether that be coach, manager, player or trainer," Maiden said.

The under 16 Cyril Connell Challenge has been introduced for the 2021 season and will align to the under 18 competitions, except that teams will play three matches with no finals.

All Intrust Super Cup clubs, excluding the PNG Hunters, will have teams contesting the under 16 competition in addition to Western Mustangs and Wide Bay Bulls.

“We were very proud to bring back the name of Cyril Connell, who was synonymous with identifying young talent, and that’s exactly what the 16s is meant to do... expose young talent at an early age, provide them with opportunities to showcase their talents to a broader audience, and to bring back the Cyril Connell Challenge is something we are very proud of,” Maiden said.

Another exciting addition to the statewide competitions calendar is the Harvey Norman Under 19 competition which will be played within regional conferences in 2021 to complement the BHP Premiership that launched in 2020.

There are 13 competing clubs, with teams to play three matches across six rounds.

“The Harvey Norman Under 19s was designed to be a small, short taster without maximum commitment, basically self-funded through new investment in the game and meant to get our Intrust Super Cup club's brands into the female space at the entry level,” Maiden said.

With six competitions taking place through the 2021 season showcasing the great talent spread across the state, it’s a great chance for rugby league fans to support their clubs and soak in the action. 

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