Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles preview
3 hours ago | Tim Costello
An explosive Sunday afternoon grand final re-match between the Burleigh Bears and Redcliffe Dolphins will headline Round 1 of the 2017 Intrust Super Cup season on the first weekend in March.
With a passionate Redcliffe crowd tipped to turn out in big numbers, the Channel 9 match-of-the-round between last year's September rivals will set the tone for another captivating season.
After falling one win short of lifting their first top grade trophy since 2006, the Dolphins will be eager to get one back on the Bears and kick-start their 2017 campaign in style.
The stakes will be just as high in the north during the opening round when the Mackay Cutters host the Northern Pride at BB Print Stadium.
The match will commemorate 10 years since the two clubs met in their first Cup encounter, won 44-16 by the Pride.
The northern clubs have come a long way since their entry into the competition in 2008, with the Pride claiming two premierships (2010 & 2014) and the Cutters sweeping all before them in 2013.
The 2017 Intrust Super Cup commences on the weekend of March 4-5 and will include the following Feature Rounds:
• Play NRL Round - Round 3 (March 18-19)
• Zaidee's Foundation Round - Round 5 (April 1-2)
• XXXX Rivalry Round - Round 6 (April 8-9)
• Indigenous Round - Round 17 (July 1-2)
• Men of League & NRL Foundation Round - Round 19 (July 15-16)
• ‘Get in the Game' Country Week - Round 20 (July 22-23)
• Women in League Round - Round 22 (August 5-6)
• Turn to Me Round - Round 25 (August 26-27)
The competition will be played over 25 rounds, with all clubs having 11 home games, 11 away games and two byes in addition to the popular Country Week Round.
QRL Head of Football Neil Wharton said all clubs were granted their priority requests following consultation with Competitions Manager Dave Maiden.
"It's not an easy task to put a draw together of this magnitude and meet the requests of all the clubs," Wharton said.
"To be able to have an 11 home and 11 away (fixture season), a full round of Country Week matches and two byes that will potentially help teams with their run into the big games at the back end of the season speaks volumes about the work Dave has put in."
Wharton said Country Week in Round 20 again promised to be a wonderful occasion for so many.
"This initiative is an outstanding opportunity for us to showcase our premier competition throughout the whole of Queensland," Wharton said.
"We're really pleased to accept the support of the Queensland Government who have actually increased their funding over the next three years.
"This will allow us to take games to remote areas. Country Week is a great concept and it is one that we thoroughly enjoy, but more importantly it's about providing opportunities for players and local communities."