The cream of the Intrust Super competitions get their chance to shine over the International weekend as the Queensland Residents take on their NSW counterparts at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park in Brisbane on Sunday afternoon.
This game has found a nice little place in the calendar, and it is no less than the contest deserves, whereas previously it was played as a curtain raiser for Origin. And although the Intrust Super Cup and Premiership are classed as second tier competitions, the quality often isn’t too far away from what some of the NRL clubs are offering up, and hopefully the game on Sunday will show this.
The Residents clash may even get bigger in the near future, as the National Youth competition is scrapped from next year in favour of sending those players into the Intrust Super Clubs systems. We may see even more future stars in this fixture from next year. And it may become like the State Championship on NRL Grand Final day, and grow on rugby league fans.
Onto the game on Sunday, and although it could be unfairly referred to as the poor person’s Origin, the $10 entry fee and relaxed atmosphere of one of the best suburban grounds in Australia makes it a great day out if one is inclined to come along to Coorparoo.
LAST TIME OUT
NSW won their first interstate series of the year in 2016 when the NSW Residents representing the Intrust Super Premiership beat the Maroons from the Intrust Super Cup 30-16.
The Blues ran in six tries to three, and featured a hat trick to Ken Maumolo, who these days features for the Warriors.
The key moment came in the 21st minute when Jahrome Hughes was taken from the field after copping a blow to the head whilst scoring the Queensland side’s first try. The promising fullback is back this year to make amends, and is one I would certainly nominate to keep an eye on.
Queensland were down 14-10 at half time, and with an overall completion rate of 58% were not able to hold onto the ball long enough to threaten the NSW side. NSW kicked on in the second half to register the 30-16 win.
Has to be the halves. NSW features the Roosters fringe combination of Jayden Nikorima and Mitch Cornish currently plying their trade with the Wyong Roos, and that combination at club level will help steer the NSW side smoothly.
Queensland had originally selected the same way with both Easts Tigers halves Brodie Croft and Billy Walters, but Croft is no longer in the team and has been replaced by the very capable Kyle Laybutt who wasn’t far away from a call up for the Cowboys to replace Thurston. With such a short preparation, that Wyong combination will be a huge advantage.
Another point of interest will be seeing Mitch Rein in action for the NSW Residents. His move to Penrith hasn’t quite worked out yet, but a big showing here could be just what he and the struggling Panthers need. It will be an interesting battle when the outstanding Redcliffe utility Christian Hazard comes off the bench to presumably play hooker.
Queensland Residents look slightly stronger overall than their NSW counterparts, but they did last year too and were knocked over by the Blues. The NSW halves is a big advantage though.
Very hard to pick, so why not tip Queensland to win by 1 point.
QUEENSLAND RESIDENTS SIDE
1. Jahrome Hughes – Sunshine Coast Falcons
2. Jonus Pearson – Redcliffe Dolphins
3. Tom Opacic – Redcliffe Dolphins
4. Scott Doyle – Souths Logan Magpies
5. Delouise Hoeter – Norths Devils
6. Billy Walters – Easts Tigers
7. Kyle Laybutt – Townsville Blackhawks
8. Sam Anderson – Redcliffe Dolphins
9. Mitch Cronin – Wynnum Manly Seagulls
10. Nathaniel Neale – Ipswich Jets
11. Dean Britt – Easts Tigers
12. Blake Leary – Townsville Blackhawks
13. Mitchell Frei – Wynnum Manly Seagulls
14. Christian Hazard – Redcliffe Dolphins
15. Nick Slyney – Redcliffe Dolphins
16. George Fai – Souths Logan Magpies
17. Joe Boyce – Souths Logan Magpies
18. Lachlan Timm – Sunshine Coast Falcons
Coach: Jon Buchanan (Souths Logan Magpies)
NSW RESIDENTS SIDE
1. Dylan Edwards (Penrith Panthers)
2. Chris Centrone (Wyong Roos)
3. Jordan Drew (Newtown Jets)
4. Matt Allwood (New Zealand Warriors)
5. Bureta Faraimo (Wentworthville Magpies)
6. Jayden Nikorima (Wyong Roos)
7. Mitch Cornish (c) (Wyong Roos)
8. Andy Saunders (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
9. Mitch Rein (Penrith Panthers)
10. Moses Leota (Penrith Panthers)
11. Jack Williams (Newtown Jets)
12. Asipeli Fine (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
13. Cheyne Whitelaw (North Sydney Bears)
14. Tyrone May (Penrith Panthers)
15. Tautalatasi Tasi (North Sydney Bears)
16. Lindsay Collins (Wyong Roos)
17. Toafofoa Sipley (New Zealand Warriors)
18. Josh King (Newcastle Knights)
19. Nick Meaney (Newcastle Knights)
COACH: Rip Taylor (Wyong Roos)
ASSISTANT COACH: Steve Georgallis (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)