The Queensland Cup is the top level of rugby league football in Queensland, Australia. Run by the Queensland Rugby League (QRL), the competition is known as the Intrust Super Cup due to sponsorship from Intrust Super and is contested by fourteen teams, twelve of which are based in Queensland, with one based in New South Wales and one based in Papua New Guinea.
|Current season or competition:|
2018 Intrust Super Cup season
|Number of teams||14|
|Countries|| Australia (13 teams)|
Papua New Guinea (1 team)
|Premiers||Redcliffe Dolphins (6th title) (2018)|
|Most titles||Redcliffe Dolphins (6 titles)|
|Related competition||National Rugby League|
NRL State Championship
Intrust Super Premiership NSW
Hastings Deering Colts
The competition is the present-day embodiment of Queensland's top-level club competition. It replaced the Winfield State League in 1996 and accompanied the Brisbane Rugby League (BRL), before becoming the premier competition in 1998, following the disbanding of the BRL.
Origin and establishmentEdit
Since its inaugural season in 1922, the Brisbane Rugby League was the premier competition in the state of Queensland. Like its counterpart, the Sydney Rugby Football League, the Brisbane Rugby League was thriving, boasting big crowds and large, loyal supporter bases with their respective clubs. The clubs were constant, with new teams rarely entering the competition. However, in 1956, when poker machines ("pokies") were introduced in New South Wales but not in Queensland, Sydney's clubs were able to recruit the best players from Brisbane, Rugby Union and overseas. Within the space of several years, the Sydney Rugby League had come to dominate the code within Australia.
In the 1980s, the NSWRFL began to further expand and supersede the Brisbane competition in popularity and media coverage. In 1982, the first clubs based outside of Sydney, the Canberra Raiders and Illawarra Steelers, were admitted. In 1988, two Queensland-based sides, the Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast Giants, were formed and gained entry into the competition. The Broncos would sign Brisbane Rugby League stars like Wally Lewis, Gene Miles and Allan Langer. In the space of one season, media coverage and match attendance for the Brisbane Rugby League dropped significantly.
1996–1997: The beginningEdit
In 1996, the Queensland Cup was formed, replacing the Winfield State League, as new federal government laws banned cigarette companies from sponsoring sport. Originally branded the Channel Nine Cup, the 15 round regular season competition featured sixteen teams, fifteen from Queensland and one from Papua New Guinea. At this time it was still considered as the second highest competition in the state, under the BRL. The Toowoomba Clydesdales were crowned the inaugural premiers, defeating the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Grand Final. In 1997, three teams withdrew from the competition and the Burleigh Bears joined, becoming the first Gold Coast-based side.
1998–2002: Premier competitionEdit
In 1998, the competition became the top level of rugby league in the state, following the end of the BRL. Channel Nine also ended their sponsorship for the 1998 season, with competition going under name, the Queensland Cup. A sixteen-team competition returned in 1998, with the Bundaberg Grizzlies rejoining and the Gold Coast Vikings being formed.
In 2000, Bundaberg Rum began a two-year sponsorship of the competition and it was known as the Bundy Gold Cup. The 2000 season was also the first in which all twelve teams remained from the season prior. It would not last long though, as the Cairns Cyclones folded after the 2000 season, leaving no north Queensland representation in the competition. In 2002, the North Queensland Young Guns, a Townsville-based North Queensland Cowboys feeder club, were admitted into the competition. At the end of the 2002 season, the Logan Scorpions, an inaugural club, left the competition.
2003–2006: Interstate expansionEdit
In 2003, the Tweed Heads Seagulls joined the competition, becoming the first New South Wales-based side. The club had originally applied for the 2002 season but were unsuccessful. However, following a merger of the Logan Scorpions and Souths Magpies to form the Souths Logan Magpies, a spot was opened up and Tweed Heads were admitted. Another inaugural club would leave the competition in 2004, with the Wests Panthers exiting, and Brothers-Valleys, a merger of Past Brothers and the Fortitude Valley Diehards, joining for a single season.
In 2005, the competition became known as the Queensland Wizard Cup, after Wizard Home Loans became the major sponsor.
2007: Loss of the ClydesdalesEdit
Although the Queensland Rugby League had anticipated that the same teams from 2006 would participate in the 2007 competition, it was announced on 5 December 2006 that inaugural club, the Toowoomba Clydesdales, who were the reigning minor premiers, would be withdrawing from the competition for financial reasons. Brisbane Broncos chairman Bruno Cullen said that "It didn't make sense to have this club up there running at what was looking like a $250,000 loss for the year." The following day it was announced that the Aspley Broncos would be replacing the Clydesdales, and acting as the Brisbane Broncos feeder club. The Aspley Broncos would play just a single season in the competition.
2008–2013: Further expansionEdit
2008 saw the Queensland Cup once again have teams based in the northern cities of Cairns and Mackay after absences of seven and twelve years, respectively. These new teams replaced Aspley and North Queensland as part of the rationalisation of rugby league below the NRL level caused by the introduction of the NRL under 20s competition.
In 2009, the Sunshine Coast Falcons rejoined the competition after thirteen-year absence, after signing a partnership with the Manly Sea Eagles to develop rugby league on the Sunshine Coast. The side played as the Sea Eagles and won the premiership in their first year.
In 2010, Intrust Super was announced as the new major sponsor, with the competition becoming known as the Intrust Super Cup. From 2009 to 2013, the competition featured the same twelve teams for five straight seasons.
2014–present: Papua New Guinea and Townsville returnEdit
In 2014, the PNG Hunters entered the competition, becoming the first Papua New Guinea based side in the competition since the Port Moresby Vipers in 1997. In their inaugural season, the side was based out of the East New Britain town of Kokopo. On 10 September 2014, QRL chairman Peter Betros announced that the Brothers Townsville-led Townsville Blackhawks bid had been successful and the side would compete in the 2015 season.
On 5 October 2014, the Northern Pride became the first Queensland Cup side to win the NRL State Championship, defeating the heavily favoured Penrith Panthers New South Wales Cup side in the inaugural final.
In 2017, the Hunters won their first Queensland Cup premiership, defeating the Sunshine Coast Falcons in the Grand Final and becoming the first team outside of Australia, and the second from outside of Queensland to win the competition.
The Queensland Cup consists of 14 teams, eight in South East Queensland, three from North Queensland, and one each from Central Queensland, Northern New South Wales and Papua New Guinea. The league operates on a single group system, with no divisions or conferences and no relegation and promotion from other leagues.
Almost every club in the Queensland Cup has an affiliation with a team in the Australian national competition, the National Rugby League. This leads to many young Queensland players being signed into the NRL.
As the Queensland Cup initially began as a representative competition that took over the old Winfield State League before becoming a proper club competition, many of the following clubs were "representative" sides that either withdrew (in the case of Mackay and Bundaberg) or folded (Cairns Cyclones and Port Moresby Vipers).
|Club||Est.||City||Stadium||Premierships||Last||First Season||Last Season|
|Aspley Broncos||1967||Brisbane||Bishop Park||0||-||2007||2007|
|Bundaberg Grizzlies||1996||Bundaberg||Salter Oval||0||-||1996||1998|
|Cairns Cyclones||1996||Cairns||Barlow Park||0||-||1996||2000|
|Gold Coast Vikings||1982||Gold Coast||Carrara Stadium||0||-||1998||1998|
|Logan Scorpions||1987||Logan||Meakin Park||0||-||1996||2002|
|Mackay Sea Eagles||1996||Mackay||Mackay JRL Ground||0||-||1996||1996|
|North Queensland Young Guns||2002||Townsville||Dairy Farmers Stadium||1||2005||2002||2007|
|Past Brothers Leprechauns||1929||Brisbane||Corbett Park||0||-||1996||1998|
|Port Moresby Vipers||1986||Port Moresby||Lloyd Robson Oval||0||-||1996||1997|
|Townsville Stingers||1998||Townsville||Townsville Sports Reserve||0||-||1998||1998|
|Toowoomba Clydesdales||1996||Toowoomba||Clive Berghofer Stadium||2||2001||1996||2006|
|West Brisbane Panthers||1915||Brisbane||Purtell Park||0||-||1996||2003|
The Queensland Cup pre-season typically begins in February and ends in early March. Clubs generally use this time to organise trial matches to test playing combinations. Usually, Queensland Cup teams will play each other in trials, while some face National Rugby League (NRL) sides. For example, in 2018, the Brisbane Broncos played trial matches against the Central Queensland Capras and PNG Hunters.
The Queensland Cup regular season usually begins in early March and runs until late August. A round of regular season games is played every weekend for twenty-four weeks. In most rounds, matches are played on Saturday nights/afternoons and Sunday afternoons. Each team receives one bye during the regular season.
The regular season also features a number of themed rounds, where proceeds from the games go to various charities. In 2018, these rounds included ANZAC Round, Indigenous Round, Men of League Round, Women in League Round, "Turn to Me" Round and the annual Country Week. Country Week began in 2012 in partnership with the Queensland Government and features matches played in the country towns and cities of regional Queensland, to engage fans at a grassroots level. In 2018, the Country Week locations were Maryborough, Cooktown, Goondiwindi, Normanton, Bowen, Hughenden and Lae in Papua New Guinea.
The eight highest placed teams at the end of the regular season compete in the finals series. The system consists of a number of games between the top six teams over four weeks in September, until only two teams remain. These two teams then contest the Grand Final, which is usually played in late September. Over the years, the Queensland Cup has used a number of different finals series systems, usually involving five to six and now eight teams. In 2019, the current eight team final series system will be adopted.
The Queensland Cup Grand Final, which determines the season's premiers, is one of state's major sporting events. It is usually contested at Suncorp Stadium, having been held there annually since 2014, although other venues have been used, such as Dolphin Stadium, North Ipswich Reserve and Sunshine Coast Stadium.
The Grand Final had traditionally been played on Saturday afternoons, until moving to Sunday afternoons beginning in 2010.
NRL State Championship MatchEdit
NRL State Championship winnersEdit
|Season||NRL State Championship||Man of the Match|
|2014||Northern Pride||32 – 28||Penrith Panthers||ANZ Stadium||Javid Bowen|
|2015||Ipswich Jets||26 – 12||Newcastle Knights||ANZ Stadium||Matt Parcell|
|2016||Illawarra Cutters||54 – 12||Burleigh Bears||ANZ Stadium||Drew Hutchison|
|2017||Penrith Panthers||42 – 18||PNG Hunters||ANZ Stadium||Kaide Ellis|
|2018||Bulldogs||42 - 18||Redcliffe Dolphins||ANZ Stadium|
At the end of each season at the Queensland Rugby League presentation night, the Civoniceva Medal is awarded to the Queensland Cup player voted as the best and fairest over the entire season. Formerly known as The Courier Mail Medal, in 2018, the medal was renamed after former Australian and Queensland representative Petero Civoniceva. After each game, the referees award three votes to the best player, two votes to the second-best player, and one vote to the third-best player. Previous winners include Australia and Queensland representatives Greg Inglis and Daly Cherry-Evans.
Since 2007, the man of the match in the Grand Final has been awarded the Duncan Hall Medal. The medal is named in honour of ARL Team of the Century member Duncan Hall, who played 24 games for Queensland and 22 games for Australia between 1948 and 1955. Past recipients include Tony Williams and Jake Granville, who would go onto win NRL premierships shortly after their Queensland Cup success.
20th Year Anniversary TeamEdit
On 21 September 2015, the Queensland Rugby League announced their Queensland Cup 20th Year Anniversary team. The 17-man team was chosen by a selection panel consisting of Brad Tallon (Queensland Rugby League statistician), Steve Ricketts (rugby league journalist), David Wright (former ABC commentator) and Mike Higgison (rugby league historian). To be eligible for selection, a player must've played a minimum of 75 games in the competition. Rick Stone, who coached the Burleigh Bears from 1997 to 2005 (winning two premierships), was named coach of the side, while longtime referee Tony Maksoud was included as referee of the team.
|1.||Ryan Cullen||Central Queensland, Redcliffe, Easts||2003–10||154||112||0||449|
|2.||Nathanael Barnes||Tweed Heads, Wynnum Manly||2003–07, 2011–13, 2015–17||186||135||41||622|
|3.||Reggie Cressbrook||Townsville, Burleigh, Ipswich||1998–06||143||89||366||1,089|
|4.||Donald Malone||Toowoomba, Easts, Ipswich, Mackay||2004–present||179||117||137||742|
|5.||Heath Egglestone||Central Queensland||1996–04||150||99||1||398|
|6.||Brad Davis (captain)||Tweed Heads||2005–12||154||23||483||1,066|
|7.||Shane Perry||Past Brothers, Logan, Redcliffe, Norths||1996–98, 2002–11||218||95||6||409|
|9.||Michael Roberts||Redcliffe, Norths||1998–11||253||71||134||555|
|10.||Shane O'Flanagan||Wests, Burleigh||1997–08||210||33||0||132|
|11.||Danny Burke||Past Brothers, Redcliffe||1998, 2000–09||219||26||0||104|
|12.||Sime Busby||Central Queensland, Easts||1997–03||118||15||1||62|
|14.||Luke Scott||Souths, Townsville, Redcliffe||1996, 1998–03||129||36||0||144|
|15.||Luke Dalziel-Don||Wynnum Manly||2004, 2006–13||173||82||0||329|
|16.||Nick Parfitt||Toowoomba, Burleigh||2003–11||173||113||483||1,421|
|17.||Phil Dennis||Wests, Easts, Souths Logan||2003–present||271||29||7||130|
The following records are taken from Queensland Rugby League's official website and are correct as of the end of the 2016 season.
- Most premierships – 6 Redcliffe Dolphins
- Most minor premierships – 6 Redcliffe Dolphins
- Most wooden spoons – 4 Central Queensland Capras
- Highest score in a game – 98, Toowoomba against Wests Panthers (2003)
- Longest winning streak – 17 matches, Northern Pride (2010-2011)
- Longest undefeated streak – 22 matches, Tweed Heads Seagulls (2010-2011)
- Longest losing streak- 36 matches, Sunshine Coast Falcons (2013-2014)
- Leading tryscorer – Daniel Ogden, 155 tries
- Most games played – Phil Dennis, 271 games
- Leading pointscorer – Nick Parfitt 1,421 points (113 tries, 483 goals)
- Most points in a season 318, Liam Georgetown (2013)
- Most tries in a season 34, Daniel Kennedy 2004
- Most points in a game 40, Damien Richter 2002/Greg Bourke 2002
- Most tries in a game 7, Chris Walker 2000/Anthony Zipf 2004
Media coverage & SponsorshipEdit
Although the Queensland Cup has never had the same amount of media coverage that the pre-Brisbane Broncos Brisbane Rugby League did, in recent years it has experienced a resurgence in interest from both the Queensland media and from casual fans alike.
In 2018, the match of the round is televised live on the Nine Network in Queensland at 1:00pm (AEST) on Saturdays. Previously, the match of the round had been broadcast by Nine on Sunday afternoons and before that, on ABC Television on Saturday afternoons. The match is later replayed during the week on Foxtel's Fox League channel.
The non-broadcast games are recorded for highlights and judiciary and coaching purposes.
From 2006 to 2013, community broadcaster Bay FM began broadcasting Wynnum Manly matches with commentators Mike Higgison and Troy Robbins.
The competition has previously been named the Channel Nine Cup, Bundy Gold Cup and Queensland Wizard Cup, and is now known as the Intrust Super Cup.
- "Broncos lose stablemate Clydesdales". AAP. 6 December 2006.
- "Aspley new Brisbane Broncos feeder club : thewest.com.au". thewest.com.au.
- Manly to invest $1m in Coast league | thedaily.com.au Archived 11 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
- Livermore, Ross (2007). "Australian Rugby Football League Annual Report 2007" (PDF). Australian Rugby League Limited. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- "State Championship preview: Panthers v Pride". nrl.com. 21 September 2017.
- "The greatest game never played". nrl.com. 21 September 2017.
- "The official site of the Queensland Rugby League - QRL.com.au". Queensland Rugby League.
- "About Us". Queensland Rugby League.