CQ rugby league fans to see newest Instrust team in action
CENTRAL Queensland rugby league fans will be among the first in the state to witness the Intrust Super Cup competition's newest club in action.
The Queensland Rugby League yesterday announced a Papua New Guinea side would feature in the 13-team 2014 Intrust Super Cup competition.
The Rockhampton Leagues Club Capras are expected to host the PNG team in a trial match at Browne Park, Rockhampton, on February 15, two weeks ahead of the opening round of the 26-week competition on March 1-2.
It would be the Capras' third trial match of the 2014 pre-season after meeting reigning Intrust Super Cup premiers Mackay Cutters in their annual Meng Shield Challenge on February 1 and the Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles in Bundaberg on February 8.
QRL chief executive officer Robert Moore yesterday unveiled the 2014 competition structure and confirmed the game's expansion into Papua New Guinea.
The new PNG team will play home games in Kokopo, north-east of Port Moresby in the East New Britain islands.
QRL competitions manager Jamie O'Connor joined Cutters coach Kim Williams in PNG earlier this week to assess the club's entry into the competition.
The new PNG team satisfied all the required criteria, including facilities, security measures and the logistics of travel, opening up an exciting development pathway for thousands of rugby league participants and fans.
Capras operations manager Walson Carlos said there were exciting times ahead.
"It's exciting to have Papua New Guinea in the competition," Carlos said. "PNG is obviously an exciting development for the competition. The result of the elite pathway review is also interesting and exciting from our point of view."
Moore said PNG's entry into the 2014 Intrust Super Cup was a major development for rugby league.
"The opportunity to play in the Intrust Super Cup will provide players in Papua New Guinea with a direct pathway to higher levels of rugby league participation," Moore said.
"It would be a wonderful story to see a home-grown PNG player rise from the junior ranks into the Intrust Super Cup and then the National Rugby League.
"At the same time, it provides us with an opportunity to expand into a market with over seven million rugby league fans."
CQ Capras 2014 trial matches
v Mackay Cutters at Mackay on February 1
v Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles at Bundaberg on February 8
v PNG at Rockhampton on February 15
v Brisbane Broncos on February 22