The SP PNG Hunters will play 12 games of the 23 rounds at Home in the 2019 Intrust Super Cup season. This includes the Country week round.
PNGRFL CEO Reatau Rau said the 2019 ISC draws released yesterday was endorsed at the last CEOs meeting in Brisbane last month.
“We have 12 games at home including the Round 18 (July 20-21) Country Week round here in PNG,” Rau said. “The venue for next year’s Country week game against Easts Tigers should be finalised by May” he added.
The 14 team Intrust Super Cup 2019 competition kicks off on the weekend of March 9 and 10 with the SP Hunters playing Tweed Heads Seagulls away in Piggabeen Sports Complex in Brisbane.
“The 1st SP Hunters home game at NFS is on the following Sunday March 17 against Northern Pride,” Rau said. “The week after that on March 24 is another home game against Sunshine Coast Falcons,” he added.
Rau said the annual Kokoda Cup against Burleigh Bears during the ANZAC round will be played on Thursday April 25 at Pizzey Park in Brisbane.
He said the Stan Joyce Cup played for against Redcliffe Dolphins since 2014 will see the Dolphins out to retain the Cup when they host the SP Hunters at Dolphin Stadium in Round 12 on Saturday June 1. “The 2nd match will be played in Round 22 on Sunday August 25 at the NFS in Port Moresby,” Rau said.
The annual Air Niugini / Kokoda Cup against Townsville Blackhawks will see two games next season. “The 1st is in Port Moresby in Round 9 on Sunday May 5 when the SP Hunters will be out to retain the Cup since its inception in 2017,” he said.
The 2nd game will be played in Round 19 on Saturday August 3 at the Jack Manski oval in Townsville.
Rau also revealed that the finals format has been changed from six teams to eight teams next season. “The CEOs identified this move as a priority for all clubs in 2019,” Rau said.
SP Hunters coach Michael Marum was happy with the draws and the top eight final formats. “The first six rounds will see us (SP Hunters) having two consecutive home games and three straight on the road. After that we will have either one or two consecutive home games with one away game in between so yes am happy with the draw,” Marum said. “I am also happy with the eight team final format” he added.
“Changing the finals format from six teams to eight will keep more fans engaged throughout the season and will add to the overall excitement and anticipation that the competition brings each week,” Maiden said.
“Our clubs identified this move as a priority in 2019 and we are pleased to deliver an outcome that will assist them greatly moving forward.”
The QRL and Major Competition clubs will continue to foster strong community relationships and outcomes through the staging of several Themed Rounds, which include:
XXXX Rivalry Round – Round 3, March 23-24
ANZAC Weekend – Round 8, April 27-28 (Burleigh v PNG – Kokoda Cup)
Indigenous Round – Rounds 16 & 17, July 6-7, 13-14
‘Get in the Game’ Country Week – Round 18, July 20-21
Harvey Norman Women in League – Round 21, August 17-18
Turn to Me – Round 23, August 31 - September 1
A total of 170 regular season and finals matches will be played in 2019.