Jets handed hardest opening draw in ISC
THE IPSWICH Jets will host traditional Defence Force rivals the Townsville Blackhawks to open the 2019 Intrust Super Cup season.
The QRL today released the 23-round fixture, beginning Saturday March 9 and culminating in a September 29 grand final.
And the Jets have been handed no favours by the fixturing powers that be.
Going on final ladder placings from the 2018 season, the Ipswich side have the most difficult start to the season of any club in the competition.
Over the first seven weeks the Jets play all six finals sides from last season - excluding themselves of course - plus the seventh-ranked PNG Hunters and eighth-placed Norths Devils.
Not until the Jets travel to face Tweed Heads on April 20 will they meet a team which placed in the bottom half of the ladder in 2018.
The first two months of the season also include arguably the three toughest road trips in the Intrust Super Cup - away to Burleigh, Redcliffe and PNG.
The Jets play three of their first four games of the season at North Ipswich Reserve.
Twice throughout the year, they will play three consecutive away games - rounds 12-14 and rounds 17-19.
The Jets' final month of the regular season includes three consecutive home games, followed by a trip to the Sunshine Coast to face the Falcons in round 23.
Notable fixtures include: Round three "XXXX Rivalry Round” clash with Easts Tigers at North Ipswich Reserve, the split "Indigenous Round” meetings across weeks 16 and 17 against the Dolphins (home) and Tigers (away) respectively, and the round 18 "Get in the Game Country Week” clash with Northern Pride, venue still to be announced.
Jets' 2019 Intrust Super Cup Draw
Round 1: March 9 v Townsville Blackhawks
Round 2: March 16 @ Burleigh Bears
Round 3: March 23 v Easts Tigers
Round 4: March 30 v Northern Pride
Round 5: April 6 @ Redcliffe Dolphins
Round 6: April 13 v Norths Devils
Round 7: April 20 @ PNG Hunters
Round 8: April 20 @ Tweed Heads Seagulls
Round 9: May 3 v CQ Capras
Round 10: May 19 @ Souths Logan Magpies
Round 11: May 25 v Sunshine Coast Falcons
Round 12: May 31 @ Mackay Cutters
Round 13: June 9 @ Wynnum-Manly Seagulls
Round 14: June 15 @ Townsville Blackhawks
Round 15: June 29 v Burleigh Bears
Round 16: July 6 v Redcliffe Dolphins
Round 17: July 14 @ Easts Tigers
Round 18: TBA @ Northern Pride
Round 19: July 27 @ Norths Devils
Round 20: August 10 v Tweed Heads Seagulls
Round 21: August 17 v Souths Logan Magpies
Round 22: August 24 v Mackay Cutters
Round 23: September 1 @ Sunshine Coast Falcons
Semi-Finals Wk 1: September 7-8
Semi-Finals Wk2: September 14-15
Preliminary Finals: September 21-22
Grand Final: September 29
National State Final: October 6
QRL also confirmed today the competition will move to an eight-team finals format, in line with the NRL.