Ultimate 2020 Intrust Super Cup season preview
THE race for the 2020 Intrust Super Cup premiership is shaping up to be another cracker battle.
Our team of News Corp journalists Brent O'Neill, Tom Bushnell, Aidan Cureton, Steele Taylor, Rowan Sparkes, Matthew Elkerton, Pam McKay, Andrew Dawson, Brayden Heslehurst and Erin Smith look at all the ins and outs across the competition and get a final word from the coaches before their teams begin their campaigns.
LAST SEASON: Premiers
INS: Jack Stockwell (Gold Coast Titans), Jaimen Joliffe (Cronulla), Danny Kerr (Brisbane Norths)
OUTS: Josh Ailaomai (local league), Tyrone Roberts Davis (Newcastle), Dylan Phythian (Central Newcastle), Matt Robinson and Oliver Percy (retired)
COACH RICK STONE SAYS: If you're premiers, everyone's coming to get you - we understand that. To go back-to-back is tough - I think Wynnum are the only team to have done it in the ISC history. It's a long way away, another premiership, so we've got to start from the beginning again and earn the right to (get there). It starts in the first round against Wynnum.
FINAL WORD: The reigning premiers have kept the vast majority of last year's squad and are again looming as genuine title contenders under Stone.
LAST SEASON: 14th
INS: Radean Robinson (Brisbane RL), Connor Rothery (Northern Pride), Harrison Leonard and Jack Gibbons (WS Magpies), Maika Tudravu (Fiji RL), Mckenzie Yei (PNG Hunters), Jacob Esau (Wentworthville Magpies)
OUTS: Jamie Hill (Tweed Heads), Bessie Aufaga To'omaga (Redcliffe Dolphins), Eddy Pettybourne (Toulouse, France), Aaron Pene (Storm), Elijah Anderson (NQ Cowboys), Bill Cullen (East Tigers), David Taylor (retired)
COACH DAVID FAIUMU SAYS: The players have plenty of energy and enthusiasm and are keen to learn and improve. They have a will to win and I know they will go out with that mindset every week.
FINAL WORD: The Capras have assembled a hardworking squad with a wealth of young talent. They showed some promising signs in the trials and should surprise a few this season.
LAST SEASON: 8th
INS: Jayden Berrell, Sam Elliot (Wynnum); Linc Port (Souths Logan), Micheal Purcell (Ipswich), Samuel Collins (Norths Devils), Caleb Daunt (SC Falcons), James Waterson (Auckland RL), Kurt Baptiste (Cowboys)
OUTS: Jake Foster, Jarrod McInally, Shane Neumann, John Puna (retired); Sam Lavea (Falcons), Chris Ostwald (Northern Pride), Josh Fauid (Carina), Keenan Yorston (Ipswich), Tyrone Amey, Matt Cooper (Newcastle); Josh Ralph, Tom Hughes (released)
COACH CRAIG HODGES SAYS: We want to be a team that does the simple, hard work and effort things. If we do that, it will go a long way towards a big season."
FINAL WORD: The Easts Tigers have probably undergone the most changes across the board in the Intrust Super Cup with former Gold Coast Titans NRL interim coach Craig Hodges replacing Scott Sipple. But the team have managed to sign some key players and re-sign several ISC stars and along with their Melbourne Storm affiliation should be a top eight team.
LAST SEASON: 9th
INS: Dalton Phillips (SC Falcons), Keenan Yorston (Easts), Luke Pollock (Norths), Phil Dennis (Souths Logan)
OUTS: Marmin Barba, Ben Shea and Billy McConnachie (Redcliffe); Michael Purcell (Easts)
COACH KEIRON LANDER SAYS: We'll be very competitive. Switching things up, adding a bit of variation to training and defining what my expectations are and what we're trying to achieve seem to have refreshed a few of the older fellas. It's a different way of doing things, but at the same time we're not going away from what the boys trust.
FINAL WORD: With co-coaches Ben and Shane Walker and several attacking aces moving on, the Jets will rebuild under Lander but their style of play should continue to be a source of excitement.
LAST SEASON: 11th
INS: Ata Hingano (Canberra), Luke Polselli (Newtown Jets), (Cronulla Sharks), Zev John (Redcliffe), Elijah Anderson (Capras), Michael Molo (Norths Devils)
OUTS: Brenden Treston and Luke Schulte (retired); Lloyd White (Toulouse, France), Alex Gerrard (Widnes, UK), Marcus Jensen, Jack Hickson (East Tigers)
COACH MICHAEL CRAWLEY SAYS: We're a relatively new roster, so for us it's going out and trying to do our best. Most of the teams are fairly experienced, but we haven't got that and will need to use youth and the energy that comes with it as a strength.
FINAL WORD: The young Cutters will need to get used to the ISC level quickly if they are to break the mid to bottom-of-the-table curse that has plagued them for the past six years.
LAST SEASON: 12th
INS: Bernard Lewis (Roosters), Nick Lui-Toso (Panthers), Javid Bowen and Gideon Gela-Mosby (Cowboys), Matthew Egan (Burleigh Bears), Rod Griffin (Blackhawks)
OUTS: Tom Hancock (Blackhawks), David Murphy and Hugh Sedger (Ivanhoe Knights), Jordan Biondi-Odo (Brothers Cairns), Bradley Stephen (Cairns Kangaroos), Maurice Blair (Moranbah Miners), Jared Allen (retired)
COACH TY WILLIAMS SAYS: It's a fairly big turnover but it's a younger turnover that's come in, so they're keen to listen, they're keen to learn. It's been good to get that culture created within the club.
FINAL WORD: A strong recruitment drive has the Pride in a good position to turn around last year's horror season and challenge for the finals in 2020.
LAST SEASON: 5th
IN: Bryce Donovan (Redcliffe), Jacob Gagan (Rabbitohs), Tony Tumusa (France), Carne Doyle-Manga (UK), Rashaun Denny (Wynnum), Brandon Manase (Doveton Steelers), Kade Pearce (WA, Ellenbrook), Keanu Dawson (NZ Warriors), Joey Peato (Picton Magpies)
OUT: Jamayne Taunoa-Brown (NZ Warriors), Luke Pollock (Ipswich), Zach Strasser (retired), Henry Penn (Kurri Kurri Bulldogs)
COACH ROHAN SMITH SAYS: We were reasonably consistent (in 2019). We just have to raise the standard of that performance. Rather than a seven and a half out of 10, we need to be eight and a half. That is the challenge.
FINAL WORD: Redcliffe premiership player Bryce Donovan, a very talented half/five-eighth, could be the subtle difference. Broncos halfback Sean O'Sullivan will be back midway through the season.
LAST SEASON: 13th
INS: Rhadley Brawa (Wynnum Manly Seagulls), Steven Bruno (Kimbe Cutters), Francis Takai (Rabaul Gurias), Emmanuel Waine (Hela Wigmen), Casey Dickson and Mark Piti (Lae Tigers)
OUTS: McKenzie Yei (CQ Capras), Moses Meninga (Blackhawks)
COACH MATTHEW CHURCH SAYS: For us, just small increments of improvement will be the focus this season - just getting better each week. They had a disappointing season last year, so we're looking at building on that and we've had a reasonable pre-season.
FINAL WORD: The Hunters have kept much the same squad as last season and the return of Brawa will add some spark. Matthew Church, having spent last year with the Falcons as an assistant coach, is sure to have them well drilled.
LAST SEASON: 7th
INS: BJ Aufaga-To'omaga (CQ Capras), Jonathon Reuben (SC Falcons), Marmin Barba, Billy McConnachie and Ben Shea (Jets); Lachlan Timm (Dragons), Logan Bayliss (Cowboys), Joshua Gatt (Roosters), Justin Worley (Knights), Jarrett Boland (Mount Pritchard Mounties)
OUTS: Bryce Donovan (Norths Devils), Tom Geraghty (SC Falcons), Hugh Pratt (Marist Brothers Lismore), James Taylor (Souths Logan), Aaron Whitchurch (retired), Jedidiah Simbiken (Queanbeyan)
COACH ADAM MOGG SAYS: We have one goal for the season, which is very similar to many other teams - we want to be in the last game of the year. But at the moment our focus is on improving.
FINAL WORD: The NRL hopefuls have loaded up with an array of recruits over the off-season. This team has the motivation and the cattle.
SOUTHS LOGAN MAGPIES
LAST SEASON: 10th
INS: Darren Nicholls (Dragons), Faitotoa Faitotoa and James Taylor (Redcliffe); Jack Goodsell, Kelly Tate and Matt Groat (Wynnum); Christian Hazard (Tweed), Cole Waaka (NZ Warriors), Trent Schaumkel (Falcons), Jack Hickson (Mackay)
OUTS: Matt Soper-Lawler (Knights), Manaia Cherrington (overseas), Brendon Gibb, Sam Tagataese and Shaun Fensom (retired); George Fai (union), Patrick Mago (Rabbitohs), Linc Port (Easts)
COACH JON BUCHANAN SAYS: We kept the ones we really wanted to keep, to not just contribute on the footy field but those who kept the side to together. They are good clubmen.
FINAL WORD: The Magpies need to put last year behind them. The retention of good talent and the addition of winners such as Nicholls and Taylor is important. The only way is up for the Magpies, and on paper they look a genuine finals chance.
SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS
LAST SEASON: 3rd
INS: Sam Lavea and Tommy Butterfield (Easts), Tom Geraghty (Redcliffe), Luke Capewell (Ipswich), Campbell Duffy (Townsville Blackhawks)
OUTS: Chris Lewis and Trent Loiero (Storm), Lachlan Roe (Air Force), Dalton Phillips (Ipswich), Caleb Daunt (Easts), Jon Reuben (Redcliffe)
COACH SAM MAWHINNEY SAYS: We've got a really balanced, cohesive group who work really hard and I think that's going to translate into some success.
FINAL WORD: The Falcons were the team to beat for most of last year before fading in the finals. New coach Sam Mawhinney steered the club's under-20s to a state title last season. They boast a halfback with poise in Todd Murphy, but have lost strike centre Jon Reuben. They should have enough depth, particularly through their Storm affiliation, to still be a contender.
LAST SEASON: 4th
INS: Pat Kaufusi (Dragons), Josh Hoffman (Eels), Moses Meninga (Hunters), Tom Hancock (Northern Pride), Carlin Anderson (Cowboys)
OUTS: Dan Beasley, Michael Parker-Walshe (retired), Zac Santo (France), Campbell Duffy (SC Falcons), Tom McCagh (Souths Logans Magpies)
COACH AARON PAYNE SAYS: At times last year we were too predictable, and we also identified an opportunity to play more expansive, attacking football from further out, even from our own end. You aren't going to see the Harlem Globetrotters, but we need to be asking more questions of the opposition.
FINAL WORD: Upset by Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the preliminary final last year, there is a passion and hunger borne out of that loss. Having recruited well, the Blackhawks have the talent to make the grand final - and Payne will expect nothing less from his troops.
LAST SEASON: 6th
INS: Fetuli Talanoa (Hull), Blake Goodman (North Sydney), Jamie Hill (Central Capras), Jack Glossop (Townsville Blackhawks), Fabien Kiri (Redcliffe), Braden Robson (Wests Tigers), Jesse Cronin (Parramatta)
OUTS: Christian Hazard (Souths Logan), Jack Cook and Kirk Murphy (Albi, France), Kalani Going (Canberra)
COACH BEN WOOLF SAYS: We are aiming to play finals footy again this year. If we could go further into the finals than last year that would be great, but it's a very strong competition. I feel the team is progressing well. There have been big improvements in key areas over the off-season, so hopefully that results in more wins.
FINAL WORD: Having broken into the finals last season for the first time since 2014, the Seagulls have recruited strongly and appear a good chance of improving on their 2019 standing.
WYNNUM MANLY SEAGULLS
LAST SEASON: 2nd
INS: Lloyd Perrett (Manly), Lachlan Maranta (St George Illawarra), Lewis Soosemea, Brody Tamarua and Toni Tupouniua (NZ Warriors)
OUTS: Edene Gebbie (Rabbitohs), Edwin Ipape (Sea Eagles), Kelly Tate, Jack Goodsell and Matt Groat (Souths Logan), Jayden Berrell (Easts Tigers)
COACH ADAM BRIDESON SAYS: It's great for our chemistry that we have so many players returning from last year's group, and the players coming in have only added to that. I have been really impressed with our group's attitude during the pre-season and we're looking forward to the season.
FINAL WORD: Last year's runners-up have looked the goods in the pre-season and with most of last year's group returning, and last year's grand final still hurting, this team may go all the way.