Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
8 mins ago
Qld?s top teams will battle it out during the inaugural Body Science 9?s Rugby League Challenge
Already credited with helping NRL teams like 2003 premiers the Sydney Roosters and former under-dogs the Canberra Raiders turn their game around, Queensland nutritional supplement company Body Science (BSc) is now lending its support to the state?s country league teams through an exciting season opener.
And BSc hopes the success of the inaugural Body Science 9s Rugby League Challenge will encourage Australia-wide participation in future events, bringing the creme de la cr?me of rugby league to regional areas.
After waiting 15 years for a premiership, the club is all fired up and working hard to encourage greater interest in rugby league at the regional level.
To this end, the club has enlisted the support of Body Science on Saturday 28 February and Sunday 29 February, when it hosts an inaugural invitation-only nine-a-side competition.
The two-day event promises to be even more action-packed and exciting than the traditional 13-per-side rugby league game - and the take home prize pack is worth more than $5,000.
?We have invited eight teams from the Sunshine Coast and another eight from other parts of Queensland. The clubs have all shown considerable interest in participating, so we are expecting a good turnout in both teams and spectators,? Crushers premiership player and management committee member James Ward said.
?Having nine players per side is an exciting brand of league. The rules are predominantly the same ? there are just less players to cover the same area, which means there is plenty of non-stop action.
?9's games tend to be less physical but much faster than traditional league games.
?This provides a change for players, and the spectators love it. League fans will especially appreciate the break from all the tennis and cricket at this time of year, and it?s a great way to whet their appetite for the season ahead.?
Body Science Director Greg Young said the company is a keen supporter of rugby league at all levels, and is excited to be part of the inaugural 9s competition.
?Queensland?s regional competitions have produced some of the country?s top NRL players, and as a Queensland company, Body Science is very proud of this, which is why we are so pleased to be supporting this event,? he said.
?We?re confident the Body Science 9s Rugby League Challenge will be a success. This will hopefully encourage the NRL to investigate a pre-season game associated with next year?s event.
?Ideally, we?d also love to see the 9s competition become a national event, with regional clubs from every state battling it out for prize money.?
James said the Crushers? 9's team members are keen to again demonstrate their premiership-winning skills, which they have already improved thanks to 2004 season coach Dan Stains and high-profile signing Craig Polla-Mounter.
?I?m sure the other clubs are looking forward to doing battle with the 2003 premiers ? and likewise we are looking forward to testing our skills against them,? he said.
?We have a number of players preparing for the event, but we are keeping the names of our ?secret nine? under wraps until the big day.?
The game is not the only part of the day players will have to worry about ? they will also put their reputations on the line in the Mako 100m sprint and the In front Shootout competitions.
?These competitions should be quite entertaining to watch. We?ll see who has been doing a bit too much relaxing during the holiday season,? James said.
The Body Science 9's Rugby League Challenge will start at 10am on both Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 February. The final begins at 2:30pm on Sunday.
Entry is by gold coin donation, making it an inexpensive and fun day out for the whole family. Funds raised will be donated to a local children?s charity.
The event is supported by Channel Seven, Sea FM and the Sunshine Coast Daily.