Saturday date for CDRL grand final
THE Cairns District Rugby League draw has undergone its biggest revamp in years, featuring a Saturday grand final and a reduction in Sunday fixtures.
Premiers Innisfail will kick off their campaign against Ivanhoes, the team they edged in the epic 2015 decider, at Callendar Park on April 2.
Rivals Brothers and Kangaroos square off at Vico Oval on the Sunday, each foundation club with a point to prove.
With the Northern Pride to play more Sunday fixtures this Intrust Super Cup season, the CDRL has shifted more games to Saturdays, falling in line with the requests of players via the CDRL Players’ Poll.
Rounds 2, 12 and 14 won’t include a single Sunday match, while nine others will have one game on that day of the week.
The grand final will be played on Saturday, September 24, the first time in recent memory it has moved from a Sunday.
It also falls into line with the wishes of Queensland Rugby League, given the ISC decider will be played in Brisbane on the Sunday.
The season starts about a fortnight later than usual due to Easter, and will include a historic Rivalry Round doubleheader at Jones Park.
Southern Suburbs will face Kangaroos and Brothers tackle Ivanhoes on a Men of League weekend of games on Saturday, June 18.
That same weekend, Yarrabah will hold a twilight match against Mossman/Port Douglas to accommodate the Pride’s Sunday schedule.
Atherton will put their feet up on the weekend of July 3, when the NRL blockbuster between the Cowboys and Rabbitohs is played at Barlow Park.
The move away from Sunday fixtures will put the squeeze on CDRL referee numbers, but the QRL could look at bringing up southern whistleblowers to assist.
As usual, the draw, which started forming in August, proved a complex puzzle for CDRL officials given the plethora of rodeos and shows across the Far North in 2016.