Ipswich Jets co-coaches Ben and Shane Walker.
Ipswich Jets co-coaches Ben and Shane Walker. Franca Tigani

Revealed: Intrust Super Cup’s finals series shake-up

COACHES of the Gold Coast's Intrust Super Cup clubs have given the thumbs up to the competition's move to an eight-team finals series in 2019.

A QRL spokesman confirmed the switch from a six-team format, noting that the revamped system had been pushed by clubs.

Burleigh mentor Jimmy Lenihan lauded it as a positive step.

"With the competition the way it is at the moment, the eighth team can nearly beat the top team any time," he said.

"I think allowing more teams into the semi-finals format certainly provides a bit more interest for sides who are outside the six.

Jimmy Lenihan (middle). Picture: AAP Image/David Clark
Jimmy Lenihan (middle). Picture: AAP Image/David Clark

"Sometimes some sides, whether you have had injuries early in the year, it comes to the back end of the year and you get that lifeline that you might not have had. (And once) you make semi-finals it's a whole different competition.

"It will make it interesting and it's good for the comp."

Tweed Heads counterpart Ben Woolf concurred: "From a coaching perspective, I think the more teams that are a chance of playing finals footy, the higher the quality of football will be.

"It's pretty hard to keep a group motivated and going well late in the year as soon as they know they have got nothing they can achieve."

Tweed Heads Seagulls coach Ben Woolf (left). Picture: Richard Gosling
Tweed Heads Seagulls coach Ben Woolf (left). Picture: Richard Gosling

He added it would lead to prolonged interest from fans too, which would translate into financial benefits for clubs, and offers more reward to the teams that finish the regular season in third or fourth place.

The flipside is the argument that the expanded finals series will reward mediocrity, though it is still not as club-friendly as the NSW Cup's eight-out-of-12 model.

The new ISC format is expected to mirror the finals system used by the NRL.

The change will open the door wider than ever for the Seagulls to make their return to finals footy, having last qualified for the play-offs in 2014.

A mid-season winning streak had them firmly in the hunt last season before they faded to finish seven points out of the top six - and three points behind the eighth placed Norths Devils.

The 2019 ISC draw is due to be released on Wednesday.