The Canberra Raiders will mark their return to the Jersey Flegg Cup by opening the 2019 season against newcomers Victorian Thunderbolts at GIO Stadium on Friday 22 March as revealed in the draw released by the NSW Rugby League today (Friday 22 February).
The Raiders, who will feature in a double-header with the Round 2 NRL fixture between Canberra and Melbourne Storm, mark their return in place of Mounties in an expanded 14-team Under-20s competition, which also includes new addition South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Rabbitohs will host the St George Illawarra Dragons at Metricon High Performance Centre in their opening game, while premiers Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks will have to wait until Sunday 24 March to host the 2018 Minor Premiers Newcastle Knights.
The Sharks enjoyed a memorable Grand Final victory over the Penrith Panthers last year but will face tough opposition from the Knights.
The reigning premiers will be looking to claim back-to-back premierships for the first time since the Panthers achieved the feat in 2006-07.
2019 marks the second season since the Jersey Flegg Cup returned to the NSWRL major competitions calendar to replace the NRL Under-20s National Youth Competition.
The competition is named after Harry “Jersey” Flegg, who played for the Eastern Suburbs in 1908 and 1909, and was a prominent administrator of the game up until 1960.
Jersey Flegg Cup games will be played over two 35-minute halves, in line with the NSWRL's under-18s SG Ball Cup competition. It will run for 24 rounds with the Grand Final to be played on Sunday 29 September.