The best of schoolboys' league goes live today
RUGBY LEAGUE: Rugby league fans get excited - and not solely because we're in week one of State of Origin.
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Yes, we have a mountain of online and in-print coverage under way for the first Maroons-Blues clash in Brisbane tomorrow.
But I'm just as excited by a fantastic piece of innovation in online media that we're unveiling later today.
For the first time, we will be live-streaming to our subscribers the best schoolboy rugby league in the state.
And it features Rockhampton Grammar School and St Brendan's College.
Johnathan Thurston, Cam Smith, Greg Inglis ... the big names of recent Maroon history all started in either the Aaron Payne Cup (Far North Queensland) or Allan Langer Trophy (South-East Queensland).
And we have the rights to bring live action into the homes of our subscribers from today.
The first games will be live-streamed today in the Aaron Payne Cup when Mackay State High School take on Kirwan State High School (Kirwan, 2pm), St Patrick's College Mackay play Ignatius Park College (Ignatius, Townsville, noon) and Rockhampton Grammar School take on The Cathedral College (Browne Park, Rockhampton, 6.30pm).
You read that right - you, as a subscriber, will get to watch those games free this afternoon.
Buying sports rights is something new for us, but it felt right to support grassroots league around the time of Origin.
And it positions your favourite Queensland read as one of the great innovators of online media.
We have professional film crews at the games, and I know you'll be impressed with the quality of both the players and the camera work.
The games will be obvious at the top of the site, or high in the Sports section.
And the other good thing?
Just like tomorrow, a Queensland side is guaranteed to win.
Meanwhile, I hope you have noticed some subtle changes designed to make your experience better when reading our articles.
We recently changed how articles display for you on desktop and mobile.
The rationale is that as a subscriber, you deserve a better experience. Based on reader feedback, subscribers now get less adverts around (and in) their stories, and we've gone for a pared-back look that has more white space and displays the hero material (stories, photos and video) better.
It's the first step in changes you'll see this year to help the site load quicker, and make subscribers really receive a Premium offering.
As usual, I'd love any feedback on this and anything else you've noticed.
Those who do not have a subscription will be able to watch for as little as $3.50 a week under the Hot Offer deal currently available.
The games will be near the top of the home page of The Observer today just ahead of kick-off.
AARON PAYNE CUP
Today: Rockhampton Grammar (RGS) v The Cathedral College - 6.30pm, Browne Park, Rocky
June 11: RGS v Kirwan, 1.45pm, Mackay; St Brendan's v St Pats, 3pm, Mackay
June 12: St Brendan's v Kirwan, 10.15am, Mackay; RGS v St Pats - 11.30am, Mackay
Megan Sheehan - The Observer Editor