The winners of the centenary season's Regal Trophy will win a record first prize of pounds 60,000 - nearly double the pounds 36,000 Wigan earned for beating Warrington in last January's final. The runners-up will pick up pounds 35,000, pounds 16,000 more than Warrington received.
Total prize money of pounds 315,000 is on offer in what will be the last Regal Trophy competition in the winter season format before the start of the Super League and summer rugby next March.
The first-round draw takes place on Tuesday and will involve the 11 Second Division teams, five leading amateur sides, two former professional clubs - Blackpool and Nottingham - and two leading French outfits, PIA from Perpignan and St Esteve.
Championship and First Division clubs will enter the tournament in the second round in mid-November. The Regal Trophy final will again be staged at Huddersfield's McAlpine Stadium on Saturday 13 January. It marks Imperial Tobacco's 29th consecutive year of support - one of the longest running sponsorships in British sport.
The Warrington forward David Elliott, whose life was threatened by a freak injury, is out of danger. The 24-year-old Cumbrian forward broke his leg in a reserve match at Oldham a fortnight ago. He was taken to Royal Oldham Hospital with an embolism - a blocked artery.
Elliott, who was put on a life-support machine after suffering a lung blockage caused by the embolism, has now been transferred from the intensive care unit to an orthopaedic ward. He is expected to be discharged soon.
Elliott was listed at pounds 65,000 by Warrington this season after turning down a new contract. He joined the club from Kells in May 1990 and made 12 senior appearances last season plus four as substitute.
The Featherstone centre, Matt Calland, has been suspended for six matches after being sent off against Salford for a high tackle. St Helens' Bernard Dwyer has escaped with a verdict of sending-off sufficient following his dismissal, also for a high tackle, at Leeds.
Hull's Gary Nolan has been suspended for three games. He was cited by Oldham for a high tackle in a recent Alliance fixture.
Two antipodean players, London's Australian prop, Darren Shaw, and Huddersfield's New Zealander, Darrall Shelford, are in Scotland's squad for the Emerging Nations World Cup next month.Reuse content