The NSWRL has officially launched its 2018 season, with more than 130 attendees gathering for an event at ANZ Stadium.
The NSWRL, clubs and players are prepared for a big season ahead, with nine major competitions hosted for the first time:
- Intrust Super Premiership NSW
- Harvey Norman NSW Women's Premiership
- Business Plaza Cup (Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League)
- Ron Massey Cup
- Sydney Shield
- Jersey Flegg Cup (under-20s men)
- UNE SG Ball Cup (under-18s boys)
- Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup (under-18s girls)
- UNE Harold Matthews Cup (under-16s boys)
Headlining the 2018 inclusions are the Jersey Flegg Cup, which returns to the NSWRL system after the disbandment of the Holden Cup, and the Business Plaza Cup, with the Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League aligning with the NSWRL.
NSW True Blues Brad Fittler, Danny Buderus, Greg Alexander, Anthony Minichiello, Nathan Hindmarsh, Paul Sironen and Steve Roach were on hand at the season launch, along with representatives from both the Intrust Super Premiership NSW and Harvey Norman NSW Women's Premiership. NSWRL CEO David Trodden explained the significance of the expanded season ahead.
"2018 is a really exciting time to be involved with the New South Wales Rugby League," Trodden said. "2017 was a year that saw the continued growth of our brand.
"This season NSWRL competitions continue to go from strength to strength. For the first time in the history of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, matches will be screened weekly on both FOX and the Nine Network - ensuring more fans access the competition and its players, via the media, than ever before."
The launch coincides with greater coverage of the highest state-based men's Rugby League competition on NSWRL.com.au. It will include the NSWRL's weekly Intrust Super Premiership NSW talk show, Show 'N Go, to be broadcast both on the Intrust Super Premiership NSW Facebook page and NSWRL.com.au.
The 2018 Intrust Super Premiership NSW season kicks off on Friday, 9 March, with the Newcastle Knights hosting the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles from 3:45pm AEDT. The Harvey Norman NSW Women's Premiership will follow on 24 March, before the Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield commence on 7 April. The NSWRL's junior representative competitions (UNE SG Ball Cup, Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup and UNE Harold Matthews Cup) head into Round 4 this weekend.