The first ever NRL Touch Premiership games will be played this Friday, May 18 at ANZ Stadium prior to the Round 11 clash between Parramatta and the Warriors.
The first of these elite touch football games will be played between the touch Parramatta Eels and the touch Wests Tigers. A 30-minute men's game and a 30-minute women's game will be played as curtain-raisers to the main rugby league event, the Round 11 clash between Parramatta and the New Zealand Warriors.
The second round of NRL Touch Premiership games will be played on Saturday, May 19 as the North Queensland Cowboys take on the Gold Coast Titans at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville ahead of the Round 11 NRL clash between the North Queensland Cowboys and South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Touch football was born out of rugby league 50 years ago, and Touch Football Australia CEO Steve Mitchell is excited about showcasing the elite version of this sport, which is usually considered more of participation than spectator sport, to an audience beyond the 613,000-strong Australian touch football community.
"These are elite athletes who've been playing this sport since they were five or so years old, and their speed, ball handling, long passes, dives and the incredible tricks they pull out make it a really entertaining sport to watch. People who see it for the first time are always surprised," Mitchell said.
Three NRL clubs from New South Wales, and three clubs from Queensland, have teams in the NRL Touch Premiership: the Parramatta Eels, Wests Tigers, Newcastle Knights, Gold Coast Titans, Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys. Each club has two teams playing in the tournament — a women's team and a men's team — equalling 12 NRL Touch teams in total.
Branding, including uniforms, aligns with the branding of each namesake NRL club.
The NRL Touch Premiership games will be broadcast nationally on Fox League (Ch.502), as a mix of live and delayed broadcasts. Friday's game will be broadcast live at 3:55pm AEST, while Saturday's game will be shown during the broadcast on Sunday, May 20 from 10:45am AEST.
WESTS TIGERS ROUND ONE TEAM LISTS
Wests Tigers Touch Football Men's — 1. Cameron Nicholls 3. James Blackwood 5. James Shute 7. Scott Buckley 8. Nicholas Good 9. Daniel Stone 10. Justin Costello 11. Ryan Goss 12. Stuart Brierty 13. Tjadyn Ashby 14. Robert Nakhla 15. Jake Grech 16. Stephen Roberts
Wests Tigers Touch Football Women's — 1. Ashleigh Quinlan 2. Toni Breeze 3. Kirstie Jenkins 6. Patricia Michaelopoulous 7. Maddie Studdon 8. Abbey Papenhuyzen 9. Claire Tandek 10. Elin Mortimer 11. Logan Flanagan 13. Hinerangi Andreassend 14. Amy Webb 15. Tyla Gambell 16. Courtney Young