Penrith supremo Phil Gould has warned the NRL off the idea of relocation to help expansion, with Kiwi star Shaun Johnson also voicing concern.
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The 2018 NRL season is here! Over 25 rounds, the best rugby league players will battle for the ultimate prize in the game – to lift the Provan-Summons trophy on grand final day. This is The Roar‘s guide to streaming every match of the season and watching them on TV.
The best way to watch the NRL throughout 2018 will be on Fox Sports, which can be accessed exclusively on Foxtel.
Fox Sports have a 24 hours a day, seven days a week rugby league channel set up. Fox League can be found on channel 502 and will broadcast every game of every round live and ad-break free during play.
To watch the coverage on Fox League, you will need a valid Foxtel iQ3 subscription. You will need to make sure your package includes the sports channels though.
There is another option to watch the NRL on TV. Channel Nine is the free-to-air broadcaster of the competition and will cover three games per week – one each on Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
From Round 21 onwards, they will also add a fourth game every Saturday night.
If you are looking to stream the NRL season online, you’ll be wanting to use one of Foxtel’s dedicated streaming applications.
For those already holding a TV subscription, you can use the Foxtel App³, which is free to download and use with your existing login details.
However, if you don’t already have access to Foxtel on the TV, you will need to use Foxtel Now.
Both of these applications can be used on any compatible device you own, including tablets, PCs, laptop and mobiles.
You can also use the NRL Live Pass to stream games, although, for the first time, it will be blocked from showing the State of Origin series and NRL grand final.
For those games, as well as all games broadcast on nine, you can use the Nine Now application or website to stream matches.
The NRL will be broadcast on three radio networks in 2018. ABC Radio holds rights through the NRL to broadcast each and every game of the season.
They are joined by Southern Cross Austereo (Triple M) and Macquarie Radio (2GB). Triple M will broadcast games on Thursday night, as well as the first game on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
2GB will hold rights to broadcast the late game on Friday and Sunday, as well as the second and third game on Saturday evenings.
The NRL season gets underway on Thursday, March 8 with the St George Illawarra Dragons set to host the Brisbane Broncos in the season opener at Jubilee Oval in Kogarah.
The season will continue for 25 rounds, with a week off in the middle of the season for representative football. In addition, each team will have a single bye, meaning they play 24 games each over the course of the season.
From that, the top eight teams will make the finals, with the grand final played on Sunday, September 30 at ANZ Stadium in Homebush.
The finals series will see elimination and qualifying finals during the first week, which will be followed by semi-finals and preliminary finals, eliminating the competition to six, four and finally, two teams who will contest the big dance.
On weekends when no teams have byes, each round will consist of eight games, played between Thursday and Sunday, although special events – like Anzac Day (which falls on a Wednesday) dictate games be played outside of those specific days.
On top of the NRL season, the State of Origin series will also be contested again between the New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons. Game 1 and 3 of the series will be played on Wednesday nights, while the second game has been changed to the Sunday of the representative weekend.
The defending champions of the NRL are the Melbourne Storm, who beat the North Queensland Cowboys in 2017. Both of those sides are expected to be at the pointy end again, while the Sydney Roosters have acquired premiership winning half Cooper Cronk and are also expected to be at the top of affairs.
Make sure you don’t miss a minute of tonight’s action when the Dragons and Broncos clash to get the NRL season underway by watching it ad break-free on Fox League via Foxtel, and don’t forget to keep your finger on the footy pulse by tuning into League Life next week.
³ Access to the Foxtel App is available, while we arrange the connection of your Foxtel TV service at home, from the date you subscribed to Foxtel, changed your service address or the first day after the end of your cooling off period (if applicable). Once your Foxtel service is installed you will continue to have access to the Foxtel App as part of your package. If you unreasonably delay your install date your Foxtel App access will be disabled and will be reactivated when your Foxtel service is installed. Just connect your compatible device to the internet. Data charges may apply. Shows only available if they’re in your pack, some shows/channels not available. SD only. Sorry, Australia only.