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How the 2019 international season should look

Tonga players celebrate at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup (NRLPhotos/Fional Goodall)
Roar Rookie
15th August, 2018
2

International rugby league is certainly different to State of Origin and NRL football.

The international game is a great opportunity to showcase rugby league on the world stage. Every other sport has a pretty good international calendar.

The 2018 international rugby league calendar is pretty simple, only one Test to Australia, pretty basic in my opinion. Below is what I think the 2019 international rugby league calendar should look like.

My Proposed 2019 International Fixtures
Week 1
Friday 18 – Sunday 20 October: International Nines Tournament at Western Sydney Stadium, Sydney

Week 2
Saturday 26 October – Australia v New Zealand at Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast – 5pm Kickoff
Sunday 27 October – Tonga v Samoa at Nuku’alofa, Tonga
Sunday 27 October – Papua New Guinea v England at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Week 3
Saturday 2 November – Australia v England Game 1 at Western Sydney Stadium, Sydney – 7.30pm Kickoff
Saturday 2 November – New Zealand v Samoa at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton – 7pm Kickoff

Week 4
Saturday 9 November – Australia v England Game 2 at Optus Stadium, Perth – 4.30pm Kickoff
Saturday 9 November – New Zealand v Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland – 7pm Kickoff

Week 5
Saturday 16 November – Australia v England Game 3 at 1300Smile Stadium, Townsville – 3pm Kickoff
Sunday 17 November – New Zealand v Fiji at Christchurch, New Zealand – 3pm Kickoff

Week 6
Saturday 23 November – Papua New Guinea v Tonga at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Sunday 24 November – Samoa v Fiji at Apia, Samoa

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Week 7
Saturday 30 November – Australia v Tonga Game 3 at Western Sydney Stadium, Sydney – 3pm Kickoff
Saturday 30 November – New Zealand v England at Los Angeles, California

International Nines Tournament
My idea to hold an International Nines Tournament at the new Western Sydney Stadium in Parramatta is something the RLIF has got to look at. The format would be 12 men’s teams and eight women’s teams.

Men’s Tournament
Three pools of four teams, Round Robin, Quarter Finals, Semi-Finals, third Place Playoff and Final. In total there would be 26 matches

Women’s Tournament
Two pools of four teams, Round Robin, Semi-Finals, third Place Playoff and Final – Total 16 Matches

Then I have layed out my plans of all the international teams playing one another.

First Australia would play New Zealand on the Gold Coast in the annual trans-Tasman Test match, followed by Australia playing a three-match series against England in Sydney, Perth and Townsville.

Finally in the final weekend Australia play Tonga in Sydney and England versus New Zealand in California. And all the Pacific island nations will play against New Zealand in New Zealand and play each other in their own nations.