The National Rugby League (NRL) has today released the 2023 Telstra Premiership schedule alongside a successful pre-season draw that brings live NRL to more fans than ever before, live in Australia and New Zealand.
The 2023 Pre-Season Challenge will revolutionize the pre-season experience for clubs and fans alike, kicking off on Thursday 9 February when the Warriors take on the Wests Tigers at Mount Smart Stadium.
This sets the scene for a huge weekend of rugby league in New Zealand. Both the men’s and women’s Harvey Norman All Stars matches will be played in Rotorua for the first time on Saturday 11 February.
It will be a cultural celebration reflecting the NRL’s commitment to reinvigorate rugby league in New Zealand following the absence of live matches due to Covid.
Back across the ditch just minutes later, there’s a Grand Final rematch between the Panthers and the Eels at BlueBet Stadium. While down in Wollongong at WIN Stadium it’s Red V versus Red V, the Battle of the Saints as the St George Illawarra Dragons take on Super League champions St Helens.
On Saturday February 18, the Charity Shield travels to Mudgee in the Central West of NSW for the annual Dragons-Rabbitohs pre-season clash.
The 2023 NRL draw is here!
Back at BlueBet Stadium, it’s 2021-22 NRL premiers Penrith Panthers who take on Super League champions St Helens in the much-anticipated World Club Challenge.
The brand new Dolphins close their pre-season campaign at home to the Moreton Daily Stadium against the Titans.
Then it’s time for the 2023 NRL Telstra Premiership. The biggest ever.
- The season will consist of 204 games in 27 rounds of the regular season.
- More action than ever before in the extended NRL Premiership season, which kicks off on 1st March 2nd and culminates with the Grand Final on Sunday 1st October.
- Teams will play 24 home and away games, and each team will also receive three byes during the regular season.
- Many more fans across Australia and New Zealand will have the chance to experience the NRL live with matches scheduled in every mainland state and territory of Australia. Locations include Tamworth, Mudgee, Bathurst, Coffs Harbour, Wagga Wagga, Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Perth and Darwin.
- The NRL Telstra Premiership returns to New Zealand in style with matches played across four major cities in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Napier.
- The Warriors play 12 games in New Zealand for the first time since 2019.
- There will also be 20 weekends of NRL matches in Brisbane in 2023.
- And the opening 10 rounds of the Telstra Premiership will feature at least one game each week at Suncorp Stadium.
- The 2023 season sees Premiership matches played in more key stadiums than ever before across Australia and New Zealand, along with major Premiership clashes at suburban venues such as 4 Pines Park, PointsBet Stadium, Leichhardt Oval, BlueBet Stadium and Campbelltown Stadium.
- All rugby league fans will be enthralled by Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins as the 17th team make their NRL debut. On March 5, it’s a Round 1 clash between the Dolphins and the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium. The NRL match long dreamed of by seventh Immortal Arthur Beetson is now becoming a reality.
- On March 24, it’s the Dolphins against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium. The ‘Battle of Brisbane’ is guaranteed to electrify the Queensland capital.
- On April 7, the Dolphins take on the Cowboys in Townsville and on April 23, they face the Titans at Suncorp Stadium.
- Until Round 8, the Dolphins will play all other Queensland NRL teams.
Dolphins draft scouted for debut season
- The opening 10 rounds alone will have fans on the edge of their seats week after week, with big rivalry derbies and blockbuster matches dominating key time slots.
- Thursday March 2 sees the Round 1 clash between the Eels and the Storm at CommBank Stadium and Friday March 3 sees the Panthers take on the Broncos at BlueBet Stadium.
- Round 2 is the Panthers and Rabbitohs on Thursday 9 March at BlueBet Stadium and the Broncos and Cowboys on Friday at Suncorp Stadium. On Saturday March 11, the Dolphins take on the Raiders at their spiritual home at Moreton Daily Stadium and on Sunday it’s a big game at 4pm at Leichhardt Oval as Wests Tigers take on the Knights.
- Round 3 features the Sea Eagles and Eels on Thursday night, the Roosters and Rabbits on Friday night and the Bulldogs and Wests Tigers at the Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.
- Round 4 sees a big Grand Final rematch between the Eels and Panthers at CommBank Stadium on Thursday night and the Dolphins and Broncos rock Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. Round five sees the Roosters and Eels on Thursday and the Rabbitohs against the Storm on Friday.
- The sixth round is a massive Easter round. The Storm and Roosters clash on Thursday April 6, with the traditional Good Friday clash between the Bulldogs and Rabbitohs as well as the Cowboys against the Dolphins taking place at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. Easter Monday, it’s Western Tigers and Eels.
- Round 7 it’s Dolphins and Rabbits on Thursday, Sea Eagles and Storms on Friday and Eels and Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon at Commbank Stadium.
- Which brings us to Round 8: the ANZAC Round. Rabbitohs and Panthers on Thursday, Eels and Broncos in Darwin on Friday and two massive ANZAC Day clashes on Tuesday – Roosters and Dragons at Allianz Stadium and Storm and Warriors at AAMI Park.
- Round 9 sees the Broncos take on the Rabbitohs on Friday night, while the Panthers take on the Wests Tigers in Bathurst.
- The Magic Round completes the amazing 10 opening rounds of the 2023 Telstra Premiership with the Queensland team highlighting each day’s action. The Dolphins make their Magic Round debut against the Sharks and there are headliners every day, including the Storm taking on fierce rivals the Rabbitohs on Saturday.
The NRL has also announced the dates and venues for the 2023 Ampol State of Origin Series. The first leg in Adelaide on 31 May, the second leg in Brisbane on 21 June and the eventual decider in Sydney on 12 July. 2023 will see the return of three Wednesday State of Origins for the first time since 2017.
“We have a lot to look forward to in the 2023 season. More matches, more rounds and more rivalry. It all starts with the new 18-team pre-season competition in February and we are also working towards a dedicated International Rugby League window in October,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.
“In 2023 the Telstra Premiership will have more local rivalry games than ever before with the introduction of the Dolphins. We are also excited to bring the NRL Telstra Premiership to even more regional locations in Australia and New Zealand.
“The athleticism and heroics of our NRL superstars is only matched by the level of support from rugby league fans and their absolute passion for the game.” Mr. Abdo said.
“Thank you to our broadcast partners Channel Nine, Fox Sports, Sky Sports New Zealand and partner company Telstra for their investment and support of the game.”
- The full 2023 pre-season challenge schedule can be found here
- The full NRL Telstra Premiership 2023 schedule can be found here
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