The NSWRL’s premier competition below the NRL Premiership, the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, will be broadcast live on Channel Nine – one of Australia’s major television networks – in 2018 for the first time. This Channel Nine coverage will work alongside an increased coverage from FOX SPORTS, making it the most watched in the history of the competition.
Although full details of the draw are yet to be finalised, all 24 rounds of the regular season will feature in a 1pm Saturday slot, live on the Nine Network. Up to two live games will also be covered each week on FOX LEAGUE, on Foxtel – FOX SPORTS’ dedicated Rugby League channel.
Barrie-Jon Mather, the NSWRL General Manager of Football, spoke of the effort that has gone into making this happen: “We’ve worked really hard with the 12 clubs and the broadcasters to build a draw that will take the Intrust Super Premiership NSW competition to a bigger audience than ever before,”
“Next season, with the support of Channel Nine, FOX LEAGUE and the NRL, the quality and the talent of the NRL’s next-generation will be on show for all to see.
For the first time, free-to-air TV will showcase our state’s premier competition, highlighting the continued growth and quality of the league.”
It is becoming increasingly likely that the coverage by Channel Nine will begin when the competition kicks-off in Round One as St George Illawarra take on the Mounties at WIN Stadium.
Tom Malone, Channel Nine’s Director of Sport, hailed the increased coverage that will be given to the competition by his network: “We’re very excited to be broadcasting the Intrust Super Premiership NSW competition in 2018. It’s a great competition with so much heritage and tribalism. It will be terrific to see the likes of the North Sydney Bears and Newtown Jets back at the centre of Sydney’s Rugby League television offering.”
The 2018 season will include three special rounds:
Respect Round (Round 5, 7-8 April), to coincide with the beginning of the Junior League season
Magic Round (Round 11, 19-20 May), which will see two triple-headers of Intrust Super Premiership NSW games, likely to be played at the iconic venues, Henson Park and North Sydney Oval
Heritage Round (Round 20, 28-29 July), which will raise awareness and funds for Men of League.
Newtown Jets CEO, Stuart McCarthy expressed his delight: “Henson Park is renowned for a great atmosphere for Intrust Super Premiership NSW games and I think it would be wonderful afternoon.
“The more teams and the more groups of supporters who can come down and experience an old-fashioned day of afternoon football the better for everyone involved in the game.”
Yet another feature of the competition will be the inclusion of several double-headers with the new-look Jersey Flegg Cup (an Under-20 competition) or other NSWRL competitions, rather than just stand-alone games.
Brendan O’Farrell, the Intrust Super CEO, could not hide his excitement over the new deal: “As a passionate supporter of grass-roots Rugby League, Intrust Super is delighted that fans will be treated with plenty of double-headers and special rounds. These events increase the level of excitement around the Intrust Super Premiership NSW matches and the game generally.
“Naturally, we are also excited about the prospect of having this fantastic competition screened on free-to-air television this season. This will do great things for the profile of the game and also help extend its reach to more loyal fans.”
NSWRL recognises the NRL’s support, and particularly David Silverton, in delivering such a brilliant broadcasting outcome for the competition.
Other key features in the draw include:
Round 1: Premiers Penrith begin their title defence at home against Wentworthville
Round 3: Traditional rivals North Sydney Bears and Newtown Jets contest the Frank Hyde Shield – named in honour of the NSW’s representative, Frank Hyde, whom was later awarded an MBE for his work as a commentator
Round 13: Grand Final re-match as Wyong have the chance to avenge last season’s Grand Final heartache against the Panthers.