It promises to be footy at its very best as rugby league returns with a bang to ANZ Stadium in 2018.
The season starts in spectacular style with a history NRL v English Super League double-header on Saturday 17 February with St George Illawarra against Hull FC and South Sydney Rabbitohs against Wigan Warriors.
Then the NRL season starts proper with a mouth-watering March schedule locked in for ANZ Stadium.
The early season highlights include:
- Wests Tigers will host a Round 1 classic on Saturday 10 March (4pm kick-off) with Benji Marshall returning to the Tigers and NSW fullback James Tedesco lining up for the Sydney Roosters against his old club;
- A Round 3 Double-Header – coinciding with the first weekend of the 2018 Sydney Royal Easter Show – will feature Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles and Eels v Sharks on Saturday 24 March;
- EasterFootyFest will feature traditional rivals Rabbitohs v Bulldogs on Good Friday 30 March, and Tigers v Eels on Easter Monday 2 April.
ANZ Stadium will host 34 games over the 25 regular-season rounds, including 26 games that will be Sydney v Sydney club contests.
More than half of the ANZ Stadium games are completed by 7.30pm, including 11 day-time matches – giving families the best possible opportunity to enjoy the footy.
The Parramatta Eels will play 11 home games at the Stadium, the South Sydney Rabbitohs 10, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 9 and Wests Tigers 4 – and all four clubs will play multiple Sydney v Sydney games offering reciprocal entry rights to club Members.
The ANZ Stadium home clubs are working with the NRL on a number of game-day initiatives that will benefit fans in season 2018. Stand-by for some exciting news!
Among other regular-season highlights at ANZ Stadium in 2018, the Rabbitohs in Round 10 will host fierce rivals the Dragons on Sunday afternoon 13 May while the Tigers will host the Bulldogs in a Round 12 Western Sydney shootout on Sunday 27 May, and the Bulldogs will host the Dragons on the Queen’s Birthday Monday 11 June.
ANZ Stadium will also host a historic first stand-alone State of Origin match on Sunday 24 June – a blockbuster that will be one of the most anticipated sporting events in the Southern Hemisphere next year.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said the NRL had worked with the broadcasters to ensure a new-look draw aimed at benefitting fans, clubs and players.
“We have more control of the schedule for 2018 and we believe we have been able to deliver some wins for everyone, but particularly the fans,” Mr Greenberg said.
“There are more blockbusters in family-friendly timeslots.
“And there will be at least one Sydney match for fans to attend nearly every Sunday during the season.
“We have also worked with the clubs to ensure that their requested priority match-ups were delivered.
“Having more control of the draw has allowed us to not only release the schedule earlier, but it has also allowed us to analyse the structure of the draw in greater detail.”