The NRL launched the 2015 calendar which will see 10 months of Rugby League competitions, events and entertainment.
Coach Rick Stone, Nines captain Jarrod Mullen as well as Jeremy Smith attended the launch in Auckland on Thursday evening.
NRL CEO Dave Smith said 2015 would have something for every League fan.
It begins this weekend with the Dick Smith Auckland Nines featuring all 16 NRL teams in the exciting, fast version of the game.
This will be followed by:
- The return of the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match
- An expanded World Club Series
- The NRL Telstra Premiership with a new look draw aimed at having more blockbuster matches
- The Holden State of Origin Series and representative matches
- The Touch Football World Cup in May, featuring 100 teams from 25 nations
The launch was held last night in Auckland for the first time.
This recognises the 20th anniversary of the Warriors being in the NRL competition and the success of the New Zealand team in the recent Four Nations tournament.
Smith said a highlight of the season would be the special commemoration of the100th ANZAC which will see five games on the same day in Auckland, Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
He said there would also be more Easter holiday matches, a revitalised Monday night schedule and Thursday night football leading into the Finals Series.
“And, of course, we will be taking State of Origin to the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground for the first time in 18 years,” Smith said.
“It is an exceptional calendar which has something for everyone.”
Meanwhile, the NRL also announced that there will be four themed rounds during the 2015 Telstra Premiership:
- Play NRL (round 3) – encouraging children and families to participate in Rugby League
- Women In League (round 10) – acknowledging the key role women play in the game
- Heritage Round (Round 19) – partnering with the Men of League to recognise past players and the history of the game. It will include a charity element for injured players
- Indigenous Round (Round 22) – supporting the huge contribution of Indigenous communities to Rugby League
In addition, the NRL will stage one of its biggest rounds ever – with five games in five cities on ANZAC Day – as part of the commemoration of the 100 years of ANZAC.