Knights join national touch football competition

The nib Newcastle Knights are delighted to be one of six NRL clubs to take part in the inaugural NRL Touch Premiership, with the first game taking place before Round 16's clash against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Saturday, June 30.

On Thursday, Touch Football Australia (TFA) CEO Steve Mitchell and NRL CEO Todd Greenberg announced that a brand new NRL Touch Premiership will commence this year, whereby elite touch football teams aligned with NRL clubs will play touch football games as curtain raisers to NRL games.

The Newcastle Knights touch side is a representative side for the region and will offer elite touch players the opportunity to play at McDonald Jones Stadium in front of red and blue supporters.

"We are proud to be part of the inaugural Touch Premiership," said Knights CEO Philip Gardner.

"Touch is a very important pathway into rugby league, and we believe the more people we can encourage to play touch or rugby league in the region the better.

"It's remarkable to see female participation is almost on par with the men in touch football, and it's great to see in local leagues, the sport can be mixed-gender where brothers and sisters, mums and dads, and everyone can play in the same team.

"Kalyn Ponga and Aidan Guerra came up through touch, and we're witnessing first-hand the superb attributes and skills it can develop.

"Touch is a fantastic spectator sport and I'm sure our crowd will enjoy watching the games."

TFA CEO's Steve Mitchell is excited about having a Knights team in the mix.

"We look forward to showcasing the Knights touch talent in front of a home crowd at McDonald Jones Stadium for Round 16," Mitchell said.

"Newcastle is becoming Australia's home of international touch football – the city will also host our next Trans-Tasman Test Series, in 2020 and 2022."

The Knights will field both a men's and women's side, with each game lasting 30 minutes.

As well as the Knights, the Wests Tigers, Parramatta Eels, Brisbane Broncos, Gold Coast Titans and North Queensland Cowboys will make up the competition, which will comprise of two games per team, and a finals series.

Touch games will be broadcast nationally, as a mix of live and delayed broadcasts.