A new era began tonight as the NRL Telstra Premiership 2019 season was launched in a spectacular setting in Sydney.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg launched the season alongside the 16 NRL Club Captains – as well as a “new era” representative from each of the teams.
Among those at the launch, at Bondi Icebergs, were Premiership Co-Captain Jake Friend from Sydney Roosters, Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith, South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Greg Inglis, as well as the new era of stars including Newcastle’s Kalyn Ponga, North Queensland’s Jason Taumalolo and the Sea Eagles’ Tom Trbojevic.
Mr Greenberg said there was so much to look forward to in 2019.
“Our players here tonight will be front and centre of our new era,” Mr Greenberg said. “Tonight, it is their time to shine.
“To light up the stage and show the way forward for the rest of the Premiership, for our members and supporters everywhere.
“This time next week, one of the closest competitions in the world will explode.
“There is simply no competition in the world like it.”
Mr Greenberg said there were a number of new concepts and initiatives which linked with the “New Era” theme.
“We will see the opening of Bankwest Stadium, we will hold our first ever Magic Round in Brisbane, a State of Origin match in Perth, as well as the World Cup of Nines,” Mr Greenberg said.
The NRL this week launched a new campaign of which the “New Era Begins” is a central theme.
The campaign focusses on the link between Clubs and their communities, and for the first time features female players.
“It stands to reason that we would get our collective new era players to launch the season,” NRL Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Abdo said.
“The likes of Kalyn Ponga, Jason Taumalolo and Josh Addo-Carr are our next generation of superstars.”
The NRL also announced it would donate $100 for every point scored through Round One to those directly affected by the floods in North Queensland.
North Queensland Cowboys will also dedicate their opening match, on Saturday, March 16 against St George Illawarra Dragons, to raising spirits in the North, following the devastating floods.
The Round One match has been named the “Together for North Queensland” game.
NRL Clubs will also support the flood appeal with fundraising initiatives in Round One, including bucket collections.
“Rugby League is much more than just an on-field spectacle,” NRL Head of Government and Community Relations Jaymes Boland-Rudder said.
“We’re a game that reaches out to one another in times of need.”
The NRL Telstra Premiership 2019 kicks off in one week – when Melbourne Storm host Brisbane Broncos at AAMI Park.