After a spectacular 2018 season which delivered the closest finals race in NRL history, rugby league is back on Nine with the biggest year of coverage yet.
With more live programming across Nine and 9Now, footy fans around the country will get more of the action they love, along with the best expert analysis and opinions from the top commentary lineup in Australian sport.
In the first game of the season tonight at 7.30pm AEDT on Macca’s Thursday Night Footy, last year’s grand finalists, the Melbourne Storm, take on a young Brisbane Broncos side packed with exciting talent. It’s a new era for Melbourne, with captain Cameron Smith leading a side without Billy Slater, who will be watching from the Nine commentary desk after hanging up his boots in 2018.
But the Storm are still blessed with one of the best backlines in the competition, highlighted by representative stars such as Will Chambers, Josh Addo-Carr and Cameron Munster. They will meet a Broncos outfit full of raw confidence in young guns Jamayne Isaako, David Fifita and Thomas Flegler, under new coach Anthony Seibold.
On Friday Night Footy at 7.30pm AEDT, the volcanic rivalry between the defending premiers, the Roosters, and the Rabbitohs erupts when NRL returns to the Sydney Cricket Ground, one of the great homes of rugby league. There are tantalising match-ups in the backs and the forwards, none more anticipated than Souths’ Greg Inglis versus the Roosters’ Latrell Mitchell in the centres. Will GI’s positional change prove to be a masterstroke from the master coach, Wayne Bennett, who has replaced Seibold at the Rabbitohs?
The Roosters will also be playing Origin star Angus Crichton off the bench in his first game against his former club.
Following both games, two new NRL programs, Macca’s Golden Point and Friday Night Knock Off, will debut respectively, offering unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to players and coaches around the grounds each week. The new members of Nine’s commentary lineup, former champions Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater and Sam Thaiday, will add their opinions and insights to both shows, breaking down key moments in the games.
With eight straight hours of NRL and sporting content every Sunday, 2019 is going to be a big year for sports fans, starting with Sports Sunday at 10.00am AEDT, which is followed by the returning Sunday Footy Show.
Chemist Warehouse Sunday Kick Off makes its debut at 3.00pm AEDT this Sunday afternoon, a thorough game preview from the ground before Chemist Warehouse Sunday Footy, and a hot take on the round to date.
In the Sunday game at 4.00pm AEDT, Parramatta will be out to forget last season’s woes against a Panthers team fancied as one of the top candidates to win the premiership.
Coach Ivan Cleary returns to the Panthers to reunite with his son, Origin halfback Nathan Cleary, who pairs with fellow NSW Origin player James Maloney in the halves. The Eels have been bolstered with two big signings, Junior Paulo and Blake Ferguson, and with Mitchell Moses leading them around the park, Parramatta fans are looking to start the season on the front foot.
Plus, 100% Footy returns on Monday night at 10.00pm AEDT for its second season, with NRL CEO Todd Greenberg going one-on-one with Phil Gould – often viewed as one of his biggest critics.