Last year’s NRL Telstra Premiership was one of the most brilliant in recent history, with the top of the ladder Storm beating the eighth-placed Cowboys Storm to claim their third title in 20 years of being in the competition. Here in 2018 a good number of teams will be looking to dethrone Melbourne, with several of the most exciting contests scheduled on the weekend.
The regular round-by-round season is highlighted Super Saturday with the games played back-to-back, and you can enjoy every minute of the action at home on your TV, or stream the matches live to eligible mobile devices.
Super Saturday 2018 NRL Preview
The early rounds of the season when it comes to Super Saturday sees a couple of non NSW teams feature prominently, starting off with the North Queensland Cowboys, who became the first-ever side to make it to the Grand Final after finishing eighth on the NRL Ladder, before being outclassed by the Minor Premier winning the Melbourne Storm. The Cowboys will play four consecutive Saturday matches in rounds 5-8. While the defending champs, the Melbourne Storm, have a Saturday match right out the gate on March 10, and then in round 5, as well as two key Saturday contests in the month of May, round 10 (vs Titans) and round 11 (vs Sea Eagles).
When: March 8 – September 30
Where: Australia and New Zealand
As for the eight clubs based in New South Wales, the Sydney Roosters, who have the best halfback-hooker combination for 2018 in Jake Friend and Cooper Cronk, get the early Super Saturday honours with games in round one and round 4 (vs Warriors). Another NSW side that enters 2018 with high expectations, the Cronulla Sharks, drew the late game on Saturday in round 3, as well as the first weekend in May (round 9) vs the Eels, but there’s no NSW team that has more Saturday matches in the early rounds than the South Sydney Rabbitohs. The Rabbitohs will be playing three consecutive Saturday games right off in rounds 1-3, in addition to a couple big matches in May, round 11 (vs Cowboys) and round 12 (vs Warriors) which should reveal a lot about where the Bunnies are headed in 2018.
The complete list of Super Saturday contests in this round of the NRL, including the matches that are exclusive to Fox League, Foxtel’s 24/7 Rugby channel, are:
Sun Sept 30 LIVE: Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm at 7.20pm (Nine)
Sun Sept 30 replay: Roosters vs Storm at 11.00pm (Fox League)
*Shown as Sydney time, adjust for regional differences. NRL matches on Free to Air include ad-breaks, and do not offer full replays per broadcasting agreement. NRL Live Streaming available for every match excluding the Grand Final with eligible devices through the Foxtel App on the Fox League channel.
Watch or Stream the NRL Live
If you enjoy Rugby action the Fox League channel is the place for you, televising every round and all teams Live and ad-break free during play before the grand final. With NRL Saturday free to air matches extremely limited during this new season, you may wish to Stream the NRL live using an eligible mobile device through the Foxtel App.
You may wish to review the Foxtel Sports Combo package which currently offers the first 3 months free if trialled by September 17. With the Sports Combo you can watch Rugby Live at home, and if you have to be out and about you can stream the NRL free online (grand final excluded) using the Foxtel App within minutes of signing up.
Super Saturday Players to Watch
It will be a big year for Souths half Adam Reynolds. With Mitchell Pearce and his career in limbo, the number seven spot in the New South Wales Origin side is up for grabs, and many have said that Reynolds is an origin player waiting in the wings. If he can play some solid and consistent football, then he will strongly challenge for that spot.
Johnathon Thurston is the best in the business, I don’t think there is any disputing that. He got his Cowboys side home in an epic Grand Final against Brisbane, and continued on in 2016, steering his side to the World Club Challenge title against Leeds Rhinos. He is one of the all time greats and will be a major force once again in 2018.
It’s rare to see the South Sydney Rabbitohs not mentioned as premiership threats, but that is the case in 2018 due to losing a host of stars. That means that their best players need to step up, and that’s Greg Inglis, who played superbly in the All Stars game. If Inglis weaves his magic wand, he can get the Bunnies near the top and go close towards the title once again.
There was also the Charity Shield 2018 between the Dragons and Rabbitohs on Saturday the 24th of February. This was preceded by a game between the Melbourne Storm and North Queensland Cowboys, the NRL Testimonial Match on Friday the 23rd of February. The NRL All Stars and Auckland Nines were removed from the 2018 NRL calendar, but may very well return next year.