Entering the 2018 NRL Finals Melbourne are the defending champions and looking to become the first-ever to win consecutive Grand Finals under the banner, but the only thing certain is that the remaining clubs will go all out to unseat the Storm, and you can enjoy the action at home on your TV, or when streaming the matches live with a mobile device.
Must See 2018 NRL Premiership TV
When: March 8 – September 30
There will be a number of fascinating contests during the 2018 Telstra NRL Premiership season, highlighted of course in the regular season by local derbies, chief among them include the much anticipated Queensland Derby between the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys, as well as the Western Derby which sees the Parramatta Eels battle the Penrith Panthers. Also not to be overlooked are the annual Ron Coote Cup clashes between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Sydney Roosters, regarded one of the most brutal in the NRL, which includes more Grand Final meetings than any other two clubs in league history.
Preliminary Final weekend in the NRL kicks off on Friday night with an absolute beauty between the winners of the last two premierships, the Melbourne Storm and Cronulla Sharks, to be played at AAMI Park in Melbourne. The Sharks have had the wood on the Storm ever since they beat them in the 2016 Grand Final, with their players have the amazing ability of really getting under their skin, as we saw earlier in the year when they beat Melbourne in a game which saw over 30 penalties blown. But this looks a golden chance for Melbourne to get one back. They are fresh having had the week off and will have the likes of Cameron Munster and Billy Slater much better for the run in the first week of the finals against South Sydney. The Sharks have had to do it the hard way this Finals Series, losing narrowly to the Roosters in week one before beating the Panthers by a point in a thriller after leading 18-0 at one stage. Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis are under injury, and combined with Wade Graham out for the season, the Storm look ideally placed in front of their home fans.
Among the action this week being broadcast Live on Fox with no ad-breaks during play, that will either be limited by geography or not be available on the NRL Free to Air (Network Nine) in this round includes:
NRL Finals LIVE TV Times (AEST)
Fri Sept 21: Storm vs Sharks at 7.40pm (Nine/Fox)
Sat Sept 22: Roosters vs Rabbitohs 7.40pm (Nine/Fox
Above matches shown as Sydney time, adjust for regional differences. Fox League (507) will show NRL TV replays through-out the following week, so you can enjoy the games no matter your schedule.
Watch or Stream the NRL Live
If you enjoy Rugby League action then the Fox League channel is the place for you, televising the NRL and every team Live and in HD with no ad-breaks during play before the grand final, while offering full match replays not available on Free to Air TV and 24/7 news, scores and highlights.So if you’re a resident of Australia you may wish to review the Foxtel Sports Combo pack, which currently offers no standard installation fee and the first 2 months FREE if trialled by October 13. With the Sports Combo you can watch Rugby live at home, or if you have to be out and about you can stream the NRL free (grand final excluded) to eligible mobile devices through the Foxtel Go app within minutes of getting started.
NRL on Free to Air
Starting in 2018, the NRL Premiership season will consist of twenty-five rounds. The majority of games will be played from Thursday to Sunday, with Wednesday and Monday matches reserved for special occasions, and rounds 13 and 17 shortened to accommodate the State of Origin. Friday will see multiple day-evening double headers, and the first Monday match will be introduced on Easter weekend, April 2nd.
The Free to Air NRL coverage on Nine Network will include live telecasts of the games on Thursday and Friday nights, as well as Sunday afternoon. Likewise, the last five Saturday night games will be shown on Network Nine in the lead up to the Finals series. While Foxtel will televise every game in every Round Live before the Grand Final, with up to five exclusive matches each week including those on Super Saturday and Sunday night footy, on their 24/7 NRL dedicated Fox League channel.
2018 NRL Free to Air and Foxtel TV Fixtures
Thursday Night: Nine/Foxtel
Friday Evening: Foxtel
Friday Night: Nine/Foxtel
Saturday Afternoon: Foxtel
Saturday Evening: Foxtel
Saturday Night: Foxtel
Sunday Game 1: Foxtel
Sunday Game 2: Nine/Foxtel
Holidays Game 1: Nine/Foxtel
Holidays Game 2: Foxtel
NRL Regional Broadcast Times
Use this City and State chart to determine what time the match will start in your location. so whether enjoying at home or watching on mobile, you won’t miss a key minute. For example, based on their differences, games that kick off at 8.00pm in Melbourne will be broadcast at 7.30pm in Adelaide and at 6.00pm in Perth.
Sydney, NSW: 7.00pm
Melbourne, VIC: 7.00pm
Hobart, TAS: 7.00pm
Canberra, ACT: 7.00pm
Adelaide, SA: 6.30pm
Brisbane, QLD: 6.00pm
Darwin, NT: 5.30pm
Perth, WA: 4.00pm
Clubs and Rivalries
For most people, they have the side they cheer on, and their second team is the North Queensland Cowboys, so there was hardly any Rugby League fan that could begrudge the Cowboys their maiden premiership in 2015, won in the most thrilling circumstances, with Johnathon Thurston booting home a field goal in Golden Point. 2017 saw the Cowboys reach the Grand Final without Thurston and star prop Matt Scott. Add those two, plus Jordan McLean, and they are going to be one tough side to beat in 2018 as they demonstrated in the 2018 Testimonial match.
The Cronulla Sharks won the first title in their 50 year history in 2016, but came up way short last year, so they will be looking for redemption in 2018. Their problem in recent years was that they hadn’t been able to score points, but they have brought in Matt Moylan from Penrith, and we know how brilliant he is. Combined with Paul Gallen and Andrew Fifita, Cronulla do look well placed to win the Premiership or at least go very close to challenging this season.
The Brisbane Broncos are one of the best clubs in the business and coach Wayne Bennett returned to the helm at 2015, taking the side to the Grand Final and losing in heartbreaking fashion. The Cowboys broke their hearts then, and did the same thing in 2016 in one of the best finals’ matches ever witnessed, losing in extra time. 2017, they were pretty disappointing in the Prelim Final against Melbourne, getting outclassed 30-0. Jack Bird has been brought in from Cronulla, so at their best, Brisbane should be a very dangerous team.
2018 NRL Players to Watch
Johnathon Thurston is the best in the game, and perhaps the greatest of all time. He has achieved it all in the game. Couple of premierships, a World Cup, 10 NRL State Of Origin series, four Dally M Medals, plus more. He’s the best of the modern era. He has put Rep Footy aside to focus on steering the Cowboys to another Premiership, and the side does look well placed after what they achieved in 2017 without him and Matt Scott, their two inspirational leaders.
In terms of the most watched player in 2018, there will certainly be eyes on Cooper Cronk, who is now with the Sydney Roosters after leaving Melbourne Storm, where he had been since making his debut some 15 years ago. He established himself as one of the best half backs of all time at the Storm but moved to Sydney to be closer to his partner. He’s now at the Roosters for a couple of years and anything less than a premiership during that time will be considered a failure, and you can watch him and your other favourite players when you stream the NRL live.
Jarryd Hayne will have enormous pressure and expectation on him. He returns back home to Parramatta after a stint with the Gold Coast Titans, where he didn’t really seem at all happy and was one of the major reasons why Neil Henry got sacked. Back home now at the Eels, where he wanted to be since day one, so there are no real excuses for Hayne in 2018. He talks a big game. Now he has to show it on the field, especially given his NSW spot in Origin is under threat.