The biggest NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership ever will feature nine rounds, double headers and, for the first time, matches in primetime.
The NRL today released the schedule for the 2023 NRLW season, which will include new teams Canberra Raiders, Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys and Wests Tigers.
The competition will kick off on Saturday, July 22 with a new Queensland derby clash between Titans and competition newcomers Cowboys at Cbus Super Stadium, followed by premiers Newcastle taking on St George Illawarra at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Round One will also feature standalone matches at Sunshine Coast Stadium (Brisbane Broncos against Sydney Roosters in the first ever NRLW primetime fixture) and CommBank Stadium (Parramatta Eels against Premiership debutantes Wests Tigers). New teams Cronulla and Canberra will face off in the final clash of the first round, as part of a Sharks-club double header at PointsBet Stadium.
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The new Premiership will feature nine standalone double headers in all club markets (Townsville, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney and Canberra), as well as 18 club double headers (NRLW matches before NRL fixtures).
All club fans will have the opportunity to show their support for the women’s teams at home with every team to host a club double header.
Round Two will feature the south-east Queensland derby between Brisbane and the Gold Coast ahead of the Broncos’ Thursday night NRL match against Sydney Roosters at the Gabba, marking the first time a football code has played a women’s and men’s double header at the ground.
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Round Three will feature an all-Queensland double header at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville, involving the Cowboys and Broncos in both the men’s and women’s competition, as well as the Grand Final rematch between Newcastle and Parramatta at CommBank Stadium, ahead of the Eels’ NRL clash with St George Illawarra.
The final two rounds will feature primetime Thursday night matches for the first time ever – with NRLW kicking off the weekend of footy when the Sharks and the Dragons facing off on in Round 8, followed by Wests Tigers against 2022 premiers Newcastle the following Thursday in Round 9.
The NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership Grand Final will be played on Sunday, October 1, before the men’s decider.
The draw has been completed through detailed consultation with clubs, the RLPA and partners to manage the complexity of a number of constraints this year, including the loss of stadiums.
“This year’s NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership will be super charged with four new teams, nine regular-season rounds, followed by semi finals and a Grand Final,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.
“In 2023, there will be new rivalries and new timeslots with every match being broadcast on free-to-air TV nationally with primetime coverage for the first time ever.
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“The schedule will include a balance of standalone double headers, club double headers and standalone fixtures at new venues, aimed at maximising the opportunity for fans to experience the Premiership live or on broadcast across a range of markets,” Abdo said.
Telstra’s Genelle Sharples, Principal – Media, Sponsorship & Awards said: “Telstra is proud to support women’s rugby league as the naming rights partner of the NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership.
“The expansion of this season’s Premiership is something we are excited to be part of. An expanded Premiership provides greater career opportunities for aspiring professional female athletes, more games to watch for more fans and a deeper connection to communities across Australia.
“This is such a positive for participation at all levels of the game and for encouraging participation for women in sport more broadly, and all the physical and mental health benefits that provides.
“We’re excited to see the continued vibrant future for women in rugby league and can’t wait to see all the teams take the field from 22 July.”
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Every match of the season will be available for fans to watch on the Nine Network, Fox Sports and Kayo Sports.
For the full NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership draw, please click here.