A new era for the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership was unveiled today at the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Launch in Sydney.
Melbourne Storm, Queensland and Australian Captain Cameron Smith launched the season, alongside 15 other representatives from each of the Clubs, at Circular Quay in Sydney.
Among those to help Smith launch the season were North Queensland Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston, Brisbane Broncos Captain Darius Boyd, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Co-Captain Wade Graham, St George Illawarra Dragons skipper Gareth Widdop, Newcastle Knights halfback Mitchell Pearce as well as NRL CEO Todd Greenberg.
Mr Greenberg said the game was at the beginning of a new cycle following a number of significant agreements and events which would allow the game to consolidate.
“We have a new agreement with the playing group, we have an agreement with the Clubs, we are on the verge of an historic Stadium network, while we are also at the very start of a new broadcast cycle which will see the game accessible to more people than ever before,” Mr Greenberg said.
“Above all, the on-field game is better than ever.
“I truly feel it is a great time to be part of the game.”
The 2018 Telstra Premiership kicks off in one week – when the Dragons host the Broncos at Jubilee Oval.
Smith’s Storm side will play in a double header involving the Bulldogs, South Sydney and the Warriors in Round One at the new Perth Stadium.
Smith won a unique trifecta in 2017 – captaining the Storm, the Maroons and the Kangaroos to glory in the one calendar year.
“To be able to stand here today, alongside these amazing and talented players, is a true honour,” Smith said at today’s launch.
“We are all representatives of this game, and we do so with pride and privilege.”
The NRL’s new marketing campaign, including the tagline “This is how we league”, was also launched during the event, watched on by hundreds of supporters.
The new campaign will feature a TVC, as well as social media and community-based activations, including murals which have been painted in Rugby League heartlands.
“The campaign is about confidently saying we’re proud of who we are, and what we stand for,” Mr Greenberg said.
“It’s all about celebrating a truly diverse fan community and the unique relationship they have with their team, and the game.”