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NRL News Round-Up: Double-Headers planned for 2018

Rippa Staff 9 Oct 2017
  • NRL plans for double-headers in 2018
  • Taumalolo speaks on Kiwi defection
  • Dragons welcome a new face
NRL CEO Todd Greenburg

Steve Bennett rounds up the latest NRL news including the NRL's plans for the 2018 season draw.


In a new approach to the 2018 season, the NRL has announced it will host four double-header fixtures in the first 10 rounds of the 2018 season.

Building on the success of previous double-header events, history will be made when the rugby league public will witness four such spectacles held in four different cities in the one season. 

NRL CEO Todd Greenburg believes the innovation will be well received by the fans.

“We will have double-headers in four major cities – three in Australia and one in New Zealand” Greenburg said.

“This is a huge step for the game and I’d like to thank the clubs involved for their efforts to embrace the concept and ensure the matches eventuated”.

“This is also a direct result of us (the NRL) having more control over the Premiership schedule in 2018”.

“We have had significant success with double-headers at Suncorp Stadium (Brisbane) in recent seasons and this is a natural progression”.

The teams and schedule for the blockbuster events are:

Round One, March 10, Perth Stadium – 
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs New Zealand Warriors 
Canterbury Bulldogs vs Melbourne Storm

Round Three, March 24, ANZ Stadium – 
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Manly Sea Eagles
Parramatta Eels vs Cronulla Sharks

Round Five, April 7, Mt. Smart Stadium (NZ) – 
Wests Tigers vs Melbourne Storm
New Zealand Warriors vs North Queensland Cowboys

Round 10, May 12, Suncorp Stadium – 
Melbourne Storm vs Gold Coast Titans
Manly Sea Eagles vs Brisbane Broncos

All four double-headers will be broadcast exclusively by Foxsports on Fox League (they are all Saturday night events).


North Queensland Cowboys star Jason Taumalolo has spoken for the first time over his decision to play for Tonga in this year’s Rugby League World Cup. While refusing to address specifically why he left the New Zealand team he did say what he looked forward to by making the switch.

“It will mean a lot, especially for my family. Although I was born in New Zealand, the rules gave me the chance to go back and play for Tonga and my heritage” Taumalolo said.

Some reports are suggesting that Taumalolo didn’t agree with the way that Kiwi teammates Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor were dealt with by the New Zealand officials.  David Kidwell’s decision in particular to stand both players down from the World Cup after they were found in possession of drugs earlier this year was not well received by the Cowboys forward.

New Zealand coach David Kidwell was surprised by Taumalolo’s defection, fully expecting him to pull on the Kiwi jersey this year.

“We’ve made a number of phone calls, e-mails and texts, you have to have a conversation with Jason there” Kidwell said.

“I respect his decision but a conversation would’ve been good” he added.

When asked if he will ever play for New Zealand again, Taumalolo was again up against a wall for a reply.

“I can’t answer that at the moment, sorry”.


St.George/Illawarra have welcomed a new member to their coaching staff in time for the 2018 season.

Former Hull and Wakefield boss Richard Agar will join the joint venture club as he leaves his position as assistant coach of English Super League team Warrington. The Wolves have confirmed that Agar has signed off after three years as assistant coach to Tony Smith who has also left the English club.

Agar brings plenty of experience with him and is looking forward to the new challenge.

 “I have been fortunate to experience grand finals, Challenge Cup finals, winning the league and a world Cup during my coaching career in this country” Agar said.

“To experience living and working in Australia at this stage of my life is an opportunity I feel I could not pass up for both me and my family”.


In a move that surprised no one, the Fiji side have announced that Gold Coast fullback Jarryd Hayne will join their squad for the World Cup.

Hayne joins a number of NRL based players in the Fijian line-up including Melbourne Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu, Apisai Koroisau and Akuila Uate from the Sea Eagle and the Sims brothers, Korbin (Broncos) and Ashton (ESL side Warrington).

Wests Tigers winger Kevin Naiqama has been named to captain the side.

Fiji kick off their World Cup campaign against the USA on October 28 in Townsville.


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NRL News Round-Up: Double-Headers planned for 2018

All the latest NRL news including the NRL's plan for double-headers

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