The NRL will stage an unprecedented four doubleheaders across four major cities in Australia and New Zealand next season.
Sydney’s ANZ Stadium and Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium will host doubleheaders in 2018 along with the new Perth Stadium and Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, all in the first 10 rounds of the premiership.
It will be the first time in the NRL's history that four doubleheaders have been a part of the schedule.
The four events will feature:
- South Sydney Rabbitohs v Vodafone Warriors and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Melbourne Storm at Perth Stadium in round one on Saturday, March 10
- South Sydney Rabbitohs v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and Parramatta Eels v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at ANZ Stadium in round three on Saturday, March 24
- Wests Tigers v Melbourne Storm and Vodafone Warriors v North Queensland Cowboys at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium in round five on Saturday, April 7
- Melbourne Storm v Gold Coast Titans and Manly Warringah Sea Eagles v Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium in round 10 on Saturday, May 12
The Perth doubleheader will feature the first match as defending premiers for the Melbourne Storm while the Auckland doubleheader will feature both grand finalists Melbourne and the North Queensland Cowboys.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said the doubleheaders would create an exciting element of next season’s schedule.
“We will have doubleheaders in four major cities – three in Australia and one in New Zealand,” said Greenberg.
“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 having more control over the premiership schedule in 2018.
“We have had significant success with doubleheaders at Suncorp Stadium in recent seasons and this is a natural progression.
“It will create more blockbuster events for our fans in 2018.”