Posted: 14 November, 2012
NRL 2013 Season Preview
The countdown to the 2013 NRL season is already on, with the draw to be announced any day.
Here's what we know so far...
The 2013 NRL Premiership will kick-off with Thursday night games to be shown on the Nine Network in each of the first four rounds.
A Roosters v South Sydney round one Thursday night showdown at Allianz Stadium before a bumper crowd is looming as the ideal way for Channel Nine to begin its new broadcasting deal.
After a fantastic year for the Rabbitohs, and the Roosters signing of Sonny Bill Williams, it would be a great season opener.
It's also predicted that Manly Sea Eagles will play the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium (the old Lang Park) in a round one blockbuster to commemorate 25 years since one of the most famous club games in the modern era - it was Broncos' first match, Wally Lewis was dominant, Manly were reigning premiers, but got smashed 44 points to 10. Oh, and Manly's Don McKinnon urinated on the field!
Tipped to face each other in the second round are the Eels and Bulldogs.
In round three of next year's premiership, prepare for a grand final rematch between the Melbourne Storm and Bulldogs in a Thursday night blockbuster.
Later in the season, prepare for a massive match when Sonny Bill Williams returns to ANZ Stadium with the Roosters to face his old club, the Bulldogs.
More Big Games
The Daily Telegraph have leaked details of Channel Nine's free-to-air choices on Thursday, Friday and Sunday in the opening 20 rounds.
The Brisbane Broncos will get more Channel Nine coverage than any other club because of the ratings they attract in Queensland, with 18 of their first 20 matches to be shown.
The Rabbitohs and the Bulldogs have been given 14 free-to-air spots each, and Manly has been given 10 slots.
Wayne Bennett's Newcastle Knights have been given only 5 games on free-to-air. The Raiders and the Warriors only have 1 game each.
The Cronulla Sharks, boosted by the signings of Beau Ryan, Luke Lewis and Michael Gordon, will get at least eight games. Nine is also expecting wooden-spooners Parramatta to improve under Ricky Stuart by choosing them for eight games.