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NRL Premiership - We're back!

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NRL Premiership - We're back!

NRL Premiership - We're back!

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Shout it from the rooftops if you like. And then give yourself a sanitised hand, and pat yourself on the back for sticking through this.
By Andrew Voss.

What was viewed by many as a controversial and bold plan by the NRL to resume the competition on  May 28th has come to fruition.

However, what we pick up with and how the season looks is vastly different to what we had when we kicked off round one on March 12th.

And what is introduced for season 2.0 via the NRL project tagged ‘Apollo’ could, and more than likely will, change as things return to normal across Australia and New Zealand.

What we do know is that we now have an NRL season to run 20 rounds, with the points from the two rounds played pre-lockdown to stand.

As a mark of great respect, the Warriors’ sacrifices have been acknowledged by all

That means the Warriors are one of six teams that relaunch on zero points. It’s actually quite esteemed company as the defending premiers, the Sydney Roosters, are also winless after losses to Penrith and Manly. The other four sides seeking to open their account quick smart are the Sharks, Dragons, Bulldogs and Titans.

At the top, the Eels, Knights, Raiders, Storm, Broncos and Panthers have the maximum four points. That has to be an advantage as we now set sail on 18 consecutive weekends, with no byes or representative season to interrupt.

The grand final has been rescheduled for October 25th, with the usual four weeks of playoffs locked in. While it’s awesome to have the game back, tipsters are going to need some serious help at gauging the impact of the changes. For starters, does home ground advantage still exist, with no crowds to be allowed into matches on the competition resumption?

And what is a home ground anyway? Only a handful of clubs will get to play at what they call home, with only six venues to be used across the board. You will see matches scheduled for the Storm in Melbourne, the Broncos in Brisbane and the Cowboys in Townsville, but the only other grounds in play are Central Coast Stadium, Campbelltown and Bankwest Stadium.

No team is more the Travelling Wilburysthan Stephen Kearney’s Warriors. After setting up base on their return to Australia in Tamworth, their next hub will be on the Central Coast of New South Wales, an hour’s drive north of Sydney.

Yes, this could change, but that’s the canvas  the team is working off for things to get back underway. As a mark of great respect, the Warriors’ sacrifices have been acknowledged by all. Hopefully, a bit of karma can be converted to points!

Tipsters also have to calculate on-field changes with the biggie: going back to a one-referee system. There’s also the introduction of a ‘six to go’ call that the referees will have at their discretion for minor ruck infringements such as defenders ‘wrestling’, rather than blowing a penalty. This won’t have been trialled in a game situation, as we hit the ground running on May 28th. Sounds like a surefire recipe for controversy with a capital C!

No team is more the Travelling Wilburys than Stephen Kearney’s Warriors

As for representative football, all we know at this stage is that State of Origin will be slotted in for November. A schedule of any test football is still to be finalised.

So, get on board with Sky Sport as we rip back into a season that we’ll all be able to say about in the future, ‘We were there’.

The last week in May saw the competition kick off, first to go head-to-head were the Broncos and the Eels. The Broncos return for the first match in June, Thursday 4th at 9pm on Sky Sport 4, and this time
will be squaring off against the Sydney Roosters.

It’s nice to be back talking footy.

Skywatch, June 2020


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