NRL clubs and St Helens will be vying for an extra prize prior to the season, with the inaugural Pre-Season Challenge officially unveiled on Tuesday.
All 17 teams, as well as the reigning UK Super League champions, will compete in a two-week competition with the winners earning $100,000.
The tournament will encourage ‘open and entertaining play’ with 12 points awarded for a win and six points for a draw, while bonus points will be available if a side scores five or more tries, makes five or more linebreaks or produces ten or more offloads.
The concept will give clubs an added incentive to put their best players on the field during pre-season and give fans something to look forward to prior to the NRL season beginning in early-March.
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“Having 18 teams and the added innovations, prize money and all matches televised live will create an exciting two weeks of football for fans,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.
“The 2023 Pre-Season Challenge offers a new experience for clubs, players and most importantly fans, ahead of another highly anticipated Telstra Premiership in 2023.
“Overt two action packed weekends, we have traditional rivalry matches, the inclusion of St Helens, the Dolphins featuring in pre-season for the first time, the Charity Shield and World Club Challenge to look forward to.”
The tournament will kick off on February 9th with a clash between the Warriors and Tigers, before concluding
Clubs will be limited to 28 players for their opening match and 26 players for their second match.
NRL Pre-Season Challenge 2023 schedule
|9th Feb||6pm||Warriors vs Tigers||Mt. Smart Stadium, Auckland|
|10th Feb||5.55pm||Knights vs Sharks||Industree Group Stadium, Gosford|
|10th Feb||8pm||Rabbitohs vs Sea Eagles||Industree Group Stadium, Gosford|
|11th Feb||6pm||Panthers vs Eels||BlueBet Stadium, Penrith|
|11th Feb||8.05pm||Dragons vs St Helens||WIN Stadium, Wollongong|
|12th Feb||1.50pm||Storm vs Roosters||GMHBA Stadium, Geelong|
|12th Feb||3.55pm||Raiders vs Buldogs||Ack Weyman Oval, Moruya|
|12th Feb||6pm||Cowboys vs Dolphins||Barlow Park, Cairns|
|12th Feb||8.05pm||Broncos vs Titans||Sunshine Coast Stadium|
|17th Feb||5.55pm||Knights vs Eels||Industree Group Stadium, Gosford|
|17th Feb||8pm||Roosters vs Sea Eagles||Industree Group Stadium, Gosford|
|18th Feb||3.30pm||Dragons vs Rabbitohs||Glen Willow Oval, Mudgee|
|18th Feb||6pm||Panthers vs St Helens||BlueBet Stadium, Penrith|
|18th Feb||8.10pm||Broncos vs Cowboys||Sunshine Coast Stadium|
|19th Feb||12.50pm||Warriors vs Storm||Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch|
|19th Feb||2.55pm||Tigers vs Raiders||Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney|
|19th Feb||5pm||Bulldogs vs Sharks||Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney|
|19th Feb||7.05pm||Dolphins vs Titans||Kayo Stadium, Redcliffe|