NRL Touch Premiership
In a game-changing move for the sport, Touch Football Australia (TFA), in conjunction with their partner the National Rugby League (NRL), is introducing an NRL Touch Premiership, with games to be played as curtain-raisers to NRL matches.
Australian NRL Touch Football male and female players, who currently play in elite-level domestic and international competitions, will represent teams aligned with six NRL clubs – three each from New South Wales and Queensland.
Two 30-minute games – a Men’s game and a Women’s game – will be played ahead of the main NRL event for seven rounds in total, commencing from Round 11 on Friday 18 May 2018.
The games will be broadcast nationally through a mix of live and delayed broadcasts.
TFA CEO Steve Mitchell is thrilled about showcasing elite touch football to a broader audience in this, the 50th year of the sport, which was born out of rugby league in 1968.
“Everyone who gets the chance to witness the elite level of the game is in awe of how entertaining it is to watch."
“These players, both male and female, have been playing the sport since they were five or so, and the speed, the agility and the skill level is just phenomenal."
“We’ve seen so many touch football players move into the NRL – Benji Marshall, Kalyn Ponga, Valentine Holmes, Maddie Studdon and Ali Brigginshaw, for instance – so we’re excited about giving our touch players a tournament that allows them to showcase their skills in this sport on a national stage.”
QTF Chairman Gavin Shuker welcomed the announcement, labelling it a "massive opportunity" to showcase the sport.
"Queensland Touch Football is very proud to have been heavily involved in the establishment of the Premiership, and we are thrilled to be a partner in what is a massive opportunity for the sport moving forward," he said.
"The importance of this opportunity cannot be understated, and the benefits to the sport, now and in the future, will be substantial."
"The chance to showcase our very best players on the big stage and have the matches broadcast on television is unprecedented, and so crucial for the development and promotion of touch football."
NRL Touch Premiership Snapshot
- The Premiership will feature six teams; three from QLD and three from NSW.
- The games will be broadcast on television.
- The first round will commence in line with Round 11 of the NRL on 18 May.
- The teams will play in a conference format, with QLD and NSW teams competing against each other in separate pools with the winners from each pool progressing to the Premiership Final.
- Each squad will consist of 16 players with teams of 12 being selected for any given match.
- The National Referee Squad (NRS) will be utilised to officiate these matches.