Teams announced: NRL Touch Premiership
The Broncos, Cowboys and Titans will compete in the inaugural NRL Touch Premiership, which begins next month.
Touch Football Australia and the NRL last week announced the landmark tournament, in which six teams aligned with NRL clubs will compete in a seven-week tournament played as curtain-raisers to NRL games.
Three NRL clubs from Queensland and three from New South Wales, will field both a men’s and women’s team: Parramatta Eels, Wests Tigers, Newcastle Knights, Gold Coast Titans, Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys.
Two 30-minute games (men and women) will be played prior to the main rugby league event, tapping off from the NRL’s Round 11 on Friday 18 May.
Branding, including uniforms, will align with the branding of each namesake NRL club.
The tournament will consist of six games plus a final, with Queensland teams and NSW teams competing against each other in separate pools, and the winners from each pool progressing to the Premiership Final.
TFA CEO Steve Mitchell is thrilled to be working with the six NRL clubs to deliver such an historic event in touch football’s 50th year.
“We’re grateful for the support these clubs are giving the teams and the Premiership, and we believe it will be exciting for young touch players in these clubs’ regions to see the sports come together, and to realise that they can aspire to play either elite rugby league or elite touch football,” he said.
The games will be broadcast nationally, as a mix of live and delayed broadcasts.
Players will be selected from the current pool of elite NRL Touch Football players, who compete in the annual Elite 8 domestic tournament, as well as in international tournaments including the World Cup and the Trans-Tasman.
Mitchell said he was excited about the opportunity to showcase the talent of these players to a broader audience.
“These players, both male and female, have been playing touch football non-stop since they were five or so, and the speed, the agility and the skill level is just phenomenal,” he said.
“Touch football is Australia’s largest social sport, and everyone who gets the chance to witness the elite level of the game is in awe of how entertaining it is to watch.”
“We’ve seen so many touch football players – from Benji Marshall to Kalyn Ponga, Bevan French, Matt Dufty and Maddie Studdon, for instance – move from touch football into the NRL, 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.”