Pre-season Challenge

NRL reveal 2023 Pre-Season Challenge

18 clubs will compete for a $100,000 payday, with a new points system and unlimited interchanges confirmed.

From Zerotackle 

The Pre-Season Challenge will commence on Thursday, February 9 at Mt Smart Stadium with the Warriors hosting the Wests Tigers in Auckland, with all fixtures to come under a new points system.

Teams will receive 12 points for a win, six points for a draw and no points for a loss, however clubs can win bonus points by scoring five or more tries, making five or more line breaks and ten or more offloads in a match.

The team with the most points across the two rounds will be crowned champions, earning a $100,000 payday.

The Pre-Season Challenge will take place over two weeks, with squads limited to 28 players for the opening round of fixtures before being reduced to 26 players for the second week.

Teams will have unlimited interchanges at their disposal across both weeks.

St Helens will clash with St George Illawarra and Penrith across their trip down under.

“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 Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said in a league statement.

“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.

"Over 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.”

2023 Pre-Season Challenge Fixture

Round 1

Thursday, February 9

Warriors vs Tigers - 6:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium

Friday, February 10

Knights vs Sharks - 5:55pm, Industree Froup Stadium
Rabbitohs vs Sea Eagles - 8:00pm, Industree Group Stadium

Saturday, February 11

Panthers vs Eels - 6:00pm, BlueBet Stadium
Dragons vs Saints - 8:05pm, WIN Stadium

Sunday, February 12

Storm vs Roosters - 1:50pm, GMHBA Stadium
Raiders vs Bulldogs - 3:55pm, Ack Weyman Oval
Cowboys vs Dolphins - 6:00pm, Barlow Park
Broncos vs Titans - 8:05pm, Sunshine Coast Stadium

Round 2

Friday, February 17

Knights vs Eels - 5:55pm, Industree Froup Stadium
Roosters vs Sea Eagles - 8:00pm, Industree Froup Stadium

Saturday, February 18

Dragons vs Rabbitohs - 3:30pm, Glen Willow Oval
Panthers vs Saints - 6:00pm, BlueBet Stadium
Broncos vs Cowboys - 8:10pm, Sunshine Coast Stadium

Sunday, February 19

Warriors vs Storm - 12:50pm, Orangetheory Stadium
Tigers vs Raiders - 2:55pm, Belmore Sports Ground
Bulldogs vs Sharks - 5:00pm, Belmore Sports Ground
Dolphins vs Titans - 7:05pm, Kay Stadium

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        • I 100% agree Brett. This PNG talk, with all due respect, is complete nonsense. Who would want to play for them? Imagine trying to get Australian and NZ players to live there? Plus they will not have money either. I am not against using them for resources of developing talent, having a team in Qcup still and teams can then pick players up there at will.

          But to have a full time team is asinine. Same with pacific Islands team with Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Matty Johns is beating that drum but the issue is where will the stadium be? Where will the team be based? Three countries fighting over it all the time. Each country do not have a lot of money, no real bases of NRL development, Fiji a tiny bit but not really. 

          Southern Orcas was a bid based out of Wellington as a base to reach out to Fiji, Samoa and Tonga as their team. Now that would work as you will some Australian and NZ players happy to live in Wellington, plus those Island players not too far from home, have a team to relate to and also taps into areas of NZ that we should be tapping into. Not everyone in NZ can play Rugby at a high level, not everyone in NZ can play for the All Blacks.

          • Yep LB spot on. The Q Cup is perfect for PNG, the NSW Cup will be perfect for Fiji and when they get it going again, the NZ development league will be perfect for Samoa & Tonga, but the NRL is not for national development, it's for fully professional clubs. 

          • The big thing here was the super franchise the Crusaders were looking at adding a league team under there umbrella I think if they went all in they'd be the ones to run a successful franchise along side there rugby team.

            The reason why you get an island nrl team going is you'd be able to tap into that market as Rugby have already made that inroad into that.

            Rugbys always been the first option up in the islands the nrl should look at it seriously if they want to spread there influence.At the moment the games to insular in this part of the world.

            • The advantages are many doing it this way already a ready made playing and training facility and all the architecture for success is already there.Potentially a transferable passionate fanbase who back there team more so than any other super franchise in NZ.

              The big thing here is the FO don't tolerate failure they just don't they are the length of the street better than any other franchise here in NZ and have spread there tentacles to Tasman which have also won the ITM/npc rugby championship here.

              They would be the ones to get a successful nrl expansion franchise up n running if they were that way inclined.

            • Yes, but not in the NRL. At a 2nd tier level sure, but not the NRL

              • Island team probably as they don't have the money or infrastructure.Crusaders that would be something I think they could do both Union/League under there umbrella I reckon they'd sink the Warriors.

                • I think that would be awesome. In fact I'd extend that eventually to the Blues, Chiefs & Hurricanes. Not the Highlanders though, I don't think Dunedin could support an NRL team

                  • I'd only approach the Crusaders I don't think the rest of them would have a clue next to the first mentioned.

          • Many of the best players in the comp come from the islands Imagine what the NRL sides would look like if they decided to play with their homeland and what it would do to the fan base in their countries.

            As I said it serves our National security in a big way to have the Pacific Islands identify with Australia as a natural neighbour. The investment in support by Australia is important considering the scale of investment China are offering to capture the islanders heart and soul 

        • That maybe your opinion Brett but it is a serious proposal discussed at the highest levels

          Australian leader wants PNG team in NRL
          The Australian prime minister has given his full backing to a rugby league team from Papua New Guinea playing in the NRL in Australia.
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