NRL on Nine

Nine’s NRL sponsors for 2017

NEW
McDonalds
Steel Blue Boots
Youi Insurance
Village Roadshow Films

RENEWED
Sportsbet
Holden
Telstra
Harvey Norman
Bunnings
Isuzu Utes
Bundy Rum
Ashley & Martin
Jim Beam
CBUS

It’s taken a humble mud crab to do something no mere mortal could ever do on the field – get the better of Darren Lockyer.

The Channel Nine commentator will be on the sideline for the NRL season opener between the Cronulla Sharks and Brisbane Broncos at Southern Cross Group Stadium but it’s a number of nasty-looking gashes on his head that could prove the biggest talking point.

“It’s just a bit of a graze but sometimes they take their time disappearing,’’ Lockyer said.

“I was at the mud crab races up at Gambaro (restaurant) which is always a bit of a big day.

“I was walking back up the stairs and got to the top and slipped and fell over like a speaker, and then went head first into a little garden bed.

“It could have been worse. I could have split my head open and got stitches.”

Nine will significantly overhaul its graphics and statistics offering for the broadcast of the 2017 NRL season.

Speaking at last week’s Nine NRL launch, Tom Malone, Director of Sport, said league fans would notice the major overhaul when it comes to statistics on-screen and the overall quality of the graphics package.

“One of the big innovations for us this year is behind the scenes where we have implemented a package from a whole new graphics and statistical supplier,” Malone said.

“You will see that manifest itself on television with a whole new look and feel to the graphics package. It will change the amount of statistics we are able to bring up at a moment’s notice.

“It will be really exciting for the viewers as they are chasing stats on the leading players on metres gained or tackles made. All of that stuff will be available at the touch of a button.”

Malone said he expected 2017 to be another big year for rugby league, coming on the back of record viewership for the NRL Grand Final and State of Origin matches.

“2016 was a huge year for Channel Nine,” he said. “The State of Origin reached record numbers and it was another record Grand Final as well.

“I think what we are seeing year-on-year with rugby league, especially with the premium events like State of Origin and the Grand Final, is that they are growing because the broader fan base is also growing.”

He cited the intense viewer and commercial interest in events such as State of Origin as an example of how the game was expanding.

“We have had this incredible run with the Queensland/New South Wales rivalry which has manifested in these incredible viewership numbers of four million-plus across Australia,” Malone said.

“If you look at the progression of rugby league, the progression of audiences, we are set for another huge year. As interest and viewership grows, so too does the fan base.”

Glenn Pallister, Executive Producer of The Footy Show, said he was excited about the return of the NRL’s favourite commentary show, noting how the program has been building social buzz around its 2017 return with a new promo parodying Nine’s hit program, Married at First Sight.

“I think it’s clever and subtle, without being sledgehammer, but it’s also very ‘us’ to go there,” Pallister joked, while explaining that The Footy Show regularly uses social media to build its TV audiences.

“Social media is very important to The Footy Show and we try to maintain talkability and relativity on that platform. We are very lucky that two of our hosts – Erin Molan and Beau Ryan – are very social media savvy. They have huge numbers of online followers, they interact well, and are generous in what they give the audience.”

Pallister also commented on how 2017 would be The Footy Show’s 24th year on-air.

“In Fatty Vautin’s words, ‘Who would have thought it?’,” he said. “In 1994 the show launched, and as Fatty and Peter Sterling, ‘Sterlo,’ have both said, there’s no way in the world they thought the show would come back – let alone last 24 seasons.”

Pallister said there would be new Footy Show segments in 2017.

“What can we expect for this year? The show always evolves, and it has to. Twenty-four years is a long time, and if we did the same thing every year we wouldn’t be on,” he said.

“This year you’ll still see all your favourite segments but with little twists and nuances to make them different. We’ll also introduce some new segments that you’ll see when we progress into the season.”

Malone predicted that with the breadth of the Nine NRL audience, 2017 would be another strong year, helped by the fact that come finals season, Nine will be broadcasting games on Thursday through to Sunday.

“The audience for NRL is quite a huge and diverse profile,” he said. “Being a broadcaster by definition, we want to reach as many homes and demographics as possible.

“One of the big things for us this year is that, as your team is making its run toward the finals, we will have football on Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday afternoon – it will be a huge season for us.”

NRL ROUND TWO ON NINE

The biggest and best NRL games are on Nine and this week it doesn’t get much better than the always epic Broncos vs Cowboys encounter headlining three massive match-ups in round two on Nine’s Wide World of Sports.

Friday Night Football promises to be action-packed as another dramatic chapter in the Broncos and Cowboys rivalry is set to be written. Revenge is on the minds of the Broncos after a magical Johnathan Thurston flick pass for a Michael Morgan try in extra time ended their 2016 season.

Nine’s rugby league expert, Darren Lockyer, says: “This match has a huge build-up with an Origin-type feel in Queensland and a packed-out Suncorp Stadium expected.

“High temperatures are also expected and this game will be played at a frantic pace, so Broncos bench forwards Tevita Pangai Junior and Herman Ese’ese can really make an impact when they come on.”

Lockyer’s player to watch is Jason Taumalolo: “Everyone talks about Thurston but trying to stop Taumalolo is the key. The Broncos will need to minimise his impact if they’re any chance of winning.”

But first, league fans will whet their appetite with Thursday Night Football when the colossal forward packs of the Roosters and Bulldogs collide at Allianz Stadium.

The Roosters started the 2017 season with an impressive round one display against the Titans that has many experts tipping them to be right in contention come finals time. The Bulldogs, with a very aggressive forward pack, will be hungry for their first win of the season against their more favoured rivals after losing to the Storm last week.

On Sunday Afternoon Football the claws will be out when the Tigers host the Panthers at Campbelltown Stadium where some of the most entertaining players in rugby league go on display.

With the star Tigers trio of James Tedesco, Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses going up against exciting Panthers Matt Moylan, Te Maire Martin and Waqa Blake, viewers are in for a treat of scintillating attacking play.

Broadcast Times

Thursday 9 March - Roosters vs Bulldogs

Sydney 7.30pm LIVE on Nine
Brisbane 6.30pm LIVE on 9GEM; from 7.00pm LIVE on Nine
Melbourne 7.30pm LIVE on 9GEM
Adelaide 7.00pm LIVE on 9GEM
Perth 4.30pm LIVE on 9GEM

Friday 10 March - Broncos vs Cowboys

Sydney 7.30pm LIVE on Nine
Brisbane 6.30pm LIVE on 9GEM; from 7.00pm LIVE on Nine
Melbourne 7.30pm LIVE on 9GEM
Adelaide 7.00pm LIVE on 9GEM
Perth 4.30pm LIVE on 9GEM

Sunday 12 March - Tigers vs Panthers

Sydney 3.30pm LIVE on Nine
Brisbane 2.30pm LIVE on Nine
Melbourne 3.30pm LIVE on 9GEM
Adelaide 3.00pm LIVE on 9GEM
Perth 12.30pm LIVE on 9GEM

RUGBY LEAGUE ACTION THIS WEEK ON NINE

• SIX TACKLES WITH GUS – Nine’s James Bracey talks the biggest rugby league issues of the week with NRL legend and expert commentator Phil Gould on Six Tackles with Gus.
This week: Golden Point, penalties, and will Bryce Cartwright play this weekend?
Podcast available for download here: http://wwos.nine.com.au/podcasts

• THE NRL FOOTY SHOW – Fatty, Erin, Beau and Darryl are back this week with the footy on Thursday night. Two-time premiership winners James Maloney and Chris Heighington join the panel live. Now available LIVE in every city across the country on 9NOW.

• SPORTS SUNDAY – Sunday, March 12, at 10.30am AEDT, LIVE on Nine. Frank and open debate about all the issues in the week of sport. This week Peter FitzSimons, Scott Sattler, Candice Falzon and Neil Breen join Emma Freedman.

**Check local guides for details. Times will differ.

Although Channel Nine’s NRL coverage has much to be desired, it’s pleasing to still hear Ray Warren commentate on the matches. Even though, I thought he was planning on retiring from commentating at the end of last season? I seem to recall reading one or two articles last year about Ray Warren planning on retiring at the end of the 2016 NRL season, but he must of only considered it.

he always said he’d see how he felt before committing. Overzealous media took that to mean he was retiring.

ROUND 5

Battling Bulldogs up against Bennett’s Broncos, Cowboys riding through the destruction of Debbie with the return of Taumalolo and the Dragons in fire-breathing form: it shapes as another huge week of rugby league on Nine.

It starts with the Bulldogs versus Broncos on Thursday Night Football. Nine’s Wide World of Sports will deliver its live and free coverage from ANZ Stadium in a game where tempers are tipped to boil over.

The Bulldogs failed to score a point last week against the Sea Eagles and coach Des Hasler will need to draw on all of his experience and tactical nous to put the bite back into the “Dogs of War”.

Broncos mastermind Wayne Bennett will make sure his squad is ready for an ambush from a Bulldogs side boasting one of the biggest forward packs in the competition.

Nine’s rugby league expert, Darren Lockyer, says: “All the criticism of the Bulldogs this week will only make the assignment harder for the Broncos. The Bulldogs need to start well to boost their confidence, and they can do this via their big forward pack. So expect the early exchanges to be fiery.

“The key for the Broncos is to put pressure on them with the scoreboard. Wayne would be reminding his players about how much flak the Bulldogs have copped this week.”

Lockyer’s player to watch is David Klemmer: “He’ll be the one to spark the aggression the Bulldogs need to get away to a good start – I imagine there’ll be a few melees early and he’ll be front and centre.”

Friday Night Football takes us to Townsville where the Cowboys will be out to lift the spirits of the locals after Cyclone Debbie ravaged much of Far North Queensland.

The Rabbitohs are flying into the eye of their own storm. Can they weather a Cowboys attack with Johnathan Thurston, Jason Taumalolo, Michael Morgan, Coen Hess and exciting speedster Gideon Gela-Mosby plotting their very own path of destruction?

On Sunday Afternoon Football, the Tigers will look to rediscover their roar against a Dragons outfit that has gone marching into the top four after a strong and unexpected start to the season.

A win at ANZ Stadium would ease the pressure on the Tigers who have failed to deliver on the potential of their young stars, while the Dragons have built success through their forwards Paul Vaughan, Jack de Belin and Tyson Frizell, combined with backline dangermen Josh Dugan and Gareth Widdop.

Broadcast Times

Thursday 30 March
Bulldogs vs Broncos

Sydney 7.30pm LIVE on Nine
Brisbane 6.30pm LIVE on 9GEM; from 7.00pm LIVE on Nine
Melbourne 7.30pm LIVE on 9GEM
Adelaide 7.00pm LIVE on 9GEM
Perth 4.30pm LIVE on 9GEM

Friday 31 March
Cowboys vs Rabbitohs

Sydney 7.30pm LIVE on Nine
Brisbane 6.30pm LIVE on 9GEM; from 7.00pm LIVE on Nine
Melbourne 7.30pm LIVE on 9GEM
Adelaide 7.00pm LIVE on 9GEM
Perth 4.30pm LIVE on 9GEM

Sunday, 2 April
Tigers vs Dragons

Sydney 3.30pm LIVE on Nine
Brisbane 3.30pm LIVE on Nine
Melbourne 3.30pm LIVE on 9GEM
Adelaide 3.00pm LIVE on 9GEM
Perth 1.30pm LIVE on 9GEM

RUGBY LEAGUE ACTION THIS WEEK ON NINE

SIX TACKLES WITH GUS – Today. Nine’s James Bracey talks the biggest rugby league issues of the week with NRL legend and expert commentator Phil Gould on Six Tackles with Gus.

This week: Unfair criticism of Des Hasler, the latest at the Tigers, and Keiran Foran

THE NRL FOOTY SHOW – Thursday, March 30. Fatty, Erin, Beau and Darryl are back with the footy on Thursday night. George Burgess and Scott Sattler join the panel LIVE. Beau knows Korea, Erin is there when Rugby League Week closes forever, and we launch the new segment Between the Sticks. Available LIVE in every city across the country on 9NOW

SPORTS SUNDAY – Sunday, April 2, at 10.30am AEDT, LIVE on Nine. Frank and open debate on all the issues in the week of sport. This week GWS Giants star Steve Johnson, Peter FitzSimons, Richard Freedman and Liz Ellis join Emma Freedman.

THE SUNDAY FOOTY SHOW – Sunday, April 2, at 11.30am AEDT, LIVE on Nine. Our experts dissect all the action so far in round four with host James Bracey and panellists Andrew Johns, Brad Fittler and Paul Gallen.

ROUND 6

NRL action on Nine goes up another gear this week with two NRL powerhouses colliding at Suncorp Stadium, the Panthers hunting the Rabbitohs, and the 2016 Grand Final rematch to top it off.

It starts with the Broncos versus Roosters on Thursday Night Football. Nine’s Wide World of Sports will deliver its live and free coverage with exclusive access inside Suncorp Stadium when two of the toughest defensive teams shape up for a bruising display.

The Broncos are battle-hardened after playing all of last season’s top four teams already in 2017, but they need a quality attack from Ben Hunt, Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd to beat the Roosters, who are one of the competition favourites with gun players like Mitchell Pearce and Boyd Cordner in top form.

Nine’s rugby league expert, Wally Lewis, says: “Two very talented rosters are on display so I expect this one to be a tight game with the home-ground advantage spurring the Broncos home.

“It seems strange that the Broncos let the win against the Bulldogs slip last weekend after being in control for most of the game. This week they’ll need their playmakers to step up if they’re going to beat the Roosters.”

Lewis’s player to watch is Anthony Milford: “Over the last couple of weeks his defence has been questioned and the Roosters will exploit that. His attack is yet to reach its potential this season too, but don’t be surprised if he does produce his best tomorrow night. Never underestimate a great player.”

Friday Night Football pits the Panthers against the Rabbitohs at Pepper Stadium where the visitors must disarm Panthers’ attack weapons Nathan Cleary, Te Maire Martin and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

The Panthers have proven their attacking capability with some big wins already in 2017 but are coming off a loss and will be without their captain, Matt Moylan. The up-and-down Rabbitohs remain competitive and will be confident of scoring an away win in what shapes as an intriguing contest.

On Sunday Afternoon Football, all current form will be thrown out the window when the Sharks travel to AAMI Park in Melbourne to take on the unbeaten Storm in the 2016 Grand Final rematch.

The Storm have been unstoppable this season, and even more lethal with the return of Billy Slater and the addition of speedster Josh Addo-Carr. The Sharks will bring their uncompromising style of play to AAMI Park and the same winning ingredients that broke their premiership drought last season.

The announcement of Cooper Cronk’s departure from the Storm at season’s end will only add to the drama, so be ready for an enthralling match-up on Sunday Afternoon Football – LIVE and FREE on Nine.

Broadcast Times

Thursday 6 April
Broncos vs Roosters

Sydney 7.30pm LIVE on Nine
Brisbane 7.30pm LIVE on Nine
Melbourne 7.30pm LIVE on 9GEM
Adelaide 7.00pm LIVE on 9GEM
Perth 5.30pm LIVE on 9GEM

Friday 7 April
Panthers vs Rabbitohs

Sydney 7.30pm LIVE on Nine
Brisbane 7.30pm LIVE on Nine
Melbourne 7.30pm LIVE on 9GEM
Adelaide 7.00pm LIVE on 9GEM
Perth 5.30pm LIVE on 9GEM

Sunday 9 April
Storm vs Sharks

Sydney 3.30pm LIVE on Nine
Brisbane 3.30pm LIVE on Nine
Melbourne 3.30pm LIVE on 9GEM
Adelaide 3.00pm LIVE on 9GEM
Perth 1.30pm LIVE on 9GEM

RUGBY LEAGUE ACTION THIS WEEK ON NINE

SIX TACKLES WITH GUS – Today. Nine’s James Bracey talks the biggest rugby league issues of the week with NRL legend and expert commentator Phil Gould on Six Tackles with Gus. This week: Cooper Cronk, New contracts for coaches, and What does Ivan Cleary do with the Tigers?

THE NRL FOOTY SHOW – Thursday, April 6. Fatty Vautin, Erin Molan, Beau Ryan and Darryl Brohman are back with the footy on Thursday night. Paul Gallen and Tommy Raudonikis join the panel LIVE. James Bracey has a special story from the launch of the Stuart Kelly remembrance game, plus last week’s wrap-up from rugby league locally and abroad in Between the Sticks. Available LIVE in every city across the country on 9NOW

SPORTS SUNDAY – Sunday, April 9, at 10.30am AEDT, LIVE on Nine. Frank and open debate on all the big issues in the week of sport. This week Collingwood netball’s Sharni Layton and Candice Warner join the show alongside Peter FitzSimons, Neil Breen and Emma Freedman.

THE SUNDAY FOOTY SHOW – Sunday, April 9, at 11.30am AEDT, LIVE on Nine. Our experts dissect all the action so far in round six, with Brad Fittler, Wally Lewis and Glenn Lazarus joining Peter Sterling.

**Check local guides for details. Times will differ.

RAY WARREN AGREES TO NEW FIVE-YEAR DEAL WITH NINE

Wide World of Sports today announced a new five-year agreement with the voice of rugby league, Ray “Rabs” Warren. This will see Warren staying with the Nine Network until the end of the current rugby league rights deal in 2022.

Announcing the agreement, Nine’s Director of Sport, Tom Malone, said:

“Ray Warren is an icon of sports broadcasting. He has brought us some of the greatest moments in sport for more than 50 years, and his contribution to the profile of rugby league and swimming in Australia cannot be overstated.”

Ray will provide his inimitable voice for promos and production, and contribute content across WWOS mobile platforms including columns and podcasts.

“While Rabs is yet to decide for how long he will continue to commentate, this new deal is recognition of his special place at Channel Nine and Wide World of Sports,” Malone said. “At a network that invented the star system Rabs is one of our greatest, and sits alongside people like Ken Sutcliffe and Richie Benaud as someone who is synonymous with WWOS and Nine.”

Warren said:

“This is a wonderful opportunity for me remain a part of Nine even though I am undecided about the calling aspect. It was always my dream to work for Nine. I called greyhounds for them back in the 70s and then came the swimming for a decade or more, but it was rugby league where they gave me a second chance to cover the sport I love so much.

“I have been part of that coverage since 1989 and they have been good to me. For them to want me to remain a part of WWOS for another five years is very humbling.”

In typical understated Rabs style the new contract was sealed over a sausage sanga this week.

Nine To Debut GPS Tracking In State Of Origin 2017

Nine’s Wide World of Sports, in conjunction with the NRL, today announced the exciting addition of a state-of the-art GPS player tracking system, the Telstra Tracker, to deliver in-match technology to viewers in State of Origin I on Wednesday, May 31 - Exclusively LIVE and FREE on Nine.

Live information including speed, distance covered, heat maps of where players have been on the field will all be incorporated into this Australian-first technology – and a first for rugby league broadcasting.

The Telstra Tracker is made possible through a collaboration between Nine, the NRL, NSWRL, the QRL along with a global leader in GPS player tracking, Catapult. Together they will unveil a system that NRL clubs and coaches have been using to measure players’ key performance indicators.

Executive Producer of Nine NRL Ben Clark says: “We’re really excited to add the Telstra Tracker to our State of Origin broadcast. It has been a massive effort by all parties to make this happen, with viewers the big winners.
“The data we’ll display will take the audience deeper into the inner sanctum of what’s available to players and coaches during a match and give everyone watching a greater understanding of what it takes to play rugby league at the ultimate level.”

Telstra Tracker is the biggest innovation in a rugby league broadcasts since Spidercam was introduced over a decade ago.

Nine Wide World of Sports Head of Creative Alex Rolls, says: “There are reasons all 16 clubs have been using this information to analyse players’ performances game in, game out. We are excited that the Wide World of Sports NRL is partnering with the NRL to bring viewers closer to the action.”

“We’re going to compare hookers, who’s doing the work, who’s covering the most metres, who’s the fastest winger, and heat maps showing comparing the all the big Origin player match-ups.”

The technology, known as LPS or Local Positioning System, is even more accurate than GPS as it relies on 20 beacons placed around Suncorp Stadium. The data is accurate to within 15 centimetres.

NRL Head of Strategy David Silverton says: “This is a very exciting initiative for the game which will have significant benefits not only for our fans but for players as well.”

“With this advanced technology, viewers will be able to access new insights into how the game is played and it will no doubt further highlight the unbelievable athletic qualities of the best of the best in rugby league. We have been working on this for some time and also thank the NSWRL, QRL and the players for supporting this initiative.”

2017 HOLDEN STATE OF ORIGIN GAMES:

**SOO Game 1 – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Wednesday, May 31, at 7.30pm **
**SOO Game 2 – ANZ Stadium, Sydney Wednesday, June 21, at 7.30pm **
SOO Game 3 – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Wednesday, July 12, at 7.30pm

**** Check local guides for details.**

I’m genuinely surprised by the length of the new deal. Rabs isn’t getting any younger. I was honestly expecting him to retire from the television industry in the next year or two.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/channel-nine-nrl-commentator-mathew-thompson-under-investigation-over-car-crash-20170610-gwoopz.html

STATE OF ORIGIN II

Wednesday 21 June at 7.30pm AEST

Two of the biggest names in the game are back, but it will it be enough to stop the NSW Blues attack when Queensland heroes Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston return in State of Origin Game II – exclusively LIVE and FREE on Nine next Wednesday, June 21, at 7.30pm.

The voice of rugby league, Ray “Rabs” Warren, will call the action from from ANZ Stadium in Sydney alongside Peter Sterling, Phil Gould and Paul Vautin.

James Bracey will host Nine’s exclusive LIVE and FREE State of Origin II coverage, flanked by rugby league Immortals Andrew “Joey” Johns and Wally “The King” Lewis, along with Origin legends Darren Lockyer and Brad Fittler.

Lockyer, a former Queensland captain, explained what the Maroons must do to stop a NSW series win and force a Game III decider on their home turf at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

“The first mission for the Maroons will be shutting down Andrew Fifita, but mentally as a unit they need to hang in the fight much longer than they did in the opening match. Thurston and Slater will bring an attacking mentality to the fore as well as a sense of calm by knowing what is required to win.

“The Queensland forward pack is mostly new to the arena but their great energy will account for what they lack in experience. Over the years Queensland have proven that they can perform when their backs are against the wall and this is the case now. Expect a much closer outcome this time around.”

Viewers can get up-to-date scores, tackles and live commentary with Wide World of Sports on social media: LIKE the big moments on Facebook and Instagram. Join the chat on Twitter using #Origin.

STATE OF ORIGIN II COUNTDOWN ON NINE:

SIX TACKLES WITH GUS – Nine’s James Bracey talks the biggest rugby league issues of the week with NRL legend and expert commentator Phil Gould on Six Tackles with Gus.
This week: Will Queensland’s team changes be enough to win Origin II? Queensland’s lack of up-and-coming talent; and Gus reminisces about his time coaching the NSW Origin side.

SPORTS SUNDAY – Sunday, June 18, at 10.00am. Frank and open debate on all the big issues in the week of sport. Wally Lewis and Sharni Layton join Peter FitzSimons, Neil Breen and Emma Freedman.

SUNDAY NRL FOOTY SHOW – SOO Preview, Sunday, June 18, at 11.00am. Host James Bracey is joined by Origin legends Andrew Johns, Darren Lockyer and Brad Fittler as well as Jillaroos star Allana Ferguson.

WWOS.NINE.COM.AU – Wide World of Sports will have expert analysis before and after Origin II and Origin III, with Gus Gould to pen an exclusive column on Wednesday and Thursday on top of his Six Tackles with Gus podcast. David Middleton will run his rule over the key statistics that will determine the Maroons’ and Blues’ fate, while the WWOS team will have the latest news about each side in the lead-up to the match.

NINE NEWS, week nights from 6.00pm – Your favourite nightly news service will deliver the most up-to-date news leading into Origin II. Led by Cameron Williams and Wally Lewis, Nine’s expert rugby league reporters Danny Weidler, Neil Breen, Julie Snook and Danika Mason will have all the biggest stories from either side of the border.

NRL FOOTY SHOW – SOO Special, Thursday, June 22, at 8.30pm - The 11-time Logie Award-winning NRL Footy Show State of Origin Special will have all angles covered following Origin II with the raw emotion captured through exclusive post-match interviews - giving viewers unrivalled access to the best players in the game from the sheds at ANZ Stadium.

Broadcast Times

_Sydney 7.30pm LIVE on Nine _
_Brisbane 7.30pm LIVE on Nine _
Melbourne 7.30pm LIVE on Nine
Adelaide 7.30pm LIVE on Nine
Perth 5.30pm LIVE on Nine

PETER STERLING SIGNS EXCLUSIVE CONTRACT WITH NINE

Nine

Nine Network NRL analyst and rugby league legend Peter Sterling has been signed to a new and exclusive deal with Wide World of Sports.

Sterling has been with the Nine rugby league commentary team for 25 years since retiring from his playing career in 1992.

From 2018, Sterling will be exclusively seen on Nine’s broadcast and digital platforms, offering first class analysis on live play and expert insight across programs.

‘Sterlo’ first started with Nine in 1992 and says confirmation of the new deal feels like a homecoming.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Fox Sports over the past few years, but it’s great to be back at Nine 100 percent," Sterling said.

"I’m really excited about Nine’s plans for rugby league in 2018 and beyond as we enter a new broadcast era, and I’m thrilled that I get to be part it on a full time basis.”

“From next year, Nine’s NRL rights expand to include full live streaming and catch up on Nine’s matches and digital rights across all NRL matches. Peter is a key part of our strategy going forward to create the best rugby league content, distribute it widely across all platforms, for audiences to consume anywhere and anytime," Nine’s Director of Sport Tom Malone said.

Sterling will join up with his old sparring partner Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin in the commentary box this Friday night, when the Melbourne Storm take on the Brisbane Broncos live from 7:30pm (AEST) on Nine.

Brad Fittler Signs On To A New Deal With Nine

Nine

Brad Fittler, the most capped player in NSW history and one of the most dynamic rugby league commentators has signed a new and exclusive deal with Wide World of Sports.

Freddy’s interviews with the coaches, sideline comments and pre-match, post-match and half time analysis have been a stand out of Nine’s rugby league coverage in 2017.

Nine’s Director of Sport Tom Malone said “Freddy is unique. He is “lean forward” television talent, who brings so much entertainment to rugby league. Moreover, he’s a terrific bloke with a big heart who does so much for other people. We are very proud to extend our association with him.

“From next year Nine’s rugby league rights expand to include livestream, catch up and full clips and highlights, across broadcast and digital, so there’ll be more rugby league than ever before on Nine. Freddy is a crucial part of our strategy to make the best content and distribute it everywhere.”

Brad Fittler said “There’s no better place to work than with the legends of the game on Nine. I’ve never loved working so much. I don’t know if you can call it work. I’ve got the best seat in the house – every week!”

Nine’s new contract with Freddy will enable him to take up the NSWRL Head Coach position, should that eventuate.

Freddy will be on the sideline this Sunday when the Storm take on the Cowboys in the 2017 NRL Grand Final, live and exclusive on Nine from 6:30pm.*

The Home Of Rugby League

WWOS

Nine’s Wide World of Sports pushes the “Home of Rugby League” to a new level in season 2018 when footy fans get LIVE and FREE rugby league access like they’ve never seen before on Nine and 9Now – including exclusive coverage of State of Origin and the Telstra Premiership Grand Final.

Key features of the 2018 Premiership include 23 Thursday Nights of NRL, two blockbuster rounds of football over the Easter and Anzac weekends with four matches each on Nine, and the last five Saturdays LIVE and FREE on Nine. Every match will be streamed on 9Now.

Nine’s Director of Sport, Tom Malone, said: “There is more footy than ever before on Nine and Nine’s digital platforms. Fans won’t need to go anywhere else to get more of the best games, presented by the biggest names – all live and free and in HD.”

There’s a blockbuster lineup of rugby league programming too – a new-look NRL Footy Show, a new-look Sports Sunday and a new-look Sunday Footy Show will be joined by the brand new 100% Footy program, the Intrust Super Premiership in NSW, and the Intrust Super Cup in Queensland.

In addition to 9Now providing access to LIVE streamed rugby league matches and programs, the Wide World of Sports digital offering on wwos.com.au will keep rugby league fans up to speed online with enhanced clips and highlights of all matches, live scores and statistics, round-the-clock news and expert analysis.

Nine will be there from the opening whistle of the NRL season on Thursday, March 8 when the Dragons host the Broncos, with star Dragons recruit Ben Hunt making his debut against his former team. The following night on Friday Night Football, Johnathan Thurston and the Cowboys will take aim at Paul Gallen and the Sharks. Then on Sunday, Nine showcases the battle of Sydney’s west between the Panthers and the Eels, when Jarryd Hayne makes his NRL return to the blue and gold of Parramatta.

Nine’s Head of Rugby League, Simon Fordham, said: “This year we are all about creating the best seat in the house at the biggest games LIVE and FREE for footy fans. Nine has been the ‘Home of Rugby League’ for four decades, but this year’s offering across Nine, 9NOW and wwos.com.au is unprecedented. Our rugby league content is delivered by the biggest names in the game and that’s what sets us apart as a destination for all footy fans.”

The Wide World of Sports commentary team is again led by Ray “Rabs” Warren, the only voice rugby league fans have known and loved for over 40 years. James Bracey will host Thursday Night Football, Friday Night Football, Saturday Night Football and Sunday Afternoon Football, and he will be joined by rugby league Immortals Andrew Johns and Wally Lewis, along with Phil Gould, Peter Sterling, Paul Vautin, Darren Lockyer, Brad Fittler, Ray Hadley and Mat Thompson.

The growth of women’s rugby league is a huge focus in 2018. Nine and 9Now will broadcast up to eight women’s matches LIVE and FREE in HD across the season, including a stand-alone women’s State of Origin game on Friday, June 22 from North Sydney Oval. Jillaroos Ruan Sims and Allana Ferguson will join the Nine team across the footy programs, as well as in commentary for the women’s games and the Intrust Super Premiership in NSW.

THE WEEK OF RUGBY LEAGUE ON NINE

THURSDAY:

• THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL – All 23 Thursday Night fixtures LIVE and FREE in HD with exclusive broadcast access to the venue.

• The NRL FOOTY SHOW – The new-look NRL Footy Show returns on Thursday, March 8. Join host Erin Molan, along with co-hosts Andrew Johns and Ryan Girdler, for the 2018 return of the program. Refreshed and rejuvenated regulars Beau Ryan and Darryl “The Big Marn” Brohman are back with punchier offerings. The new, footy-focused format sees the show integrated into Nine’s Thursday Night Football coverage, giving viewers the best seat in the house before, during and after the game.

FRIDAY:

• FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL – Every Friday Night NRL Fixture LIVE and FREE, with exclusive broadcast access to the venue and extended post-game show with access to the dressing rooms, press conferences, and news and analysis from the ground.

SATURDAY:

• INTRUST SUPER PREMIERSHIP – 1.00pm Saturdays on Nine in NSW. The famous clubs that provided the foundation of the rugby league premiership, such as the North Sydney Bears, Newtown Jets and Wests Magpies, will square off in venues that are rich in rugby league history as we showcase the next generation of NRL stars. Caller Joel Caine will be joined by premiership winners Benji Marshall, Jamie Soward and Paul Gallen, and Jillaroos star Allana Ferguson.

• INTRUST SUPER CUP – 1.00pm Saturdays on Nine in Queensland. The premier competition for the Sunshine State will start on Saturday, March 10 and provide Queensland viewers with all the entertainment from their favourite teams. Former Queensland Origin representative and NRL premiership winner Scott Sattler will be joined by Peter Psaltis and Ben Dobbin when the defending premiers, the PNG Hunters, return to defend their crown.

• SATURDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL – The last five 7.30pm Saturday matches of the regular NRL season will give fans four matches a week LIVE and FREE in HD as they cheer their team home in the run to the finals.

SUNDAY:

• SPORTS SUNDAY – Returns Sunday, March 4 at 10.00am AEDT, LIVE on Nine. In 2018, Sports Sunday returns with bold and passionate debate about the biggest issues in the world of sport. Headlined by two of Australia’s leading sports personalities and opinion-makers, Peter FitzSimons and Liz Ellis, host James Bracey will welcome regular appearances from our nation’s biggest sporting stars – past and present – including Michael Clarke, David Warner, Wally Lewis, Candice Warner and Shane Crawford.

• SUNDAY NRL FOOTY SHOW – Returns Sunday, March 11 at 11am AEDT. Host Erin Molan will be talking footy with Peter Sterling, Brad Fittler and Allana Ferguson. Every league fan’s favourite Sunday morning destination is back with a tweaked format that will feature Sterlo regularly sitting down one-on-one with the game’s current players.

• SUNDAY AFTERNOON FOOTBALL – From Sunday, March 11 LIVE and FREE in HD at 3.00pm AEDT. A one-hour, pre-game show straight from the match venue will kick-start a big afternoon of NRL action and deliver access like no other, in every regular round of the Telstra Premiership.

MONDAY:

• 100% FOOTY – ALL NEW FOR 2018, Mondays at 9.45pm AEDT on Nine. 100% Footy is the home of the strongest opinions in rugby league from the people who count. Every week Phil Gould squares off with Paul Gallen, alongside Jillaroos star Ruan Sims and journalist Neil Breen. Hosted by James Bracey, 100% Footy is a weekly dive into the hottest topics in the greatest game of all, and there’s only one place to get it – Nine: the Home of Rugby League.

2018 NRL TELSTRA PREMIERSHIP – ROUND 1

St George Illawarra Dragons vs Brisbane Broncos Thursday, March 8, at 7.30pm
North Queensland Cowboys vs Cronulla Sharks Friday, March 9, at 7.30pm
Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels Sunday, March 11, at 3.00pm

STATE OF ORIGIN 2018 – EXCLUSIVE TO NINE

ORIGIN I – MELBOURNE CRICKET GROUND Wednesday, June 6
ORIGIN II – ANZ STADIUM, SYDNEY Sunday, June 24
ORIGIN III – SUNCORP STADIUM, BRISBANE Wednesday, July 11

** Check local guides for details. Times will differ.

Live stream available on 9Now