The 2018 NRL Season is upon us. There are plenty of ways to catch all the action this year, live and free - but what is the best one? And how do you access it? If you're trying to catch all the action, don't fret. We've got you covered.
Here's all the ways you can watch the 2018 NRL season - live, online and free.
What Is NRL?
NRL stands for National Rugby League and it is Australia's professional men's rugby league competition. Across 25 rounds, 16 teams contest the Telstra Premiership, with fifteen of those teams based in the eastern states of Australia and one in New Zealand. No rugby league in the world is more watched - this is the best of the best.
The reigning premiers are the Melbourne Storm, who defeated the North Queensland Cowboys in the Grand Final last year to claim their third premiership.
When Does The 2018 NRL Season Start?
Round One kicks off on Thursday, March 8 with the matchup between the Dragons and the Broncos, which begins at 8:05pm AEDT. The round continues out through to Sunday, March 11.
The regular season will finish on Sunday, September 2 at which point, the Finals series begins.
If you're looking to follow a particular team or just want to see the schedule for each week, the NRL has a comprehensive, easy to follow draw online.
If you're just holding out for State of Origin then those three games will be broadcast on:
- Game 1: Wednesday, June 6
- Game 2: Sunday, June 24
- Game 3: Wednesday, July 11
We'll have links to State of Origin streams closer to the date, so make sure you check back in June.
How To Stream The 2018 NRL Season
As NRL isn't our national game, fans in states outside of the east coast are probably not going to be served too well by free to air television in their house. However, Channel 9 holds the rights to the NRL and will broadcast three games live and free on their streaming platform 9Now every round. The truth is there's no better way to access the season than this - if you're looking to get it completely free - but it won't give you access to every single game.
So with that said, one of the best ways to watch the NRL season is with Foxtel, which includes the most comprehensive coverage of the season, with every game streamed across their platform. That might make some people shudder, but it really is one of the best ways to catch every single game.
Of course, that comes at a price.
Foxtel Now is the way to go - and they currently offer a two-week trial period for new customers. Last year, Foxtel Now didn't provide the most crisp image for their sports channels, but I have noted a stark improvement in quality this year, at least from a buffering and high definition point of view.
However, the minimum cost will be $39 a month - but this does give you access to a wide variety of content in the sports package and bespoke NRL shows with Fox Sports. More applicable to those that want to see every single game, or at least, see every single game their particular team plays each round.
You can also access the NRL Live Pass - and Telstra customers generally have access to this as part of their plans. This will give you access to every single match besides the State of Origin series and the Grand Final, which Telstra does not have streaming rights too. Sadly, NRL Live Pass does not let you stream to a desktop and the screen is limited to 7 inches in size. Sorry giant smartphone owners.
The pass costs $4 a week and $100 a year. This is a decent option for those that don't want to invest in Foxtel, but it doesn't make sense in light of 9Now streaming - however, if you are a Telstra customer, this may be a good option for you.
Expats will be happy to know they can watch the NRL season via WatchNRL, and this will set you back $19 a week, $33 a month or $189 for the entire year.
Enjoy the season and good luck!