Bonus points, unlimited interchange, and $100,000 in prize money potentially going to the winner of ‘heads or tails’.
No, these are not from a game invented by some bored kids during the school holidays, these are some of the crazy rules being introduced for the NRL’s inaugural Pre-season Challenge.
There’s also no golden point, 12 points for a win, six for a draw. Thankfully you still get nothing for a loss which is a relief.
According to the Daily Telegraph, these changes among many others are being introduced to get fans excited before the regular season starts, and help with crowd and viewer numbers.
In a bid to make the pre-season matches more exciting, teams will be rewarded for taking extra risks in attack, with bonus points for scoring more than five tries, offloads and 10 linebreaks.
Throughout the Challenge, current title holders the Roosters will have to hand over the trophy they have held onto for longer than most due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 2022 premiers Penrith set to take on Super League champions St Helens at Bluebet Stadium.
The English tourists will be making the most of their time down under, booked in for a match against the Aussie Saints at WIN Stadium. We will also be treated to a grand final rematch when Penrith take on Parramatta during week one of the pre season.
Kiwi fans will get to see the height of passion and emotion live, with both the men’s and women’s Maori vs Indigenous All-Stars matches to be played across the ditch.
We will also be gearing up for the 40th Charity Shield between the Red V and the Bunnies, with Souths holding the bragging rights with 22 wins. The Dragons broke a ten-year drought against their arch-rivals in 2022 and will be looking to get the job done again when they head back out to Mudgee.
It will also be our first chance to check out the NRL’s newest franchise, The Dolphins. Wayne Bennett and his men will be taking on their Queensland neighbours the Cowboys and the Titans.
Check out all the rules and lineup for all the pre-season action, with every game available on Fox League and Kayo.
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THE 2023 NRL PRE-SEASON CHALLENGE
When: February 9-12 and February 17-19
Prizemoney: $100,000 winner takes all
Teams: All 17 NRL clubs, plus Super League champions St Helens
TV: All games live and exclusive on Fox League
– 80-minute games
– No extra time or golden point. A draw will be declared it scores are equal
– Squad sizes: As many as 28 players for week-one matches and 26 for week-two matches
– Unlimited interchange
*World Club Challenge will have 17-man squads with an 18th player for concussion protocols, and 10 interchanges
– One referee
– Bunker in use
– 12 for a win
– Six for a draw
– None for a loss
A bonus point available for each of the following:
– Scoring five or more tries
– Making five or more linebreaks
– Making 10 or more offloads
Teams can earn a maximum 15 points for a win, nine for a draw and three for a loss.
The overall winner will be determined by the most competition points.
– For and against (points differential), then if still equal;
– The greater percentage of points scored in for and against, then if still equal;
– Most tries scored, then if still equal;
– Most goals kicked, then if still equal;
– Most drop goals kicked, then if still equal;
– Least amount of penalties conceded across both games, then if still equal;
– The toss of a coin
2023 NRL Pre-season
All times in AEDT
Thursday, Feb 9
Warriors vs Tigers, Mt Smart Stadium, 6pm
Friday, Feb 10
Knights v Sharks, Central Coast Stadium, 5.55pm
Rabbitohs vs Sea Eagles, Central Coast Stadium, 8pm
Saturday, Feb 11
Maori vs Indigenous All Stars – Women, Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua, 1.30pm
Maori vs Indigenous All Stars – Men, Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua, 3.45pm
Eels vs Panthers, BlueBet Stadium, 6pm
Dragons v St Helens, WIN Stadium, 8.05pm
Sunday, Feb 12
Storm vs Roosters, GMHBA Stadium, Geelong, 1.50pm
Raiders vs Bulldogs, Ack Weyman Oval, Moruya, 3.55pm
Cowboys vs Dolphins, Barlow Park, Cairns, 6pm
Broncos vs Titans, Sunshine Coast Stadium, 8.05pm
Friday, Feb 17
Knights vs Eels, Central Coast Stadium. 5.55pm
Roosters vs Sea Eagles, Central Coast Stadium. 8pm
Saturday, Feb 18
Dragons vs Rabbitohs, Glen Willow Stadium, Mudgee, 3.30pm (Charity Shield)
Panthers vs St Helens, BlueBet Stadium, 6pm (World Club Challenge)
Broncos vs Cowboys, Sunshine Coast Stadium, 8.10pm
Sunday, Feb 19
Warriors vs Storm, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch, 12.50pm
Tigers vs Raiders, Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney, 2.55pm
Bulldogs vs Sharks, Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney, 5pm
Dolphins vs Titans, Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe, 7.05pm
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