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NRL Mailbox: Rivalry Round

NRL.com Wed, Jul 11, 2012 - 6:00 PM

Did you know that since 1998....  

-    On only three occasions have both the teams ranked first and second after Round 18 made the Grand Final

-    On all but three occasions a team within the top four at the end of Round 18 has won on Grand Final day

-    A ‘bolter’ has traditionally emerged in the weeks following Round 18, including the Eels in 2009 and Wests Tigers in 2005

Rivalry Round will be celebrated across two rounds of footy for the first time ever this season and we’re all in for a real treat!

The Telstra Premiership enters two weeks of Rivalry Round matches in Round 19 (July 13-16) and 20 (July 20-23) with just four points separating the top six teams on the ladder, and only four points separating the teams positioned eighth to fourteenth.

The stakes couldn’t be higher and, with the NRL this week launching its Rivalry Rounds television commercial, NRL Clubs are calling on members and fans to come out in force and help spark their team’s run to the finals against some of their fiercest rivals.

Even legendary coach Wayne Bennett believes the contenders for this year’s title will begin to emerge over the next few rounds: “I wouldn’t start giving anybody Premiership material tags right now, the competition is really just starting again after the Origin and it will be another two or three weeks before the contenders start to show themselves.”

The next two weeks will feature a host of classic rivalries, from the Knights and Sea Eagles, to the Dragons and Sharks, Roosters v Rabbitohs, Titans and Broncos, Cowboys and Wests Tigers, Rabbitohs and Dragons and Sea Eagles v Bulldogs, as well as season-defining encounters such as the Raiders against the Titans.

It all begins this Friday night with the blockbuster between the Broncos and last year’s Grand Finalists the Warriors in Brisbane, and the showdown between the high-flying Bulldogs and arch rivals the Eels at ANZ Stadium, with their famed 1980s rivalry celebrated with an 80 minutes of madness ticket sale yesterday.

The Rivalry Rounds mark the official start of the Telstra Premiership ‘Glory Bound Rounds’ and the countdown to the Telstra Premiership Finals so make sure you get behind your team’s pursuit of a finals berth by showing your support on game day!