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Thursday night football to launch season

NRL Chief Executives have today been advised that the 2013 NRL Premiership will kick-off with Thursday night games broadcast on the Nine Network in each of the first four rounds.

At today’s NRL Chief Executives meeting at Rugby League Central, clubs were informed that the draw, which will include a schedule of days and times for each match for the first 20 rounds, would be finalised by mid-November.

All clubs have also acknowledged receipt of a $500,000 broadcast rights bonus payment and acknowledged the support of the Nine Network.

“The clubs today were positive about the opportunities ahead with the new broadcasting arrangements,” NRL Interim Chief Executive, Mr Shane Mattiske, said.

“The new broadcasting agreements will provide more certainty for fans and a chance to try some exciting new concepts.

“This year’s Thursday night kick-off was a real success and the opportunity to extend that over four weeks is going to add an interesting dimension to those early weeks of the season.”

The NRL outlined that issues of long term club funding and negotiations with the RLPA would be advanced in coming weeks.

The Chief Executives also received progress reports on a number of projects including strategic planning, branding, licensing, stadium facilities, financial reporting and reviews into both shoulder charges and refereeing.

“These are ongoing matters that will continue to be subject of considerable focus in the weeks ahead,” Mr Mattiske said.

The meeting was also informed of changes to the Titans business structure that involves changes to the club’s ownership, which have resulted in the club having financial security as it moves into 2013.

The NRL has also reiterated its attitude to post-season celebrations and the importance of players and clubs being able to celebrate the end of the season in a responsible manner.

Further discussions have been planned with clubs to develop a common approach.

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