A week at a time: Round 8

Is there a better time to be a footy fan? The NRL Telstra Premiership is in full swing and representative footy is just around the corner. 

The Australian team and both City-Country teams are going to be announced on Sunday night, two games of great importance but for totally different reasons.

The Aussies are looking to get one back on their cross-Tasman rivals who are now reigning World and Four Nations champions, while the City-Country clash is seen by NSW coach Ricky Stuart as a shoot-out for sky blue jerseys.

There are still a few positions up for grabs for the Kangaroos, and this week is the last chance players will have to stake their claim. Expect some big name players to step-up this week…

We could get a small taste of State of Origin on Friday night when Justin Hodges and Josh Morris go head-to-head at Suncorp Stadium. Both players will be looking to impress and both are well in contention for a place in rugby league’s fiercest rivalry.

DID YOU KNOW?

1. The National Rugby League became the first Australian sport to surpass 300,000 Facebook fans. Become a fan today - http://www.facebook.com/nationalrugbyleague

2. Last week’s Monday Night Football game between the Rabbitohs and Dragons was the second highest rated NRL game on Subscription TV ever. The game is also ranked 5th in the All-Time Top 10 programs on Subscription TV.

NRL in the community

Andrew Ryan, Trent Waterhouse, Mario Fenech and Kevin Kingston were just some of the stars to take part in 2011 NRL Day at the Royal Easter Show. Fans had a great day reading with their heroes as part of One Community’s Rugby League Reads program.

Reminder: You can follow every game live on NRL.com’s Match Centre with match previews, ins and outs, up to the minute stats, and video highlights. 

This week on NRL.com

Ricky Stuart says form isn’t everything in Origin – sometimes it’s not even enough!

Stats Insider; The Australia and New Zealand teams if they were picked on pure statistics.

Official ViewPlaying at the ball: Stuart Raper explains when a tackler is deemed to be playing at the ball.

NRL.com Columnists

Peter Sterling: Sterling Gold - A game of millimeters: Sterling looks at how a tweak in the rules has led to some of the most spectacular tries the game has ever seen.

David Middleton: From the Mind of Middo – Ahead of this weekend's Dragons-Eels clash, Middo recalls the infamous pre-Grand Final wedding of ’77.

Steve Mascord – On the Road Have the Broncos come up with a salary cap revolution?

Leila McKinnon: In TouchWinning is a habit.

Trent Barrett: Inside Word – Barrett expects 13 of the 17 Kangaroos to come from Queensland.

Graham Murray: Coach’s box  -Murray calls for Kurt Gidley and Mitchell Pearce to be picked in the halves for NSW.

Matt Russell: Next Gen There is more than one Barba sensation in Rugby League.

Match Previews:

Broncos v Bulldogs / Last time they played
Rabbitohs v Sharks / Last time they played
Titans v Roosters / Last time they played
Storm v Knights / Last time they played
Cowboys v Sea Eagles / Last time they played
Warriors v Panthers / Last time they played
Raiders v Wests Tigers / Last time they played
Dragons v Eels / Last time they played

This week’s videos on NRL.com

Top Hits and Tries of Round 7 – Vote for your favourite!

NRL News with Brad Fittler and Joel Caine : 

Late Mail with Peter Sterling:

Coming up this weekend on NRL.com
 
Saturday / Sunday 3:00pm – 4:30pm:  NRL Deluxe on League TV with Freddy Fitler and John Gibbs 

Full Match replays or just watch the best bits with Game Analyser.  (All matches available 24 hours after final siren)

Toyota NRL Dream Team
Have you got your team in?  Over $65,000 in prizes to be won including $500 for each week’s top coach