The NRL today launched a thrilling 2013 Telstra Premiership Finals Series with the captains of the NRL’s final eight teams simultaneously kicking eight team footballs into Sydney Harbour from the flight deck of a Naval survey ship at Garden Island.
NRL Chief Executive Dave Smith, the NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon. Gabrielle Upton, the Chief of Navy,Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO CSC RAN, and Telstra General Manager - Media, Sponsorships and Awards Toby Dewar took part in the traditional Captain’s Call aboard the HMAS Leeuwin which will conduct the official ceremonial fleet review on the eve of the 2013 Telstra Premiership Grand Final (October 6).
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They were joined by NRL club captains Anthony Minichiello (Roosters), John Sutton (Rabbitohs), Cameron Smith (Storm), Jamie Lyon (Sea Eagles), Paul Gallen (Sharks), Michael Ennis (Bulldogs), Jarrod Mullen (Knights) and Matt Scott (Cowboys) who are all excited about their team’s chances in Week One of the 2013 Telstra premiership Finals Series.
The NRL and Royal Australian Navy came together to kick-off this week’s Final Series which will culminate in the joint celebrations of the NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final Week (Sept 30–Oct 6) and the International Fleet Review in Sydney commemorate the centenary of the first entry of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet into Sydney (October 3-11).
Mr Smith said: “What a spectacular venue to launch the 2013 Telstra Premiership Finals Series.
“Rugby League has always had a proud association with the Defence Forces and I thank our hosts from the Royal Australian Navy for their hospitality today and wish them every success for the upcoming International Fleet Review.
“This is such a special time of year for Rugby League players, fans and supporters. Over 26 rounds we have watched 16 teams compete in the toughest competition in sport.
“The skills, courage and determination of our players amazes us each and every week and I congratulate all the players who have been a part of this season.
“In particular, congratulations to the eight clubs represented here and to Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello for winning the Minor Premiership.
“At the start of every season it is the goal of every club to be part of the Finals and to be here today is itself a special achievement.
“But I know that each captain here today will be dreaming of standing there on Grand Final Day and holding aloft the Provan-Summons Trophy.”
Minister Upton said: “Following a record-breaking winter of major sporting events in Sydney – the biggest since the 2000 Olympic Games – the NRL finals series is another example of this Government’s commitment to bringing major sporting events to NSW.
“It’s an exciting time to be a Rugby League fan with this year’s Finals Series featuring two of the code’s foundation clubs in South Sydney and the Sydney City Roosters chasing premiership glory.
“I’m really looking forward to the NRL Grand Final and as NSW Minister for Sport I hope the Provan Summons Trophy will be returning home to NSW.”