Parliamentary Friends of Rugby League help launch season
The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader have joined with ARL Chairman John Grant to launch the 2016 Rugby League season in Canberra.
The Parliamentary Friends of Rugby League is a group of MPs who meet regularly to support the game and celebrate major events.
Last night, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten were among those who helped launch the start of the Telstra Premiership.
Mr Turnbull is a committed Roosters supporter and NRL Ambassador, Anthony Minichiello was on hand to present him with a club jersey.
Mr Shorten has become a member of the Melbourne Storm for the first time.
Their attendance at the event demonstrates the strength of the support for the game on both sides of politics.
Mr Grant said there was no more appropriate place to celebrate the launch than Parliament House.
He said history is written every day in the nation's capital and the NRL's message to fans this year is to "Be There When History Happens".
Mr Grant told the launch that fans would see more Rugby League than ever before in 2016 with games running from Thursday night to Monday night for much of the season.
All games would be televised live with some games being simulcast on the Nine Network and Fox Sports.
Mr Grant used the occasion to stress the importance of securing a new stadium and entertainment precinct at Townsville.
He also outlined some of the work undertaken by Rugby League players off the field, particularly the State of Mind program which encourages people to seek help for mental health issues.
Mr Grant also thanked Senator Marise Payne for her service as Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Rugby League since the group's inception. She is stepping down from the role due to her commitments as Defence Minister and will be replaced by Government Whip, Ewen Jones, MP.