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The Kangaroos look on as the Kiwis perform the Haka.

Australia will play New Zealand in an end-of-season double-header  at WIN Stadium on Friday October 25 ahead of an anticipated Test against Tonga a week later.

The announcement of the trans-Tasman Test in Wollongong provides the first glimpse of the code's new international calendar, which is expected to include an Oceania Series and Great Britain Lions tour to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Details are set to finalised after Thursday's ARLC annual general meeting but it has already been reported in Britain that the Lions will begin their southern hemisphere tour with a Test against Tonga in New Zealand on Saturday, October 26.

The Kangaroos and Tonga are set to meet the following weekend, possibly as part of a triple-header in Auckland featuring the first of two Tests between the Lions and New Zealand as well as a clash between Fiji and Samoa.

The Australia-Tonga Test would be part of the Oceania Series, in which New Zealand will host Tonga on June 22 during the NRL's stand-alone representative weekend.

The Kangaroos-Kiwis Test at WIN Stadium would also be included in the Oceania Series, while Fiji, Samoa and Papua New Guinea are expected to play each other during the mid-year Pacific Test and at the end of the season.

The Lions will travel to Port Moresby to play the Kumuls on November 16 after their second Test against the Kiwis the previous weekend.

The end-of-season international program will commence with the RLIF Nines World Cup at the new Bankwest Stadium in Sydney, featuring 12 men's teams and four women's teams on October 18 and 19.

The Australia and New Zealand men's and women's teams will meet on October 25 June at WIN Stadium, with officials predicting the ground record of 19,608 for the St George Illawarra-Cronulla clash during the 2005 NRL finals series would be bettered. 

The Kangaroos previous Test appearance at WIN Stadium against Samoa in 2014 attracted a crowd of 18,456.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said having international rugby league back in the Illawarra was a great result for region and the game.  

"Rugby league has a home in the Illawarra, so we're delighted to bring the pinnacle of rugby league back to Wollongong for the first time in five years," Greenberg said.

"We recorded one of the best-ever attendances for WIN Stadium the last time Test match rugby league was played in Wollongong so I've got no doubt the local support will be strong and compliment those travelling fans who can't wait to be at the stadium come October 25."

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the match had been secured for Wollongong by the NSW Government.

“These exclusive, international events are a real drawcard for our outer-city regions as sports fans see the opportunity to enjoy entertainment beyond their regular venues,” Marshall said.

Member for Kiama and Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast Gareth Ward predicted 3,000 fans would stay overnight in Wollongong for the Test..

“In the year ending September 2018, South Coast NSW received more than 3.9 million domestic overnight visitors who generated nearly $1.8 billion in visitor spend,” Mr Ward said.

The Trans-Tasman Double Header is supported by the New South Wales Government and Destination New South Wales.

The women’s and men’s matches will be broadcast live nationally across the Nine Network, Fox Sports and NRL Live Pass, as well as Sky NZ in New Zealand.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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