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Cowboys superstar Jason Taumalolo.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has shone the spotlight on the NRL's newest generation of talent as a sight for sore eyes after a scandal-plagued off-season.

With some of the game's brightest young stars backlit by the iconic sands of Bondi Beach, the NRL's 2019 season launch centred around a new era for rugby league.

The likes of Kalyn Ponga, Dally M medallist Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Cowboys behemoth Jason Taumalolo were joined by legends Greg Inglis and Cameron Smith at the marquee event along with Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga and senior NRL figures.

But alongside the most recognisable figures in the game were some of its best emerging talent - Canterbury's Lachlan Lewis, Titans tyro AJ Brimson and recent Origin graduates Nathan Cleary, Josh Addo-Carr, Tom Trbojevic and Damien Cook all on show.

In the same vein Greenberg talked up the "fresh start around the corner" for the game having navigated all manner of controversy in a pre-season he's previously described as a "train wreck."

"Tonight, a new era begins for the NRL Telstra Premiership. 2018 is behind us – every club has a clean slate, and a fresh start is around the corner," Greenberg said.

2019 Season Launch – A New Era

"Every club can make an impact ... each one of these captains could lift the premiership trophy on October 6.

"Our players here tonight will be front and centre of our new era. Tonight, in this spectacular setting, it is their time to shine.

"To light up this stage and show the way forward for the rest of the competition, for our members, fans and partners everywhere.

"In 2019, these players will inspire the next generation, with incredible feats of athleticism, and lashings of flair and fire".

Josh Addo-Carr at the NRL season launch.
Josh Addo-Carr at the NRL season launch. ©NRL Photos

Along with the abundance of young talent on show after a 2018 season that saw a cavalcade of modern greats head into retirement, Greenberg also drew on new ground the NRL is breaking on a number of fronts.

May sees the introduction of the NRL's first ever Magic Round, when "all eight matches during a wonderful celebration in Brisbane over one weekend in round nine".

Likewise, the game is also taking its first Origin match to Western Australia, where the newly built Perth Stadium is expected to host a sell-out 60,000 strong crowd for game two.

The Downer Rugby League World Nines is another first for the game in October while Greenberg also promised "our themed rounds will take centre stage again – Indigenous Round, Women in League Round, Beanies for Brain Cancer Round ... initiatives which the game does so well.

"This time next week, one of the closest competitions in world sport will explode with blockbusters and epic battles over the opening rounds.

"There is simply no competition in the world like it. Tonight, a new era launches for rugby league".

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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