All NRL home venues will be eligible to host week one finals matches under changes to the Finals Series today endorsed by the NRL Club CEOs.
The Club CEOs met in Brisbane to discuss a range of issues, including season structure, football innovations as well as player behaviour.
The CEOs were told that the NRL was expecting approximately 26,000 travellers to be in Brisbane for the inaugural NRL Brisbane Magic Round. Initial forecasts also suggest more than 135,000 people will attend the four days of matches.
The changes to the Finals Series venues had been recently approved by the Australian Rugby League Commission, and were subsequently endorsed by the CEOs today.
All NRL home venues will now be eligible to host Finals matches in week one – subject to venue infrastructure criteria to accommodate team, broadcaster and supporter requirements.
The NRL will reserve the right to nominate the most suitable stadium for Clubs with multiple venues.
Bankwest Stadium and the Sydney Cricket Ground have also been endorsed as venues for matches through weeks one and three of the Finals Series.
Canberra and Newcastle will join Townsville as regional venues eligible to host matches during week three of the Finals Series.
The changes will be in effect for the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series and will continue during the period of the redevelopment of the Sydney stadia network.
"There was strong support for these changes amongst the CEOs," NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said.
"There was an opportunity to change the way we think about the Finals Series venues with Allianz Stadium not available and further challenges ahead with the redevelopment of ANZ Stadium.
"Clearly Bankwest Stadium will be a great option for us for the Finals Series this year but it will also be wonderful to see the potential for our marquee finals matches to return to suburban settings."
Penrith Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher said the change had enormous benefits.
"This is an extremely positive result for our Club, particularly our fans but also for the game," Penrith Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher said.
Ongoing discussion took place on integrity matters, including options to strengthen the NRL's ability to effectively manage player misconduct.
Telstra executives engaged with CEOs on business alignment, growing the game and how the partnership of 20 years can become even stronger.
Several key metrics were reviewed including the strong growth of the NRL Live Pass and how Telstra is increasing their investment in the NRLW, a club innovation fund and the live experience on 5G.
The CEOs were also given a presentation into football innovations by representatives from Google, Facebook, KPMG and Quantium.