On 18th April 2018, Touch Football Australia (TFA) CEO Steve Mitchell and NRL CEO Todd Greenberg announced that a brand new NRL Touch Premiership will commence this year, whereby elite touch football teams aligned with NRL clubs will play touch football games as curtain-raisers to NRL games. And today, the six NRL clubs that will have teams in the Premiership’s
inaugural year have been announced.
Three NRL clubs from New South Wales, and three clubs from Queensland, will have teams: the Parramatta Eels, Wests Tigers, Newcastle Knights, Gold Coast Titans, Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys.
Each club will have two teams – a women’s team and a men’s team – playing in the tournament, equalling 12 NRL Touch teams in total.
A 30-minute men’s game and a 30-minute women’s game will be played prior to the main rugby league event, tapping off from the NRL’s Round 11 on Friday 18th May 2018.
Branding, including uniforms, will align with the branding of each namesake NRL club.
The inaugural Premiership will consist of six games plus a final. Queensland teams and NSW teams will compete against each other in separate pools, with the winners from each pool progressing to the Premiership Final.
TFA CEO Steve Mitchell is thrilled to be working with the six clubs to bring the Premiership to life. “We’re grateful for the support these clubs are giving the teams and the Premiership, and we believe it will be exciting for young touch players in these clubs’ regions to see the sports come together, and to realise that they can aspire to play either elite rugby league or elite touch football.”
The touch games will be broadcast nationally, as a mix of live and delayed broadcasts.
Players are being selected from the current pool of elite NRL Touch Football players, who compete in the Elite 8 domestic tournament annually, as well as in international tournaments such as the Touch World Cup and the Trans-Tasman.
Mitchell is excited about showcasing the talent of these players to a broader audience, in this, the 50th year of the sport, which was born out of rugby league in 1968.
“These players, both male and female, have been playing touch football non-stop since they were five or so, and the speed, the agility and the skill level is just phenomenal.
“Touch football is Australia’s largest social sport, so it’s not generally considered a spectator sport, but everyone who gets the chance to witness the elite level of the game is in awe of how entertaining it is to watch.
“We’ve seen so many touch football players – from Benji Marshall to Kalyn Ponga, Bevan French, Matt Dufty and Maddie Studdon, for instance – move from touch football into the NRL, so we’re excited about giving our touch players a tournament that allows them to showcase their skills in this sport on a national stage.”
Touch has a large participation base – 613,00 participants across Australia, but mostly concentrated in NSW and Queensland. So Mitchell believes that, as well as helping to raise the profile of touch football, these curtain-raisers will help draw touch participants to NRL matches.
For more information on the inaugural NRL Touch Football Premiership, or to arrange an interview with Steve Mitchell or elite touch football players, contact:
NRL Touch Football Marketing & Communications Manager, Alice Ellis Ph: 0436 668 327 // Email: [email protected]