The NRL is set to return with a bang.
The NRL is set to return with a bang.

Five-day footy fest to celebrate return of NRL

The NRL is planning a one-off Monday night Western Sydney blockbuster between the Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers as part of a five-night TV footy feast to celebrate the return of the rugby league season.

Footy-starved fans may also see the Rabbitohs and their superstar signing Latrell Mitchell against his old club the Roosters in a grudge match on the Friday night, the original round-three blockbuster that was abandoned when the game was shut down a month ago.

The plan is to resume the season on May 28, subject to approval from health officials.

"We think it would be a great celebration to relaunch the NRL season with big games five nights in a row," Fox Sports head of television Steve Crawley said.

"Remembering it's not our call and we realise it would be a one-off, but you can hear the cheers from the lounge rooms now."

 

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Rabbitohs recruit Latrell Mitchell could face his old club the Roosters when the NRL returns. Picture: Adam Head
Rabbitohs recruit Latrell Mitchell could face his old club the Roosters when the NRL returns. Picture: Adam Head

 

 

The Daily Telegraph understands the NRL will this week talk to broadcasters Fox Sports and Channel 9 about a competition restart, including the rescheduling of the Easter Monday Parramatta Eels v Wests Tigers game at Bankwest Stadium on Monday, June 1, at 7.30pm.

Monday night football was scrapped in 2016 and replaced with Thursday night football.

The Parramatta Eels are loving the idea.

"Our club welcomes any ideas that will celebrate the return of rugby league by building on the strong rivalries of two big Sydney teams," Eels chief executive Jim Sarantinos said.

"The Easter Monday game against the Tigers has become a modern Sydney tradition so we are pleased that there may be an opportunity for us to play this fixture once the season returns."

If the ratings are strong, Monday night football could replace Thursday nights from next season, especially as Channel 9 is keen to drop the Thursday night match.

The return to rugby league would be played over five days - Thursday night (one game), Friday night (two games), Saturday night (two games), Sunday (two games) and Monday night (one game). A number of draw options will be put to the broadcasters at a meeting this week once the independent commission has signed off on a new schedule.

At this stage, a 20-round format is favoured, then a grand final in late October followed by the State of Origin series.

The Eels and Tigers opened Bankwest Stadium last year on Easter Monday in front of a sellout crowd.

 

 

Originally published as Five-day footy fest to celebrate return of NRL



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