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Inspired by the successful Big Bash League, the NRL are introducing an exciting competition, held during the tricky State of Origin period.

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The “NRL Slam” will feature six fresh franchises (South-East Sydney, North-West Sydney, Brisbane-Gold Coast, Country Queensland, Country NSW/ACT, Pacific Islands). The NRL Premiership will be suspended for the seven-week period, with non-Origin NRL players and the second-tier Canterbury Cup NSW and Queensland’s Intrust Super Cup players eligible. Team nicknames and colours will be decided by fans through the NRL Slam social media channels.

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NRL CEO Todd Greenberg is excited about the new competition. “I’ve been watching a lot of Big Bash over summer, and I’ve had the best and most original idea. Everyone complains about how Origin-heavy teams are disadvantaged from May to July, so why not suspend the competition and do something different? With new teams that fans can embrace, some quality footy, and games played across NSW, Queensland, ACT, New Zealand, and PNG. Plus, it gives the Origin squads time to focus on our game’s greatest spectacle without worrying about club footy.”

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To accommodate the NRL Slam, the NRL Premiership will be reduced to 19 rounds, finishing Sunday May 24 and resuming Thursday July 16.
NRL Slam innovations include:
  • four twenty-minute quarters
  • one on-field referee
  • one at-ground video referee
  • no Golden Point; ten minutes extra time for finals games
  • one successful Captain’s Challenge per quarter
  • one bonus point for winning a quarter (along with two points for a win and one for a draw).
There will be five rounds, starting Friday May 29 and ending Sunday June 28, with games played on Friday nights (Channel Nine and Fox Sports/Kayo), Saturday nights (Fox Sports/Kayo) and Sunday afternoons (Channel Nine and Fox Sports/Kayo).

Venues include the SCG, Bankwest Stadium, Suncorp Stadium, Bathurst, PNG, Mackay, Cbus Super Stadium, Cairns, Toowoomba, Mt. Smart Stadium, ANZ Stadium (as a curtain-raiser to Origin II on Sunday June 21), Gosford, and GIO Stadium Canberra.

After the five rounds, the second and third-placed teams play a preliminary final on Saturday July 4, with the winner meeting the minor premiers in the grand final on Saturday July 11, with the higher-ranked teams hosting.

There will be two curtain-raisers during the finals: an Origin Legends game (at Bankwest) on Friday July 3, and the Women’s Origin (at North Sydney Oval) on Friday July 10.

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The Forward Pass is a fictional and deliberately ridiculous look at the NRL. References to real people is for satirical purposes only. Check it out on Twitter @thefwdpass

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