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What to Expect in 2023 – NRL Round 1

Nothing But League looks at NRL Round 1, 2023, and examines what we have to look forward to.

Related: 2023 NRL Draw

Thursday, March 2, 8pm: Parramatta Eels v Melbourne Storm @ CommBank Stadium

A tantalising season opener, with the Eels and Storm starting to build a healthy rivalry. While the Storm have dominated in their finals clashes, the Eels beat the Storm twice last year. Can they make in three in a row to open 2023 and build on their first grand final appearance in 13 years? Will the Storm have extra motivation with this likely to be Craig Bellamy’s final year?

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Friday, March 3, 6pm: New Zealand Warriors v Newcastle Knights @ Mt Smart Stadium

The Friday 6pm slot is perfect for New Zealanders, so it’s appropriate that the One New Zealand Warriors open their season with a Friday prime-time game. The Knights fell away badly last year, and this trip won’t be an easy start to the season. Can the emotion of playing at home again lift the Warriors?

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Friday, March 3, 8pm: Penrith Panthers v Brisbane Broncos @ BlueBet Stadium

No surprise that Brisbane open their season on a Friday night against the twice-defending premiers. After a spectacular collapse to end 2022, Penrith at Penrith will be an early test for the Broncos. Penrith will be aiming to be the first triple premiers in 40 years.

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Saturday, March 4, 3pm: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs @ Brookvale Oval

After a 2022 season (and off-season) full of drama, Manly will be desperate to win back their home fans early – as well as impress new coach Anthony Siebold. After an improved 2022, Canterbury-Bankstown will be aiming to push for the eight, starting against Manly.

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Saturday, March 4, 5.30pm: North Queensland Cowboys v Canberra Raiders @ QLD Country Bank Stadium

A big advantage for the Cowboys, hosting Canberra in the season opener. The Cowboys belted Canberra in round two last season, and will fancy another strong start to their season, spurred on by their preliminary final heartbreak. Perennial strugglers in Queensland, at least Canberra get the Townsville trip out of the way early.

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Saturday, March 4, 7.30pm: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v South Sydney Rabbitohs @ PointsBet Stadium

A big all-Sydney Saturday night clash: the Sharks will be looking for revenge after Souths bundled them out of the 2022 finals. Hopefully there’s a big crowd at Shark Park to support them, while Souths will be looking to rebound from another preliminary final loss.

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Sunday, March 5, 4pm: The Dolphins v Sydney Roosters @ Suncorp Stadium

The Dolphins enter the NRL with a home game at Lang Park (just like the Titans did in 2007). Though the Roosters won’t be in a charitable mood. While it’s only the first round, all eyes will be on how The Dolphins play, especially for the doomsdayers ready to consign them to the wooden spoon before they’ve even played a game.

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Sunday, March 5, 6pm: Wests Tigers v Gold Coast Titans @ Leichhardt Oval

The final game of round one sees two rebuilding bottom four sides clash. Will Tim Sheens and Benji make Wests respectable again? Can the Titans improve on a nightmare 2022?

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Bye: St George Illawarra Dragons

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