The NRL 2023 season is sure to be one of the most exciting yet, and in order to make sure you don’t miss a minute, we have compiled all the key dates you need to know.
February 9-11: NRL Pre-season Begins as Rotorua Prepares to Host Historic Indigenous All-Stars MatchEmbed from Getty Images
On February 9 the NRL Pre-season will kick off with the Warriors taking on Wests Tigers at Mount Smart Stadium.
It’s the first of nineteen matches to be played between February 9-19 and will feature St Helens playing the Dragons at WIN Stadium in a warm-up to their World Club Challenge fixture with the Panthers.
Two days later, the twelfth NRL All Stars game will be hosted for the first time in New Zealand at Rotorua International Stadium.
In the men’s fixture, the Maori side will be looking to defend the title after beating the Indigenous side 16-10 at CommBank Stadium last year.
The women’s fixture will be played prior to the men, with the Indigenous side looking to win back-to-back for the first time in the game’s history.
Related: 2023 NRL Pre-season Fixtures
February 18: World Club Challenge Returns and Charity Shield ContestedEmbed from Getty Images
It’s a huge night of matches in the NRL pre-season when the World Club Challenge returns after a two-year absence with the Penrith Panthers hosting Super League side St Helens at BlueBet Stadium.
In Mudgee, the 40th Charity Shield will be contested between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and St George-Illawarra Dragons. Both sides have won on 17 occasions with five matches resulting in draws.
March 2: 2023 NRL Premiership Season Kick-offEmbed from Getty Images
The Parramatta Eels will host Melbourne Storm to kick off the 2023 NRL Premiership season.
Newcomers the Dolphins will face Sydney Roosters in their inaugural game on March 5 at Suncorp Stadium.
All teams will play 24 games and receive three byes in what has been described as the most complex draw, with several grounds unavailable because of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
For the first time in 55 years, the Gabba will host rugby league matches when the Broncos play home fixtures at the home of Queensland cricket.
There will be 204 preliminary fixtures played over 27 rounds, an extra 12 matches than in 2022.
Related: 2023 NRL Draw
April 25: ANZAC Day, the Tradition ContinuesEmbed from Getty Images
The ANZAC Round will span six days and culminate in the traditional clashes between Sydney Roosters and St George-Illawarra Dragons (Allianz Stadium) and Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Warriors (AAMI Park).
While Melbourne have dominated the Warriors in the ANZAC Day clash, it’s been much closer between the Dragons and Roosters with the Red V winning 12 of the 20 matches since 2002, including their 12-10 win in last year’s encounter at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
May 5-7: Magic Round Returns to BrisbaneEmbed from Getty Images
2023 will mark the fourth edition of the Magic Round concept which has been exclusively played over one weekend at Suncorp Stadium. Almost 400,000 have attended the games since 2019 with 130,000 coming in 2022.
South Sydney and the Sydney Roosters are yet to be beaten at Magic Round, while St George-Illawarra Dragons and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs are the teams looking to record their first win at the event.
May 31: State of Origin Series Kicks OffEmbed from Getty Images
Queensland will start their defence of the State of Origin title when they face New South Wales in the opening game to be played in Adelaide on May 31. The last time these two sides met at the venue, the Maroons produced an upset 18-14 victory over the Blues.
The second Origin will be played in Sydney on June 21 and the final game on July 12.
The series reverts to Wednesday night matches with the Pacific Test and standalone Origin weekend scrapped with the introduction of three new premiership rounds.
September 8: NRL Finals Series BeginsEmbed from Getty Images
The 2023 NRL Finals series is set to begin on Friday September 8 with all top eight sides featuring in week one with two teams from the bottom four set to be eliminated. It also created the most drama in 2022 where Canberra knocked out the Storm, the Cowboys won in golden point over the Sharks, and sin bin Sunday saw the Roosters eliminated by South Sydney.
From week 2 it’s sudden death where it’s survival of the fittest. The Cowboys, Eels, Panthers and Rabbitohs made it through to the Grand Final qualifier.
October 1: NRL Grand FinalEmbed from Getty Images
The 26th National Rugby League Grand Final will take place on Sunday October 1 with the Penrith Panthers looking to break a forty-year record and win three straight titles.
Melbourne and the Sydney Roosters lead the way with four titles in the NRL era, followed by the Brisbane Broncos and Penrith Panthers with three apiece, and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles with two.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, North Queensland Cowboys, South Sydney Rabbitohs, St George-Illawarra Dragons, Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Wests Tigers, and Newcastle Knights have won the title once.
The Parramatta Eels, New Zealand Warriors and Canberra Raiders are yet to win since the NRL kicked off in 1998.
November 1: 2025 Nrl Open Market for Players Coming off Contract at the End of 2024
It’s November 1 and the silly season will begin with players off contract at the end of the 2024 season, able to negotiate with rival clubs for the 2025 season.
Some players who come off contract at the end of 2024 include Payne Haas, Nicho Hynes, Jacob Saifiti, Isaah Yeo, Campbell Graham, and James Tedesco. No doubt these players will be on the priority list for their current clubs to be re-signed.
Note: at the time of publication no announcement had been made about when the 2023 NRL-W season would start. It is anticipated the ten team event will start around July. The women’s State of Origin will expand to a two-match series in 2023. No international test matches have been confirmed for 2023.