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NEWS ARTICLE
Wednesday April   5, 2006 Rugby League :: NRL Media


Rep Season officially launched


Australian Rugby League The Australian Rugby League today officially launched the 2006 Representative Season, presenting the most action-packed calendar of the game’s modern era.

Twelve matches, including eight internationals, will be played across seven cities in Australia and New Zealand from May to November.

NSW Premier Mr Morris Iemma joined coaches Ricky Stuart, Brian McLennan, Graham Murray, Kevin Walters, Tim Sheens and Craig Bellamy and players Darren Lockyer, Anthony Minichiello, Adrian Morley and Nigel Vagana to launch a programme of high quality matches that give promise of being the most evenly contested in years.

Setting the scene for the season ahead will be the Brisbane Test between Australia and New Zealand on May 5 at Suncorp Stadium – the first meeting between the teams since the Kiwi’s comprehensive Tri-Nations win in November last year, and for the Kangaroos their first game under stewardship of Ricky Stuart as Australian coach.

“Anyone who followed the events in England last year and the excitement that built around the Tri-Nations Tournament will know how important this match is to both teams,” RLIF Chairman Mr Colin Love said.

“The Kiwis win in the final at Elland Road was an historic result and one that has generated enormous interest across Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. I can’t think of a better way to kick off what is such a big year for representative Rugby League.

“The success of State of Origin is set to continue, with the Brisbane match already sold-out.

“The broad appeal of the series is best highlighted by the Victorian Government’s enthusiasm to host game three at Melbourne’s Telstra Dome, giving us a great opportunity to grow the game there.”

The excitement sure to be generated by the Australia v New Zealand Test is set to continue on Friday May 12 in Dubbo where NSW hopefuls will be doing their best to impress during the AAMI City v Country Origin battle in which some of the game’s biggest stars will reinforce their commitment to grass roots Rugby League.

Season 2006 sees the most complete changing of the guard at coaching level in representative history, with Graham Murray guiding the Blues and legend Mal Meninga at the helm of the Maroons, both for the first time.

The State of Origin Series takes on a fresh dimension with the final match to be played at Melbourne’s Telstra Dome, giving Victorians the chance to be a part of Australian sport’s greatest rivalry.

With its strategy of boosting participation and building the profile of Rugby League in Victoria, the match has the backing of the Victorian Government, as outlined in a message from Premier Steve Bracks specially recorded for the rep season launch.

“Hosting a State of Origin will not only help build the popularity of Rugby League in Victoria, it will also give Victorians a unique first hand opportunity to see a spectacular sporting contest that has engrossed our northern neighbours for so many years”, Premier Bracks said in a video statement at today’s launch.

Traditional rivals NSW Premier Morris Iemma and Queensland Premier Peter Beattie also spoke on the importance of the series to both states.

At season’s end comes the first full-scale Tri-Nations in Australasia.

“The tournament has been an outstanding success in the northern hemisphere for the past two years, playing to packed houses and with strong television ratings,” Mr Love said.

“Already the demand to see the series on home soil has been immense.

“It’s a challenging logistical exercise but judging by the backing we’ve received from corporate partners and by the interest level already displayed by the general public we’re confident that we’ll enjoy a very successful tournament.”

2006 Representative Schedule and Tri Nations Series

DateMatchVenueCity/Town
Fri May 5AustraliavsNew ZealandSuncorp StadiumBrisbane
Fri May 12NSW CityvsNSW CountryApex OvalDubbo
 
State of Origin Series
Wed May 24New South WalesvsQueenslandTelstra StadiumSydney
Wed June 14QueenslandvsNew South WalesSuncorp StadiumBrisbane
Wed July 5New South WalesvsQueenslandTelstra DomeMelbourne
 
Tri Nations Tournament
Sat Oct 14New ZealandvsAustraliaEricsson StadiumAuckland
Sat Oct 21AustraliavsNew ZealandTelstra DomeMelbourne
Sat Oct 28New ZealandvsGreat BritainJade StadiumChristchurch
Sat Nov 4AustraliavsGreat BritainAussie StadiumSydney
Sat Nov 11New ZealandvsGreat BritainWestpac StadiumWellington
Sat Nov 18AustraliavsGreat BritainSuncorp StadiumBrisbane
Sat Nov 25FINALAussie StadiumSydney


 
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