The NRL today previewed the 2019 season calendar to a meeting of club CEOs.
The 2019 season will see the return of the NRL Harvey Norman All Stars match in February and the first NRL Brisbane Magic Round in May.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said negotiations are still under way to stage the opening match of the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership in the United States.
He said the proposed game would be played one week before all other Round One premiership matches, possibly in California.
“Significant work is required to make this game happen but it would be a sensational way to open the 2019 season,” Mr Greenberg said.
“We hope to be in a position to make a final decision on whether the event proceeds in the coming weeks.”
Mr Greenberg said the pre-season focus would be on the potential United States game, All Stars and World Club Challenge.
He said Holden State of Origin II would again be played on a Sunday evening in 2019 – at the new Perth Stadium.
“The match is already close to being a sell-out – that’s how much interest there is in Origin in Perth,” he said.
“It is another example of how fans are keen to attend matches live when they have world class facilities.”
Mr Greenberg said the opening of the new Western Sydney stadium would be another highlight of the 2019 calendar.
He said the NRL was aiming to schedule blockbuster matches to coincide with the opening of the stadium.
The NRL will continue to encourage clubs to take NRL Telstra Premiership games to regional areas in 2019.
Mr Greenberg said discussions were also underway to stage an International Nines tournament at the end of the 2019 season.
Players would represent countries rather than NRL clubs.
“And of course, we will again have the Trans-Tasman Test between Australia and New Zealand at the end of the season – with both men’s and women’s teams to feature.”