NSWRL’s 2017 competition season kicks-off tomorrow (Saturday, 11 February), with an inaugural girls competition being played alongside the elite junior boys for the first time.
While the NRL and NSWRL senior competitions start in three weeks, the Harold Matthews (U16 boys), SG Ball (U18 boys) and the Tarsha Gale Cup (U18 girls) will be played at various venues around Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle tomorrow and Sunday.
One of the features of the first weekend is a triple header at Belmore Oval. Archrivals Canterbury and Parramatta will face off in all three junior grades before the NRL trial between Bulldogs and Panthers later that day.
NSWRL will live stream all three games for the first time with Peter Jolly, former NRL player Mat Head and Jillaroo and NSW representative Allana Ferguson making up the commentary team.
The NSWRL has changed the times of more than half of the games this weekend because of a duty of care, due to forecasts of extreme heat. Matches are expected to be played prior to 11am and after 3pm.
Club doctors, in conjunction with a representative from each club and the ground manager, will make a determination as to whether the game should go ahead based on the NRL's Heat Guidelines.
SG Ball premiers Penrith will start their title defence against Western Suburbs at Hillier Oval, while the Bears and Rabbitohs play for bragging rights in Sydney’s east at TG Milner Field.
The Harold Matthews competition will feature a Round 1 grudge-match between two of last year’s top teams, Newcastle and Cronulla, who finished in second and third position respectively.
The Tarsha Gale Cup will feature nine teams competing over nine rounds together with the Harold Matthews and SG Ball competitions, providing an important pathways for female players in NSW.
Canberra Raiders, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Cronulla Sharks, Illawarra Steelers, Parramatta Eels, Penrith Panthers, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Sydney Indigenous Academy and Wests Tigers will all field teams, giving girls a chance to run out in the same colours as their NRL stars.
For the full 2017 SG Ball, Harold Matthews and Tarsha Gale Cup draws, visit Live Match Centre.
Tarsha Gale: 8.30am
Harold Matthews: 9.30am
SG Ball: 10.45am