Rugby League is undeniably one of Australia’s favourite sports, with fans often bundling up and facing the cold and the rain just to watch their favourite teams battle it out, each striving to one up the opposition.
But you don’t have to brave the winter weather and spend money on stadium tickets in order to watch the entire 2018 NRL season live. While catching the matches on free-to-air television is probably the easiest option, it’s perhaps not the most convenient. With multiple online streaming options now on offer, however, you don’t have to stay glued to the couch to see every scrum and cheer every try.
NRL 2018 schedule: The matches in the latest round
There's three more rounds to go before the finals begin next month, and the Bunnies are still hopping to it. But with 32 points, the Roosters are also on top of the leaderboard.
Will the Rabbitohs continue strong or will the team from South Sydney be dethroned so close to the final round? Find out how things play out in Round 23, which begins on Thursday, August 16.
All times listed below are in AEST.
- Thursday, August 16: Broncos vs Rabbitohs at 7:50pm
- Friday, August 17: Sea Eagles vs Titans at 6pm
- Friday, August 17: Storm vs Eels at 7:55pm
- Saturday, August 18: Knights vs Panthers at 3pm
- Saturday, August 18: West Tigers vs Dragons at 5:30pm
- Saturday, August 18: Sharks vs Cowboys at 7:35pm
- Sunday, August 19: Bulldogs vs Warriors at 2pm
- Sunday, August 19: Raiders vs Roosters at 4:10pm
Watching the 2018 NRL season on free-to-air television
The Nine Network holds the broadcast rights for just three matches in each round, with Fox Sports owning the rights to the last five. As such, watching the 2018 NRL season on free-to-air telly can get a tad confusing.
If you live in NSW or Queensland, you can catch both Thursday games and the second Friday night match on Channel 9 (or on Channel 90 if you want hi-def quality images), along with the Sunday afternoon one. In Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, the matches will be broadcast on GEM.
With matches being played from Thursday to Sunday, Nine will be broadcasting the Thursday match live and free, followed by night session on Friday. No matches on Saturday will be shown, however, but you can watch from the edge of your couch on Sunday as the second game will be broadcast live.
All matches in the final round, however, will be broadcast over the Nine Network around the country, on either GEM or Channel 9.
Livestream the 2018 NRL season
The best way to catch every NRL game is online. Nine Network’s 9Now app, available on desktop, iOS and Android, will provide a live stream of all the matches that the network holds the rights for, along with all the matches in the finals.
To catch the other five games each round, you’ll need a Foxtel subscription. New subscribers to the Foxtel Now streaming service get a two-week trial period which is free, but be sure to get a sports package if you want to follow the NRL season online.
If you aren’t too keen on switching between the Nine Network and Foxtel, your best option is to get yourself an NRL Live Pass. While Telstra customers often get free access to the NRL Live Pass as part of their mobile plan, it’s available to everyone for $3.99 a week, or $99.99 for an annual subscription. This will provide you with a live stream of every game of the 2018 NRL season, with the exception of the 2018 State of Origin series and the 2018 NRL Grand Final match. A replay of these matches will be available on the NRL Live Pass, however.
To watch them live, you’ll need to revert to either a Foxtel subscription or watch it live on one of the Nine Network’s platforms.
The NRL Live Pass app is available for both iOS and Android, but keep in mind that there are limitations on the display size of the live stream, so you won’t be able to cast it to a bigger screen like your TV. The maximum display size for the NRL Live Pass is 7-inches diagonal, with full-screen mode unavailable on devices with larger displays.
For those travelling abroad or expats who want to keep up with the heated action, a WatchNRL subscription will give you live streams to all the matches for a fee of $19 a week, $33 a month or $119 for the Mid-Season Pass. This includes every match in the Premiership plus the State of Origin series. WatchNRL allows you to pause and rewind live matches, and also allows you to download matches for offline viewing. While you can watch the livestream on desktop via the website, the WatchNRL app is also available for iOS and Android.