After an unpredictable 2020 season that at times felt doubtful of ever reaching its conclusion, we’re now on the cusp of kicking off the 2021 season of the NRL tonight (Thursday, March 11).
This year’s rounds look like they could be returning to a pre-coronavirus normalcy, with crowds expected to be welcomed back, and teams allowed to play outside their biosecurity bubble – a Covid protocol that was introduced last year.
Something will be starkly different though – Melbourne Storm legend Cameron Smith announced his retirement yesterday, ending a decorated career at the club that spanned 19 seasons.
Smith won three NRL premierships with the Storm, and played a record 430 NRL games with the club. With Smith no longer captaining the side, all eyes will be on Melbourne, to see if they can maintain their magic after winning the season in 2020.
If you want to catch all the action, or you’re looking to live stream from anywhere in the world, you can turn to Foxtel, Watch NRL or Kayo Sports.
How to watch the NRL 2021 season live online in Australia
Free-to-air TV coverage of the NRL is limited to just three games a week in Australia and it can vary state-by-state as to what's being shown on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights on Channel 9. However, those that are aired can be live streamed using the network’s 9Now service – and they tend to be the biggest fixtures of the week, so it’s not a bad thing.
For those who want more comprehensive coverage, we rate streaming service Kayo Sports as the best way to live stream the NRL from Australia. It lets you watch every single NRL match across the entire regular season, with the exceptions of the grand final and the State of Origin.
It’s affordable, with the choice of a AU$25 per month basic package or a AU$35 a month premium offering. The only difference between the two is the amount of screens you can stream to simultaneously – two on Kayo basic and three on Kayo premium.
Kayo comes with no lock-in contract, and you can get a free 14-day trial when you sign up, no strings attached.
The other option to watch NRL in Australia is through Foxtel, a pay TV offering with comprehensive rugby league coverage on Fox Sports.
How to watch the NRL 2021 season live from abroad
There’s no need to miss a second of the Australian rugby league action, thanks to Watch NRL – a global subscription service that will give you access to every single NRL match this season.
The league’s official streaming service can be had on weekly, monthly and annual subscriptions, of which the last option represents the best value.
It’s unavailable in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, but can be watched anywhere outside those regions. Here’s how Watch NRL is priced in various regions around the world.
- Weekly: US$17 / £13 / €17 – GET PLAN
- Monthly: US$33 / £25 / €33 – GET PLAN
- Annual: US$165 / £130 / €155 – GET PLAN
If you're away from home and the coverage is geo-blocked, then you could always use a VPN to access your subscriptions and services from all over the world. You may even be surprised how simple it is to do.
Use a VPN to get an NRL live stream from anywhere
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You can try it for free now with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Better yet, if you decide to subscribe to ExpressVPN and opt for their annual plan, you'll get 49% off the usual price as well as 3-months extra FREE – pretty amazing value really.
How to watch NRL: live stream the 2021 season in New Zealand
You can follow the Warriors and all the action on Sky Sports in New Zealand, which means customers can stream the NRL on a wide range of devices via the Sky Go app.
Alternatively, watch the NRL on-the-go without Sky Sports with a Sky Sports Now pass (formerly Fan Pass). This standalone streaming service gets you access to Sky Sports channels 1-4 and can be had for NZ$59 a month – or NZ$39 a month if you sign up for six months.
- Related: how to watch a Six Nations live stream
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Jasmine Gearie is an ecommerce editor at TechRadar Australia, with a primary focus on helping readers cut through the jargon to find the best mobile and internet plans for their needs. She crunches the numbers to maintain dedicated guides to the latest phones, NBN and broadband plans of all types, and covers the important telco industry news. She also hunts down tech deals on laptops, phones, gaming consoles and more, so readers know where to buy the products they want for the cheapest prices.