BY KANE AUSTIN
Can you believe it? It’s 2017 already and we’re flying toward another NRL season.
Before we get to the real serious stuff, teams need to blow the cobwebs out in pre-season fixtures across Australia and the United Kingdom.
Here are the ten biggest matches of pre-season:
10: BRISBANE BRONCOS vs. WARRINGTON WOLVES – FEBRUARY 18 – WARRINGTON
The Broncos are headed to England to face Super League heavyweights Warrington.
9: SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS VS MANLY-WARRINGAH – FEBRUARY 11 – CAMPBELLTOWN
Okay let’s just pretend Robbie Farah didn’t rip his bicep at training. This clash in Wests Tigers territory could have been Farah’s first game in Rabbitohs colours.
8: GOLD COAST TITANS VS PARRAMATTA EELS – FEBRUARY 11 – ALICE SPRINGS
Former Eels golden boy Jarryd Hayne up against his old club. Only problem is, the match will be played in the Northern Territory.
7: NORTH QLD COWBOYS VS SYDNEY ROOSTERS – FEBRUARY 11 – MACKAY
The only real hit out for these clubs before the season proper. Expect plenty of big names and high quality footy.
6: MELBOURNE STORM VS NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS – FEBRUARY 11 – SUNSHINE COAST
These two teams love playing each other and there should be heaps of points in this one.
5: CANTERBURY BULLDOGS VS PENRITH PANTHERS – FEBRUARY 11 – BELMORE
A semi-final rematch and what should be two very big, impressive forward packs.
4: MELBOURNE STORM VS CANTERBURY BULLDOGS – FEBRUARY 18 – HOBART
Will this be the return of the legendary Billy Slater? Fans in Tasmania will be hoping so.
3: SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS VS ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS – FEBRUARY 19 – SYDNEY
The annual Charity Shield. Always more than a trial game.
2: NRL ALL STARS VS INDIGENOUS ALL STARS – FEBRUARY 10 – NEWCASTLE
Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis, Jarryd Hayne. Need we say more?
1: CRONULLA SHARKS VS WIGAN WARRIORS – FEBRUARY 19 – WIGAN
The Sharks are NRL Champions for the very first time but can they become World Champions?