NRL chief confirms plans for end-of-season international window

Papua New Guinea NRL

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo believes it “makes sense” to have a dedicated international window in the rugby league calendar.

The international game returned Down Under last weekend for the first time since the pandemic. Mount Smart Stadium hosted its first game since 2019 in New Zealand as the national side defeated Tonga 26-6 in front of a sell-out crowd.

Samoa defeated Cook Islands 42-12, while Papua New Guinea won 24-12 against Fiji in a Pacific test double-header at Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney.

However, the NRL is set to scrap mid-season international tests. State of Origin is set to return to three Wednesday night matches next season due to the new broadcast deal. It means the schedule will have no break for the international fixtures to take place during the season.

But Abdo has openly discussed his desire to add an international window in the rugby league calendar, looking at the end of seasons.

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Abdo: It makes sense to have a dedicated international window

“We are working through the season structure for next year,” Abdo told NRL.com.

“It is a new cycle and there are some changes that are linked to the new broadcast arrangements with our partners, but I will say this – the (ARL) Commission are 100% committed to international football.

“We are all incredibly excited about the re-birth of international football coming out of what we have been restricted to the last couple of years. This weekend was a great example of how important it is to the players and to the fans, and to all of us.

“It is the X-factor we have with rugby league”

“The opportunity that we have to really grow the international game, particularly here in Australia and New Zealand, and of course throughout the Pacific, so international footy will be a real priority going forwards.”

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About Josh McAllister 1674 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.

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