As the 2023 season is just days away, we look at the must-see games of this season.
Round 1: Dolphins v Sydney Roosters
Making their NRL debut, the Dolphins will face off against competition heavyweights the Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium.
The Roosters, who are starting to come back from a disastrous run with injury, will look to put the competition newcomers in their place as they hope to retain a Top 8 spot in 2023, whilst the Dolphins will give it their all as they cement themselves in the NRL history books.
Match: Sunday 5th March, 3:05 pm AEST
Round 2: Broncos v Cowboys
Every season the Queensland Derby produces some stellar football, and in 2023 we don't have to wait long, as Brisbane takes on North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium in Round 2.
Formally the XXXX derby, this match-up was once a showpiece of the NRL Calendar. Both teams are on the improve and the passion and hatred between the two clubs creates a must-see game.
Match: Friday 10th March, 7:05 pm AEST
Round 2: Tigers v Knights
With both sides having awful years in 2022, they are both seeking a redeeming season this year.
All eyes will likely be on the halves, with Ponga and Brooks both under close watch by fans and critics alike.
With the Hastings and Klemmer swap in late 2022, these sides have history and insight into one another. This game is sure to be a great Sunday afternoon game of footy at Leichhardt Oval.
Match: Sunday 12th March, 3:05 pm AEST
Round 3: Roosters v Souths
A rivalry as old as time, every time these two sides face off it is electrifying.
The Sydney battle will take place at Allianz stadium and the hatred of the other team brews so strongly in both sides that the match often produces some of the toughest defence and biggest hits we see outside of representative footy.
Match: Friday 17th March, 7:05 pm AEST
Round 4: Panthers v Eels
Following an epic Grand Final clash in 2022 that saw the Panthers win back-to-back premierships, it will be up to the Eels to give it their all in this Grand Final rematch.
As two of the competition heavyweights it will be a massive match, and all eyes will be on the superstar halves pairings on both sides, all of whom are contenders for NSW Blues selection in May.
Match: Thursday 23rd March, 6:50 pm AEST
Round 4: Dolphins v Broncos
It doesn't get more local than this. Brisbane will take on the Redcliffe-based Dolphins at Suncorp Stadium for the first time in NRL history.
Wayne Bennett's Dolphins will look to put up a big fight against Kevin Walters' young Broncos, and with many past Broncos in their side, this match will surely have some major passion involved from both teams.
Match: Friday 24th March, 7:05 pm AEST
Round 6: Dolphins v Cowboys
Following a 22-all draw in Week 1 of the 2023 Pre-Season Challenge, all eyes will be on the Dolphins as they look to rattle the Cowboys once again.
The newcomer Dolphins will look to use their experience against the Cowboys as leverage going into this game, however, if there is one thing we know about the Cowboys, it's to never rule them out until the very last moment.
Match: Friday 7th April, 8:00 pm AEST
Round 8: Roosters v Dragons
The ANZAC Day game is always an important one on the calendar, and 2023 is no exception.
The pair have met on April 25 every year since 2002, bar the COVID-affected 2020 season. The tense rivalry was most recently won by the Dragons, 14-12.
Match: Tuesday 25th April, 4:00 pm AEST
Round 13: Eels v Cowboys
Following a tight Grand Final Qualifier in the 2022 Preliminary Finals, the Cowboys will look to get revenge on the Eels in 2023 as they set their sights on Premiership glory in 2023.
The battle of the west is always a spectacular sight and is another of the all-time NRL Rivalries.
Match: Friday 26th May, 8:00 pm AEST
Round 21: Panthers v Bulldogs
Cameron Ciraldo and Viliame Kikau make their official return to the foot of the mountains in Round 21.
By this point in the season, we will have a clear idea of what the Bulldogs are capable of, and Ciraldo will look to take advantage of their knowledge of the Panthers and use this to undo what has been such a strong side for the past few years.
Match: Sunday 23rd July, 2:00 pm AEST
Round 27: Panthers v Cowboys
In the final week of regular season competition, two of the highest-backed clubs will face off before both are expected to return to Finals week in 2023.
Both teams have strong forward packs, explosive back lines and meticulous halves that will cause headaches for the rest of the competition, and with their first match being during Origin time, it will be interesting to see how these sides at full strength are looking heading into finals week.
Match: Saturday 2nd September, 5:30 pm
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