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Centrebet Stadium Done Deal; Sports Nuts And Punters Rejoice; Attack Gaming Haters...

Centrebet has buried and put the hurt on critics of its media and public heat seeker naming-rights stadium deal with Penrith Panthers, stating on the record that the the anti-gambling lobby were "like cracked records" in opposing it's newest deal. Off the the record it called them a host of unspeakables! The clubs' name change to Centrebet Stadium Penrith was announced by the Panthers just yesterday after the sponsorship rumours were first announced by Fairfax Media, creating a title wave of coverage across the globe. It's a 5-year deal, worth more than $1.5 million bucks, making the western Sydney sports ground the first down under to adopt the name of a bookie. Anti-gambling campaigner Senator Nick Xenophon last week was pissed at the NRL for permitting the Panthers to make the name change, criticism that bit 'Mr X' (satire nick name from MM) back from Centrebet when confirmation came yesterday. Get ready for this punters. You might like the 2 cents directed at the gaming and casino haters... the thought police. "The 'anti brigade' are becoming like cracked records," Centrebet boss Neil Evans said. "Why don't they survey the blokes walking into the ground, down at the shopping mall, on the building sites, and in the pubs and see what they think? My attitude is...reality is reality. And business is business. I congratulate the Panthers board and the Penrith City Council on their forthrightness and strong-minded stance. Most clubs, especially those hardly flushed with cash, would dream about a 5-year ground deal worth around $1.5 million, and that's before we start talking about the spin-off effects for the community and all the hard-working people in and around the club." Media Man did a spot survey around the eastern suburbs of Sydney and a spokesperson said "About 90% of people in the community are fine with gambling, gaming and sports betting. They know a small percentage can get into trouble, but for many Aussies is a strong tradition and a way of live. You know, the Melbourne Cup, Two-Up, having a game of poker with your mates, or throwing a couple of bucks down the throat of a pokie just to try your luck. Most level headed people, the non extremists, see the merit in the Centrebet deal, and we understand that now the likes of PartyGaming, Betfair and others will be exploring possibilities for their firms, which might just help save the NRL for massive financial stress. It looks like a win - win win". The Federal Minister for Sport, Mark Arbib, is working diligently with reps of Australia's 7 major sporting codes on ways to wipe out match-fixing but said the Panthers' stadium deal was not a concern. A report compiled by a working party commissioned by the the Coalition of Major Professional Sports is set to be out by next month. "Sponsorship of sporting codes and stadiums is a matter for the individual stadium owners and sporting organisations. The NRL have advised the government that the sponsorship agreement between the Panthers and Centrebet meets its own gambling and sponsorship guidelines. The select council on gambling reform led by Minister (Jenny) Macklin has put the regulation of online gambling in their forward work agenda. And as sports minister I'm working with the sporting codes, including the NRL, on the issue of match-fixing and integrity in sport." Centrebet currently has sponsorships with 4 other clubs in the National Rugby League, which forces all betting agencies associated with the game to sign integrity agreements. The stadium sponsorship was called as a great boon for Penrith by the football club's chief executive, Michael Leary. "Centrebet has been a responsible corporate partner of the Panthers since coming on board with the club in 2010. Our stadium has become a centre of excellence by not only hosting high-level rugby league in the national competition but through its ability to be community-centric in accommodating several community organisations. Centbet, The Footy Show sponsored corner on Network Nine's 'The Footy show', now Centrebet Stadium, next The World. Spies continue to tell us that PartyGaming, Betfair and others are circling the wagons and won't be taking it lying down. Punters, get ready for another round of Australian gambling wars. This week: Gambling lovers and punters 1 - haters - Nil!

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Australia To Get Sports Stadiums Branded By Gambling and Gaming Companies, by Greg Tingle - 15th January 2011

G'day punters, journos, high rollers, sports news, entertainment news junkies, politicians, insiders, outsiders... one and all. Today we probe the situation where a number of Australian sports grounds could soon be named after gaming and gambling companies. How do like the sound of Betfair Stadium, Centrebet Park and PartyGaming Cricket Ground? Don't laugh, this type of scenario is on the cards, with local gaming brands likely the first to pounce, followed by international powerhouses. Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com and Gambling911 with another ground breaking news report from the land of world class casino, media companies and sports arenas...

Australia Will Get Gambling Arenas; Aussie Aussie Aussie; Oi Oi Oi...

With Australia being in the world's top 10 gambling nations, it shouldn't shock or surprise that we're tipped to soon have a number of sporting arenas and grounds named after gambling and gaming companies, both national and international brands. Yep, money will talk where B.S sometimes walks.

James Packer's Betfair is understood to build upon their Betfair Park branding, Europe's PartyGaming is keen, and currently Centrebet looks to be leading the charge, with many insiders saying its a case of when, not if, for the household name brand.

Centrebet already has significant branding, thanks in part to a swag of TV and online adverts, plus who can forget the Centrebet branded part of Network Nine's 'The Footy Show'.

The gambling companies already have a number of key targets, and many cash strapped and / or cash handy NRL team and home grounds are near the top of the hit list.

For instance NRL team, The Penrith Panthers, are seriously considering having their home stadium named Centrebet Stadium. We kid you not punters.

If the deal goes through, they will make history becoming the first major Australian sporting team to snatch a betting firm as the naming-rights partner for a playing venue.

Horse Racing already has some naming rights deals with tracks and in the mix such as Betfair Park and then you have races named after gambling brands such as the Lasseters Cup, Lasseters known for its hotel - casino up in Australia's top end.

The forecast Betfair deal comes as a police continue to probe the NRL gambling scandal that from last season following a number of "irregular" wagers was picked up in the Canterbury Bulldogs VS North Queensland Cowboys match up.

The Panthers, Centrebet and a swag of gambling companies, have rather pissed off the gambling and gaming haters, who continues to get organised into lobby groups.

A Media Man spokesperson such "Many people in and out of news media and gaming, the general public, are starting to get really pissed off at the gaming, gambling and sports betting haters. The bible bashers. Who do they think they are trying to push their beliefs onto others. Many Australians just love a punt, and that's the way it is. Some of the gaming haters have strong ties to church groups and there appears to be some sort of brainwashing system going on. They keep discussing the 'evils of gambling'. I mean, seriously, come on. People know not to over-do it on on the slots, sports events, poker and the like, but the haters keep trying to be the thought police. Gambling companies in Australia have a very high focus on responsible gambling with warnings everywhere. It's great to see the gambling and gaming industry place so much focus on safe better. The sports stadiums will be great for business, , but no one is forcing anyone to have a bet. It's a personal decision, as it always has been. 2011 is going to be a very exciting year for punters, especially those who like to have a bet of sports matches, and television and online website portals and brands will bring it all together nicely".

Back to the first prime target #1...The modest 22,500-capacity sports ground, owned by Penrith City Council, was in a past life known as CUA Stadium. What's up is that the club's contract with the Brisbane financial services company has expired, and negotiations between Panthers, the footy club and Centrebet have been taking place, even prior to Christmas about renaming the stadium. Other clubs and stadiums have also caught the buzz and are opening chequebooks and crunching the numbers.

The first of its kind business agreement between the club and Centrebet is just about a done deal, and ink is expecting to try on contracts sooner rather than later, possibly within a fortnight. An exciting, if not controversial type of announcement is fully expected by the Panthers in the coming week. Sports and gambling commentators are quick to point out that Penrith already has ties to Centrebet, the gambling brand being lit up across the top of the video screen at the stadium. This kind of exposure has also been very good for their mobile - hand held device sector.

Anti-gambling campaigner Senator Nick Xenophon is especially unhappy with the development of the gambling branded sports stadiums in Australia. He went on recent with:

"How can a footy code currently embroiled in a betting scandal possibly allow a stadium to be named after a betting agency? There was a time when rugby league was all about the game. Now it's all about the odds, and that is ruining the game".

Over the last couple of years the NRL (and AFL) has watered down its laws and regulations relating to clubs' deals and partnerships with gambling - sports betting firms, allowing them to be branded on footy jerseys for a virgin time. Cronulla Sharks have sponsor PokerStars (.net) on their jersey sleeves while cashed up Manly Sea Eagles are tipped to have Centrebet's signage on the back of their jerseys this season after a widely reported $1 million plus deal with the Northern Territory based betting outfit announced just before Christmas. Yep, it looks like a few clubs and stadiums will be getting their Christmas presents and will have lots to celebrate, while the gambling haters will be spewing in Grinch like fashion.

The National Rugby League of course also has corporate ties with TAB Sportsbet, and is understood to snatch a 5% "product fee" via the company's rugby league betting profit.

NRL spokesman John Brady advised he would not comment on individual clubs' sponsorship agreements but maintained there was no concern about the prospect of gambling agencies assuming naming rights for the game's venues, at least from his take on the situation.

"It's an area that was relaxed last year. As such there are a number of betting sponsorships that are available to clubs in terms of jerseys and other opportunities," Brady said.

He advised any and all betting firms involved with the NRL via sponsorship of clubs were made to sign "integrity agreements" to ensure transparency.

The majority of NRL clubs now have corporate deals with betting agencies. Centrebet sponsors five teams: Penrith, Manly, Parramatta, St George Illawarra and North Queensland. "Comon' Betfair and PartyGaming, pull you're finger out", a Media Man sports journalist was overheard shouting when he found out the news of Centrebet's ongoing infiltration of the sport.

Penrith's stadium pending name change has been intertwined we understand by some to the financial problems that have hit the football club's parent body, Panthers Group.

The licensed club is no longer quite the licence to print money as it was in the 90s Some audited figures about to do public by the conclusion of the month are expected to show black and white confirmation of a Murdoch - News Limited news story of last February that said Panthers were due to report a rather embarrassing net loss of $11 million bucks.

Panthers are not afraid to speak on the record about their on and off field performance, which has seen better days.

Ric Simpson, Panthers Group chief exec since last July, said a culture change and "renewal of process" across Panthers clubs had improved their situation. Analysts question that was a PR line or absolute truth. Mind you, we don't blame club for trying to focus on positives. "We're probably looking at reducing that loss by somewhere in the order of $8-$9 million," Simpson said.

A Media Man spokesperson said "At this stage of the gaming the overseas trend of seeing sports groups and football teams pick up sponsorship and strong branding for gambling, gaming... sports betting companies looks to be moving full speed ahead down under in Australia. Centrebet might become the Bwin of Australia. PartyGaming is said to be currently crunching numbers to see if an Australian sports ground deal is viable. They already have a Aussie Millions former champion sponsored by their poker brand and a couple of Aussie poker players signed up, so anything is possible. James Packer's Betfair, a direct competitor of Centrebet is not likely to take the situation lying down either. Betfair is 50% Packer owned and wants to keep building their sports betting brand, as well as opening up many online casino games in Australia, poker and more. Could an Australian sports stadium ever be known as PartyGaming stadium or WPT Stadium? Not overnight, but never say never, stranger things have happened. It's all going to add a lot of money into the game and business of sport and entertainment, and already our firm is starting to experience some positive spin off benefits. It's all very exciting and profitable".

News

NRL Scandals In Australia Continue, by Greg Tingle - 10th May 2010

 

Sports fans and punters, think the Australian NRL sports scandal is old news? Think again.

Media Man and Gambling911 have learned that a new wave of untoward matters are happening to the great game of Rugby League and other sports, and some of the rorts are even tied to charities. It's much bigger than "just" sports betting. There's even a Gold Coast - Surfers Paradise real life 'Underbelly' link. No wonder the formally named Conrad Jupiters Casino at Surfers' got ride of the "Conrad" tag.

Sports bets placed on the Melbourne Storm NRL for the "wooden spoon" may have been the recent trigger to recent Aussie sporting scandals, but we can now reveal that a number of Australian charities are being dragged into the investigation. It's long being known that charity and philanthropic sector ventures can be used and abused as a way to clean wash aka launder and shuffle around money. We've all heard the story of "two sets of books", and some punters will be acutely aware of ways in which extras can be given to players while in some cases, (technically), staying below the salary cap.

Two years ago a number of Australian charities were investigated for rorts, scams and the like. The former 'Just Enough Faith' came off worse for wear, with proof that head of the charity was using substantial money raised to pour down the throats of poker machines aka "one armed bandits" at a number of NRL Clubs including Balmain Tigers, where much of the like was established. Former supporters of 'Just Enough Faith' included Australian casino king, James Packer, head of Crown Limited, and famous Australian actor Russell Crowe, ironically now staring in Ned Kelly ... you know, stealing from the rich to give to the poor, so the story goes.

By the way punters, Gold Coast Titans are currently in the mix of new hot favorites for the "wooden spoon"! But, we're not sure what may happen to those chances in the coming days, such is the intensive scrutiny of the game, and named club.

Charity And NRL Clubs...Storm Linked Charity, Who Is Next?

An insolvency company has an investigation on the way re payments made to various AFL players by a charity linked to the Storm NRL salary cap mess.

Investigators for the league are probing the now-defunct Unity Foundation to work out if the charity was used to steer money to Storm players outside the salary cap.

Insolvency firm Vince & Associates confirmed that it has also quizzed AFL players about payments they got from Unity Foundation, a charity established for Indigenous teenagers.

The players include many Essendon players and at least one St Kilda head, Network Nine Network reported on Thursday.

"We're investigating the liquidation of Unity Foundation. Our investigations have identified some payments to players of Essendon and St Kilda and Melbourne Storm," Vince & Associates director Kylie Wright said.

"We're investigating all of the payments.

"We're contacting all of the relevant parties and giving them an opportunity to provide an explanation in relation to those payments."

Channel Nine reported the AFL and St Kilda politely declined to comment on the investigations involving the named charity.

Essendon top brass Ian Robson advised the payments to players appeared legit, although the Bombers were looking into the matter.

"From what I am led to believe from an initial two-hour glance the relationships are at arm's length of the Essendon Football Club and appear to be bona fide, but we need to do some more investigation," Robson said.

The NRL last month stripped the Storm of their 2007 and 2009 premierships and fined the club $1.6 million for long-term breaches of the salary cap.


Wooden Spoon Market Re Opens Despite Ongoing Scandals And Rumours

Centrebet, currently being seen as a strong purchase from a number of European - British gaming and betting giants, will re-open "wooden spoon" betting on the NRL next week.

The agencies revised market points deducted for salary cap breaches would not be considered, a decision that means the likes of underdog team Cronulla would again be the hot favourites to prop up an adjusted NRL ladder.

"We are just waiting on approval for some changes to the rules which will facilitate betting on the wooden spoon again," Centrebet managing director Con Kafataris said. "We want to be covered if teams lose points again. For our our purposes any points deducted for things like salary cap beaches would not effect betting on the wooden spoon.

The team finishing with the least amount of points in terms of wins and draws would declared the wooden spooners when we paid out."

Rumours have circulated this week among the betting agencies that another NRL team, Gold Coast Titans, could be stripped of points for a salary cap breach.

The NRL insists there has been no developments in regard to the Titans, who were cleared last month by the governing body's auditor Ian Schubert of an alleged cap rort relating to claims from the developer Alex Simpson that he had been commissioned to build captain Scott Prince a new $400,000 house free of charge!

The legal matter between Simpson and the Titans is likely to reach a conclusion soon with Justice James Douglas from Brisbane Supreme Court, tipped to make a ruling by next week.

Simpson argues he is owed $4.2 million by the Titans over the club's Centre of Excellence, which he was contracted to build until the project was fenced off in February over his failure to pay subcontractors. The Titans have moved with a counter-claim Simpson owes them more than $1 million.

Queensland's corruption watchdog, the Crime and Misconduct Commission, is meanwhile following up on a complaint about the police investigation by Burleigh Heads police into a break-in at the Merrimac offices of Simpson's company Simcorp in February.

Simpson has reportedly been interviewed by the ABC's Four Corners, whose team are preparing a program examining alleged corruption and rorting of the salary cap in rugby league.

The ABC, Fairfax Media and AAP are keenly chasing a number of leads by insiders in the world of media, agents, gaming and sports betting. Media Man is assisting when and where possible, despite many people being extremely hesitant to speak out. Strong rumors persist of a number of death threats being made to those who look to further expose additional Australian NRL and AFL footy clubs. It's appears only the brave and those of big heart, are likely to continue to blow the lid on the additional club scandals.

A Media Man birdie tells us there's some hidden clues in this latest report as to who and what may be linked in an untoward fashion, but for legal and other reasons we can't spell out too much as far as charity names and individuals at this stage of the game. Fairfax Media, namely The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, are tipped to the be outlets strongly following up, backed by solid legal eagles, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is fully expected to be regular providing TV, radio and website reports and updates.

Based on legal advise, Media Man is not currently releasing the name of a prominent Queensland based charity being probed in relation to the Gold Coast Titans.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

*The writer is a pro active member of Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance and Virgin Unite

 

January 2009

Media Man Australia spearheads media and publicity campaign for Betezy - KnightsBet - SharksBet - BunnyBet - TitansBet

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Betezy

Leading sports news story - Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, News.com.au, The Sun-Herald, The Weekend Australian, iGaming Business, CAP, Gambling 911

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The National Rugby League (often referred to as the Telstra Premiership for sponsorship purposes) is a professional competition for rugby league clubs in Australia and New Zealand, and is Australia's primary rugby league competition. It is the world's most attended rugby league competition and often considered the most competitive.

The National Rugby League was formed in 1998 following the merging of the Australian Rugby League and Super League competitions, and is currently contested by sixteen clubs. In a total of nine seasons, the title has been won by seven teams: Brisbane Broncos, Bulldogs, Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights, Penrith Panthers, Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers. The most successful team are the current champions, the Brisbane Broncos, who have won the title three times and are the only team to have won the title more than once.

History

Origins

For more details on this topic, see History of the National Rugby League.

The 1980s brought about much expansion to the New South Wales Rugby League premiership, with new teams Canberra and Illawarra being introduced into the competition in 1982. Although this move brought out more interest in the competition statewide in New South Wales, it would spell the beginning of the demise of some of the traditional Sydney-based clubs. Following the 1983 season, foundation club Newtown Jets were ultimately forced to withdraw from the competition because of financial difficulties. In 1988, another three teams were introduced in the competition, including the Newcastle Knights and two Queensland teams Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast-Tweed Giants. These new teams proved to be much more successful both financially and in popularity than their traditional counterparts and paved the way towards a push for a more nationalised game. This was further established in 1995, with the Australian Rugby League inviting four more teams from outside NSW to participate.

Establishment
With twenty-two teams playing in two competitions in 1997 crowd attendances and corporate sponsorships were spread very thinly, and many teams found themselves in financial difficulty. On September 23, 1997 the ARL announced that it was forming a new company to control the competition in 1998 and invited Super League clubs to participate. On October 7 Rupert Murdoch announced that he was confident that there would be a single competition in 1998 and in the following months the National Rugby League, jointly owned by the ARL and News Limited, was formed.

It was announced that the 1998 Season would have 20 teams competing, 19 Super League/ARL teams and the Melbourne Storm, who were owned by News Limited. Clubs on both sides of the war were shut down. News decided to close the Hunter Mariners and the financially ruined Western Reds, who were $10million in debt at the end of 1997, while the ARL decided to close down the South Queensland Crushers, who were also in severe financial trouble. At the end of 1998 News Limited decided to close down the Adelaide Rams and the ARL closed down the Gold Coast Chargers, even though they were one of the few clubs to make a profit during the Super League war.

Structure
A Partnership Executive Committee administers the agreement between the Australian Rugby League and News Limited as well as making major financial decisions.[8] Three representatives from each party make up this committee. A National Rugby League Board which is commissioned by the Partnership Committee is comprised of six delegates from each party is responsible for administering the competition. Both bodies nominate a Chairman to lead each board for a term of 12 months, with one Chairman representing the Australian Rugby League and one representing News Limited in any one year. These roles reverse each year.

The National Rugby League markets the premiership on behalf of the clubs as well as organising the draw and finals matches. Along with the Australian Rugby League, representative matches and the World Sevens tournament are also promoted by the National Rugby League as well. When the draw is finalised, teams are responsible for controlling and organsing their assigned home games. Clubs each have their own organisational structure but are also bound to the National Rugby League by a common set of rules in club agreements.


Competition format and sponsorship

Competition
There are currently sixteen clubs in the National Rugby League. Teams are divided into two equal pools of eight at the competition of each season, with each pool of equal strength based on that season's results. During the course of the regular season (which lasts from March to August) each club plays a total of two games against teams in the opposite pool, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents for a total of 16 games for each club. Teams play six of those seven others in their own group just once during the season, and play the remaining club twice. In total, each team plays 24 games in the 25-week regular season and a total of 192 games in a National Rugby League season. Teams receive two points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, then points difference and then points percentage. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is declared minor premiers.


Qualification for finals series

Canberra Raiders and Newcastle Knights playing at Canberra Stadium in 2005.The eight highest placed teams then contest the finals series, which is contested using the McIntyre System. This has been for every National Rugby League season with the exception of 1998. This system consists of a number of knockout and sudden-death games over four weeks between the top eight teams in August and September until there are only two teams remaining. These two teams then play in the Grand Final, on the first Sunday of October. In the first week, the top four seeds play at their respective home grounds. From week two onwards, all finals matches are scheduled to be played in Sydney, either at Aussie Stadium or Telstra Stadium.

In 1998 the Grand Final was held at Sydney Football Stadium. Since 1999 the Grand Final has been contested at Telstra Stadium, the primary athletics venue during the 2000 Olympic Games held in Sydney. In June 2006, the NRL announced that the National Rugby League Grand Final will continue to be held at Sydney's Telstra Stadium until at least 2012, when it will be considered to be moved interstate if certain circumstances arose.

Sponsorship
Since 2001, the National Rugby League has been sponsored by Telstra. In the years beforehand, the premiership was simply known as the "National Rugby League". The list below details who the sponsors have been and what they called the competition

1998–2000: National Rugby League
2001–current: Telstra (NRL Telstra Premiership)

Competition rules and representative season

Salary cap
Main article: Salary cap
The National Rugby League adopted a salary cap based on the Australian Football League model in the early 1990s. In the NRL, clubs found to have breached the salary cap rules usually incur a fine. For example, six clubs were fined for minor infractions in 2003. These infractions are usually technical in nature and can sometimes be affected by third-party factors such as loss of sponsorship revenue affecting an allowance.

However in mid-2002, the Bulldogs were found guilty of serious and systemic breaches. In addition to a more substantial fine, they were stripped of their competition points accumulated to that date, and hence denied a place in the finals. As the club had been leading the competition table prior to the penalty's imposition, this was a shattering outcome for the club and its fans. Furthermore, in the 2006 pre-season the New Zealand Warriors revealed that their former management had rorted the salary cap in the 2004 and 2005 seasons. As a punishment the club was stripped of four competition points for 2006 and fined $430,000 Australian dollars. They also must play 2007 under a reduced salary cap.

Representative season
As well as playing for their club in the National Rugby League season, players are sometimes entitled to play in a number of representative competitions that are conducted at the same time. These competitions include the one-off ANZAC Test and Country Origin VS City Origin matches and the State of Origin series. In order for a player to qualify for a representative team in these competitions, they must firstly be eligible to be chosen for the side. In recent times, these qualification requirements have been relaxed which has seen a number of players representing teams which they would not have always been allowed to play for. This has caused some controversy given that some players have chosen to play for arguably weaker teams (hence making it easier to be selected) despite only having weak ties with that team both geographically and ancestrally, most notably in the case of Australian-born Nathan Fien being selected for New Zealand on the ground that his great-grandmother was born in New Zealand.

Media coverage

A 2004 match between Brisbane Broncos and the Bulldogs The National Rugby League premiership has ultimately been revolutionised by television, with there being a large shift away from daytime games to nightime games over recent years to better suit the contracted television networks Channel 9 and Foxtel. From 2001 onwards, the Grand Final has been held during the evening of a Sunday night.

With the admission of the Gold Coast Titans to the premiership in 2007, the number of weekly games has risen from seven to eight. Free to air broadcaster Channel 9 will broadcast a live game on Friday night in addition to a delayed match that has been featured for some years. A delayed Sunday match will also continue to be shown on the network.

The News Limited-begun Foxtel network which broadcast its first rugby league matches during the 1997 Super League season has broadcast the remaining National Rugby League matches since the competition's inception in 1998.


Players
Each club in the National Rugby League has a "top squad" of twenty-five players, which are signed under the Salary Cap (as described above). By and large, the players who play in National Rugby League matches are sourced from these "top squad"s. Occasionally during a season, however, the need may arise for a club to use players outside these 25, and in this case players are usually sourced from the club's junior ranks (such as the relevant Premier League squad).

Most of the players in the National Rugby League are of Australian origin, although there are increasing numbers of both New Zealand and Pacific Island-born players being selected by clubs. In recent years, Polynesian players have made up 75 per cent of junior representative teams in New South Wales. English-born players in the National Rugby League amount to very few, particularly when compared to the significant number of Australian-born players appearing in the European Super League. However the few English players who appear in the National Rugby League, such as Adrian Morley and Brian Carney, have noted that the National Rugby League provides a higher standard of rugby league than is played in Europe.

The players voted to be the best in each position at the end of the season are honoured at the Dally M Awards, with the player of the year awarded the Dally M Medal. The man of the match in the Grand Final is awarded the Clive Churchill Medal.

Statistics

The Bulldogs hold the record for the most consecutive wins, having won 17 matches in a row between 31 March 2002 and 3 August 2002. The Parramatta Eels set the records for the highest score and margin of victory in a 74–4 victory over the Cronulla Sharks on 23 August 2003. The most victories achieved within a season is 20, held jointly between the Parramatta Eels in 2001, the Bulldogs in 2002 and the Melbourne Storm in 2006. None of these teams went on to win the Grand Final.

Since the first National Rugby League season in 1998, a total of six players have topped the scorers list in a season. However, the only player to have won the title more than once is Hazem El Masri, the overall top scorer in the National Rugby League's history, having claimed the title in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006. His tally of 342 points in 2004 remains the most points scored by an invididual in a season.

Nigel Vagana's 130 tries scored across all nine seasons of the National Rugby League makes him the most prolific try scorer in the competition's history. Nathan Blacklock holds the record for the most tries in a season, with 27 scored in 2001 for his team, the St. George Illawarra Dragons.

Three players hold the record for the most points scored in a game; Hazem El Masri, Andrew Johns and Matt Geyer with 34 apiece. Only three players have scored five tries in a game; Francis Meli, Jamie Lyon and Nigel Vagana. (Credit: Wikipedia)

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