Sports Week: Nine’s NRL, NAB’s AFLW, Crocmedia

• Nine’s 2019 NRL event showcased the action, innovation and content that will make this year’s NRL season the biggest yet

Nine launches its NRL season

At a season launch last week, Nine’s 2019 NRL event showcased the action, innovation and content that will make this year’s NRL season the biggest yet, according to the network.

Wide World of Sports presenter Erin Molan hosted a lunch with over a hundred clients, partners and guests. Tom Malone, Nine’s director of sport, spoke about how the new NRL on Nine will take viewers closer to the action than ever before in 2019, with more live NRL programming across Nine and 9Now and expert analysis and opinions from the top commentary lineup in Australian sport.

Nine’s Tom Malone and Matt Granger

Wide World of Sports presenter James Bracey hosted a Q&A with new Wide World of Sports commentators – former superstar players Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston, Sam Thaiday and commentator Paul Gallen.

NAB extends its commitment to women’s football

On International Women’s Day, NAB announced it had extended its support of the NAB AFL Women’s competition until 2022.

NAB has partnered with the AFL for the past 18 years, including being the naming rights partner of the NAB AFL Women’s competition since the inaugural season in 2017.

NAB supports of all levels of the game from NAB AFL Auskick, to the NAB AFL Rising Star Program. There was a record level of participation in 2018 with more than 1.64 million people, including over 200,000 Auskickers, playing at their local footy ovals in communities across Australia.

AFL general manager commercial Kylie Rogers said the league was delighted to have NAB continue their support of AFLW.

“We enjoy a genuine partnership with NAB, who have supported the AFL in bringing the NAB AFL Women’s competition to life since its inaugural season in 2017, and we’re so pleased they will continue with us for another three years” Rogers said.

Crocmedia launches NRL Nation for 2019

Members of the 2019 NRL Nation commentary team at the 2019 Crocmedia Sydney launch [L-R]: Joel Caine, Emma Lawrence, Jimmy Smith, Greg Alexander, Steve Roach, Laurie Daley, Renee Gartner, Brett Kimmorley

Crocmedia’s NRL Nation is back and stronger than ever for a second year, boasting an expanded commentary team including some of NRL’s biggest names.

In a major signing, NRL Nation has secured the services of Greg “Brandy” Alexander for 2019, who is revered as the best analyst in the game. The former Penrith Panthers star brings with him an astute footballing knowledge and professionalism garnered from an extensive playing and broadcasting career.

Spearheading the NRL Nation team again in 2019 is one of the game’s best callers, Brenton Speed. He’ll join experts such as former origin coach Laurie Daley, former Queensland star Gary Belcher and one time Penrith premiership hero Scott Sattler at the microphone.

Sattler said he was thrilled about returning to the NRL Nation commentary team in 2019.

“We were blown away by the positive feedback we got from listeners last season. It is great that we can reach so many rugby league fans through NRL Nation, especially in regional areas. I can’t wait for Round 1 to kick off so we can do it all again,” Sattler said.

Also returning to NRL Nation in 2019 is iconic rugby league figure, Steve Roach and former Clive Churchill Medalist, Brett Kimmorley who are among the Red Energy experts for 2019.

Rounding out this season’s NRL Nation team is a host of expert commentators and decorated ex-players including Scott Prince, Terry Campese, Renee Gartner, Brent Tate, Jimmy Smith, Emma Lawrence, Peter Psaltis, Joel Caine and Shaun Timmins.

Executive producer, NRL Nation, Jeremy Markham, said the broadcast team would deliver unparralled coverage of rugby league across Australia.

“It is a first class commentary team, loaded with the best play-by-play callers and experts in the business. Covering four games every round and 108 games across the home and away season as well as 3 State of Origin matches and all of the NRL Finals action means NRL Nation is at the forefront of NRL radio coverage,” Markham said.

In 2019, NRL Nation will be available on 160 radio frequencies across the NRL heartland, streamed through as well as via the website and the Official NRL App.

Benji Marshall joins Fox League

Foxtel, has announced that Wests Tigers premiership winner Benji Marshall will join the network in 2019.

Marshall will join Foxtel’s only dedicated Rugby League channel, Fox League, to be part of the week’s line-up of entertainment and live NRL broadcasts.

Marshall will join Ben Ikin and Paul Kent on NRL 360 every Tuesday night throughout 2019 for Players Night. Marshall will be seen during the year on Fox League’s pre and post-game coverage.

Marshall said he can’t wait to join Fox League: “I’m really excited to be joining the Fox League team in 2019 and can’t wait to saddle up beside some of the best commentators and analysts in the business.

“NRL 360 hosts Ben Ikin and Paul Kent have been known to grill players on Players Nights about anything and everything so I’m going to be on my toes that’s for sure.”

Fox League head of television Steve Crawley said: “When we saw that Benji had named his baby son Fox we guessed he was thinking about coming back.

“At Fox League we love Benji. He’s a natural talent and always has something interesting to add, whether it’s on the field or in the studio.

“Unlike most current players he doesn’t mind putting on record what he really thinks and that makes for great TV.”

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