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    NRL season kick-off fast approaching

    Published on 18 January 2019, Friday, 6:21 AM

    Tradies take note - round one of the National Rugby League (NRL) is just one day away and 2012 is set to be the biggest season yet.

    As always footy fans have waited impatiently over summer for the action to return. Now that kick-off is within sight one can only imagine thousands of tradies around the country are preparing to down tools on time tomorrow evening (March 1) and head to the pub to enjoy the first game.

    The season will begin with the Newcastle Knights hosting the St George-Illawarra Dragons at Hunter Stadium in what promises to be a feisty encounter. The Knights poached the Dragons' premiership-winning coach Wayne Bennett and star player Darius Boyd in the off-season, so the red-and-whites are sure to turn up with a point to prove.

    Over the last few years the Newcastle side has hovered around eighth position - occasionally sneaking into the finals but more often than not just missing out. This year they will be expected to fight for the title with billionaire owner Nathan Tinkler and the game's best mentor Bennett on board.

    On Friday night (March 2) the Eels take on the Brisbane Broncos at Parramatta Stadium - a match expected to be dominated by the away team despite the fact they enter their first season without superstar captain Darren Lockyer since his retirement at the end of last year.

    Three matches will be played on Saturday: the Canberra Raiders versus the Melbourne Storm; the Penrith Panthers against the Canterbury Bulldogs; and the North Queensland Cowboys taking on state rivals the Gold Coast Titans.

    The battle between the Panthers and the Bulldogs shapes up as the one to watch, with both sides having replaced under-pressure coaches with big-name purchases Ivan Cleary and Des Hasler respectively.

    Hasler's controversial defection from the 2011 premiers Manly was the talk of the off-season - and he will start the year under heavy pressure to get results. At their home ground the Panthers are perhaps the slight favourites in a tough game to predict.

    The grand-final replay between the Sea Eagles and the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday is set to be the match of the round, with onlookers keen to see how the premiers respond to their highly publicised off-field issues.

    In the other Sunday game, premiership favourites the Wests Tigers go up against the battling Cronulla Sharks - the new home of enigmatic playmaker Todd Carney.

    Rounding out the weekend will be the South Sydney Rabbitohs taking on the Sydney Roosters in a local derby at ANZ Stadium.

    Clear your weekend schedules tradies - the rugby league is back!

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    Nathan Mills
    Nathan is a seasoned Kennards Hire team member passionate about empowering DIYers in their projects. He loves everything DIY and brings together years of equipment and project experience to help customers get the right tools for their next job.