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League returns to TV - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Mon, 14 Jan 2008 04:53:00 GMT
Sky Sports has extended its coverage of National League clubs and this season will broadcast games from the knock-out stages of the Northern Rail Cup as well as 23 live matches from the Co-operative National Leagues.

Of the 23 live Co-operative National League matches being shown, 18 are regular season fixtures while three will be play-off showdowns.

Their coverage will culminate in a Grand Final double header to be played on Sunday 28 September.

The first game to be broadcast live will involve newly relegated Salford City Reds away at Leigh Centurions in Round 1 of the Co-operative National League One. Kick off is 6.00pm.

Additionally, having only shown the Northern Rail Cup Final live from Blackpool in recent years, Sky Sports will this year also screen one fixture from each knockout round of the competition.

This will include a game from the last 16 on 6 April, a quarter final on 22 May, a semi final on 12 June and the final, live from the west coast, on Sunday 6 July.

Nigel Wood, the RFL's Chief Executive, said:

"It is fantastic for the development of Rugby League that Sky Sports has decided to extend its coverage of the Co-operative National League clubs by this year broadcasting games from the knockout stages of the Northern Rail Cup.

"Last year was the first time that Sky had screened Co-operative National League games live on a Thursday night and it proved extremely successful.

Many teams used innovative marketing methods to attract their biggest crowds of the season for the TV cameras and hopefully this will continue in 2008 when a total of 27 games will be shown."

Towards the end of 2007, the RFL secured a TV partnership with Sky Sports that ensures that Co-operative National League games will continue to be showed during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.

At present Sky has only confirmed Co-operative National League fixtures up until Round 14 of the competition. The remaining live fixtures will be confirmed later in the season and are likely to feature some of the key battles as the season reaches a climax.

The confirmed fixtures are as follows:

Kick off time 7:30pm unless otherwise stated
* Thursday March 20 Leigh v Salford 18:00
* Easter Tuesday March 25 Barrow v York Kick Off T.B.C
* Thursday March 27 Featherstone v Sheffield
* Thursday April 10 Dewsbury v Batley
* Thursday April 24 Salford v Whitehaven
* Friday May 2 Celtic v Featherstone
* Thursday May 15 Salford v Celtic
* Thursday May 29 Whitehaven v Salford
* Thursday June 5 Batley v Dewsbury
* Thursday June 19 Widnes v Salford
* Thursday June 26 Celtic v Widnes
* Thursday July 10 Halifax v Leigh
* Thursday July 17 Oldham v Doncaster
* Thursday July 24 Sheffield v Featherstone

[Editors note: If the RFL can do this with the National League One, the Northern Rail cup and the Co-Operative Leagues, you would hope that something similar will occur with the NSWRL Premier League very shortly.] - Read More, Here