NRL announce new 'Magic Round' dates after Reds-Tahs clash revealed

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The NRL have announced a new set of dates for their 'Magic Round' after initially planning to host the fixtures on the same Saturday the Reds host the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium.

The NRL announced the "landmark" new concept at Suncorp on Sunday - each of the 16 NRL clubs slated to play at the famous Brisbane ground between May 17-19 next year.

But the concept hit a roadblock before it even began in an embarrassing gaffe for the NRL, with the Reds’ clash with the Waratahs already locked in at Suncorp on Saturday, May 18.

While venues for Super Rugby fixtures are yet to be announced by SANZAAR, Suncorp have already announced the fixture via its social media channels and the Reds have done the same.

The resulting statement from the NRL on Sunday afternoon clarified the confusion, the rugby league festival now set for May 10-12.

“There has been some miscommunication over the availability of dates. NRL Brisbane Magic Round will occur in Round Nine of next year’s NRL Premiership from May 10-12," a spokesman said. understands the Queensland Government only provided a commitment to the NRL for the month of May - not an exact date - leaving league’s governing body to book the stadium on one of the available weekends.

But it appears the NRL failed to check the Super Rugby fixture announced earlier this week and the government subsequently asked for a please explain.

Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones was part of the announcement at Suncorp on Sunday and said the rugby league festival would rake in an estimated $60 million in tourism revenue, while NRL CEO Todd Greenberg confirmed commercial agreements were already in place with the clubs moving their home games north.

"There are commercial agreements we’ve had to do for eight clubs to move their home games. Those agreements are now done," Greenberg said.

"Clearly it’s a business case we have worked with our partners. We are here for a reason that Queensland fans will, we think, support this event like no other."

Greenberg would have been forced strike a cross-code commercial agreement as well, with the QRU unlikely to budge on the timing of their highest profile fixture of the season.

The new dates avoid any clash with the Reds.