Tighten your seat belts for one hell of a ride this NRL season
THE odd off-field drama aside, has there been a more productive build-up to an NRL season than during the past few months?
And on a fair-dinkum basis, the theatre engulfing the players away from the game simply adds to the intrigue and whets our already voracious appetite for kick-off day.
Season 2013 has the ingredients to be the best in years.
During the off-season, a new CEO was appointed, a $1 billion-plus TV deal was struck by the NRL, a sponsorship and digital rights partnership worth more than $100 million over five years was signed with Telstra and a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached between the players and the NRL.
That financial security shapes a near-perfect future for the game and its shareholders - the clubs, the players, the sponsors and the fans.
But let's face it - we, the rank and file are only vaguely concerned about those small details.
What we want is brilliant on-field action, a competition where we scratch our heads each weekend before filing our tips, and an end-of-season points table that is top heavy.
And we pray that our stars keep shining.
Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, Billy Slater, Paul Gallen, Greg Inglis, Sam Burgess, Jarryd Hayne, Brett Morris, Sam Thaiday and Benji Marshall are among a throng of household names who are bound to excite us every week in 2013.
They will do it under a new referee regime and bound by some tweaked rules, all of which will hopefully make the game even more appealing to the millions who watch it from March to October.
Let's tighten our seatbelts, and enjoy the ride. It will be a beauty.
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