St George Illawarra Dragons captain Gareth Widdop was on hand to help North Queensland Cowboys superstar Johnathan Thurston launch the 2016 NRL Season – and a bold new marketing campaign.
Thurston joined star representatives of the other 15 NRL Clubs, along with Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman John Grant, for the launch at Tarpeian Lawn, at the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney.
The 2016 Telstra Premiership kicks off in one week – when Parramatta Eels host Brisbane Broncos on Thursday, March 3.
Thurston, who co-captained the North Queensland Cowboys to victory in the 2015 Grand Final, told the gathering he was humbled to launch the 2016 season.
“To have the honour of co-captaining my team in a Grand Final, and to win on the night, is something I will never forget,” Thurston said.
“It’s why every player goes through what they do – both in the pre-season and in-season. It’s why we make the sacrifices we make.
“But I also know that there are 15 players beside me who are feeling exactly the same emotions on the eve of the season, desperate to write their own piece of history on the same stage.”
Mr Grant said Members and supporters would see more Rugby League than ever before in 2016.
“Under our new broadcast agreement, there will be football from Thursday through to Monday for much of the season, with every game televised live,” Mr Grant said.
“Rugby League will reach more homes and more fans than ever before.
“And we hope that as more families see the best our game has to offer that they will want to be there when history happens.”
“Be There When History Happens” is the catchcry for the NRL’s new marketing campaign, created by Archibald/Williams, which will be officially released tomorrow.
Each TVC reaches its climax with a magical moment from last season, with a promise that more history will be made in 2016.
Each NRL Club was asked to nominate its own #historyhappens moment in 2015 for use in the fully integrated national campaign, which will cover TV, Print, Digital, Radio, Social Media and Outdoor.
“This campaign captures the moments that keeps fans on the edge of their seat while showcasing the raw emotion of those that experienced it live,” Head of Commercial Andrew Abdo said.
“We wanted to remind fans of the unpredictable regularity of these moments, but mostly how it feels when you’re there and part of history happening.”
Cameron Smith, Greg Inglis and Paul Gallen were just some of the Captains who joined Thurston for the launch, overlooking Sydney Harbour.