Two of the oldest cultures in the world will headline the start of the 2019 NRL season on Friday 15 February, when the Australian Indigenous All-Stars take on the New Zealand Maori Kiwis at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
The men's and women's NRL Harvey Norman All-Stars double-header were announced this morning in front of Indigenous and Maori representatives and players.
NRL Head of Football Brian Canavan said the new concept had been canvassed amongst fans and players alike, with strong support for the matches across both fan bases.
"The All-Stars concept has been popular with crowds across the country and abroad since it first commenced back in 2010," Mr Canavan said.
"In 2019, we're taking the All-Stars to another level – paying homage to Australian and New Zealand First Nations cultures and celebrating the unique bond between both countries."
Australian Rugby League Chair, the Honourable Linda Burney MP said the power and pride across all four teams would be on display come February next year.
"Some of the most exciting, energetic and engaging players emanate from both First Nations cultures," Ms Burney said.
"What better way to celebrate the return of rugby league for another year than to kick off the season with a match that prides itself on being more than just a game; but an opportunity to educate and empower communities long after the full-time whistle."
Tickets are on sale to North Queensland Toyota Cowboys and NRL club members from today, with adult tickets from $20 and family passes from $45.
All other tickets are on sale from Tuesday, with tickets from $25 for an adult and $50 for a family.
Tickets can be purchased online at nrl.com/tickets.
More information on the 2019 NRL Harvey Norman All-Stars, including jersey designs and team updates, will be announced later this year.
A calendar of All-Stars events in the week leading up to the double-header will be released online in early 2019.