A week on from Perth’s blockbuster NRL Double-Header, it’s time to reflect on a great week for rugby league in Western Australia.

The Numbers

Just shy of 40,000 people flocked in to witness history at the inaugural NRL games held at the new Perth Stadium, and the teams did not disappoint.

In the opening game, Shaun Johnson put on a dazzling display as he played a part in four tries and kicked four goals as the New Zealand Warriors defeated the South Sydney Rabbitohs 32-20.

Greg Inglis played his first NRL game in 12 months for the Bunnies after injuring his Achilles in Round 1 last season.

In the second kick-off, a Cameron Munster led Melbourne Storm proved too strong for the Canterbury Bankstown-Bulldogs, running out 36-18 winners.

Munster, filling in at fullback for the injured Billy Slater was instrumental, setting up three tries as last season’s Premiers started their season with a win.

If Slater had played, it would have been his 300th NRL game.

The win marks the Storm’s 14th consecutive Round 1 victory.

Reception

As NRL WA continues to campaign for a Western Australian team to be added to the National Rugby League, it is important that events such as these are received well.

With 38,824 people packing into Perth Stadium, high praise from all four teams and media, Perth can hold its head high after a successful week for the sport.

Quotes of the week

  • “I think the thirst for rugby league is healthy. I know there is a following out here.” – Melbourne Storm Captain Cameron Smith
  • “It’s great to able to bring rugby league out to the west. I’ve been involved in at least half a dozen games here in Western Australia and every time I’ve played we’ve had a great crowd, a great following, the community gets behind the match.” – Cameron Smith
  • “West Australians voted with their feet in a convincing demonstration of interest which I am confident will take us one significant step closer to Perth getting its own NRL franchise.” – NRL WA Chief Executive John Sackson
  • “This stadium is one hell of a stadium.” – Melbourne Storm Coach Craig Bellamy

Community Engagement

We can’t thank the four teams enough for the work they did off the field to spend time with our junior set-ups and fans.

From South Sydney teaching the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs, the Warriors visiting the Fremantle Roosters, the Storm signing autographs at North Beach and the Bulldogs hosting a meet-and-greet at the Perth Stadium – thank you for giving back to Junior League and giving our kids the chance to meet their idols.

Juniors

Junior players from the Ellenbrook Rabbitohs, Willagee Bears, Kalamunda Bulldogs and Mandurah Storm were given the opportunity of a lifetime when they got to run out onto Perth Stadium during game-breaks.

The players represent the next generation of West Australian rugby league talent and we couldn’t be more proud of their achievements.

What’s next?

Based on the success of the Double-Header, NRL WA Chief Executive John Sackson believes West Australian rugby league fans can expect more events in the future.

“I would be surprised if future double-header promotions aren’t already being considered,” he said.

One event which is guaranteed for next year is that one 2019 State of Origin game will be held at Perth Stadium, which Sackson hopes will be a sell-out.

“Such a resounding result (of the Double-Header) augurs very well for a sell-out State of Origin in 2019,” he said.