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Rugby League fans will be able to watch four live matches each week on free to air television from 2018 as part of a new broadcast rights agreement reached with the Nine Network today. 

NRL CEO Dave Smith said Channel 9 has secured the rights to screen matches on Thursday, Friday and Saturday during prime time and on Sunday at 4 pm. 

The deal, the biggest in Australian free to air television history, is worth up to $925 million and will take effect from 2018. 

Sharks Group CEO Lyall Gorman said the NRL's  broadcast negotiations come as a huge boost for the Cronulla club.

“The NRL’s announcement today comes as a major boost for the future of our game from a financial stability, Member and fan engagement and player perspective,” said Gorman.

"The streamlining of the representative Calendar to both enhance player welfare and provide greater player availability for their Club  is warmly welcomed while the commercial opportunities for all Clubs will be significantly broadened by the increased Free to Air coverage.

"Throw in the control the NRL will now have over its season draw so that deeper consideration can be given to the unique market needs of clubs from a home game scheduling perspective and we have an outstanding outcome."

Other highlights to come out of the new agreement:

- The NRL Telstra Premiership will be played over 25 weeks - instead of 26 

- A new State of Origin schedule with the second match in each series being played on a Sunday night as part of a stand alone weekend of representative football which will also feature Pacific Nation Tests 

- International Rugby League will be given a new priority and will be played in a dedicated window after the NRL Premiership season. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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