SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: The Provan Summons Trophy is seen on stage during the 2017 NRL Season Launch at Martin Place on February 23, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Every year loyal fans peruse the new NRL draw at their earliest opportunity, salivating at certain match-ups that offer either a long-standing rivalry or a more recent but equally compelling narrative – and 2023 is no different.

We've browsed the full list and done the hard work for you – these are the 10 games you can't miss in 2023.

» Full 2023 NRL fixture list
» Pre-season fixture list
» When are every team's byes?
» Who does your team play twice in 2023?


10. Round 6: Melbourne Storm v Sydney Roosters, AAMI Park, Thursday April 6

Battles between these two sides are generally captivating anyway, with two of the modern era's most successful teams led by two of the game's most successful coaches – but there's an extra layer to this year's narrative following the decision of Brandon Smith to switch allegiances and travel north to join the tri-colours.

Smith was a loyal servant for the majority of his time in Melbourne but certain elements surrounding his departure, including public comments and some criticism during the year from coach Craig Bellamy have added an extra layer of spice to this one. There's a lot of uncertainty about the exact nature of the relationship between Smith and his former club, but we'll know more after these 80 minutes.

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 23: Brandon Smith of the Storm warms up before the start of the round 19 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Melbourne Storm at QCB Stadium, on July 23, 2021, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)


  1. Some interesting games for sure, but Raiders v Dragons? Really?

    Wests v Newcastle – to determine favouritism for the spoon?

    I’d drop either of these and replace them with Manly v Whoever in the 2023 Pride Round. Who will turn out for the Eagles? Will social media pillory the players even more mercilessly than this year?

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