Junior reprentative football will make its return to the NRL calendar, with a women's and men's under-19s State of Origin match to be played during the representative weekend.
While all 16 NRL clubs have the weekend off, the weekend will be headlined by the second game of the Origin series - to be played on the Sunday evening in Perth.
Junior football had been missing from the NRL's calendar since the pandemic began. Formerly, under-16s, under-18s and under-20s were all given an opportunity ahead of Origin 1, 2 and 3, with one age group playing as the curtain-raiser to each main game.
That format has disappeared, however, an under-19s format which will be used this year will also allow two under-20s players per team. Both the women's and men's match will be played with the same format on Thursday, June 23 at Leichhardt Oval.
Both games will be broadcast on Fox Sports and Channel 9, with it set to complete a full weekend of rugby league action across four days.
Saturday will be a day out for international rugby league, with New Zealand to play Tonga in Auckland in what will be the first game held on the other side of the Tasman since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Friday night will see the annual women's State of Origin match, in what will be the final one-off match of that series ahead of expansion to a two-match series in 2023.
The junior games on Thursday at Leichhardt will likely see a number of the game's future stars running around, combined with a number who are yet to make their NRL debut, but could well do so during the second half of the season.
In the years leading up to the cancellation of junior Origin matches, players like Jake Clifford, Jack Murchie, Curtis Scott, and Drew Hutchison were crowned as man of the match in the under-20s games, while the last edition in 2019 saw staring performances from players from players who are now household names like Matt Burton, Stephen Crichton and Blake Taafe, as well as Tesi Niu and Tino Fa'asmaualeaui for Queensland.
The women's game will kick-off at 5:40pm (AEST), with the men to kick-off at 7:45pm (AEST).