When is the NRL grand final, who’s performing the pre-game show and how can I watch?

After a unique season, it’s just about time for the 2020 NRL grand final between the Penrith Panthers and Melbourne Storm.

If you’re wondering how to watch it on TV, when to tune in or even how to get some last-minute tickets, we’ve got you covered.

When is the NRL grand final?

The men’s game starts on Sunday night at 7:30pm AEDT at Sydney’s Olympic stadium.

For those of you looking to tune in around the country, that’s:

  • 6:30pm AEST for Queensland
  • 7:00pm ACDT for South Australia
  • 4:30pm AWST for Western Australia
  • 6:00pm ACST for the Northern Territory

The NRLW grand final kicks off at 4:05pm AEDT.

Bear in mind that scheduled kick-off times in the NRL are almost always wrong, especially for big events. Expect boot-to-ball anywhere from five to 15 minutes late.

Who is playing in the NRL grand final?

NRL player runs with the ball as his opponent braces to tackle him.NRL player runs with the ball as his opponent braces to tackle him.
Penrith won the only game between these teams this year 21-14 in round six.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Penrith and Melbourne.

They finished the season first and second respectively, won in the first week of the finals, got the week off and the Storm thumped the Canberra Raiders before the Panthers took down the South Sydney Rabbitohs in their grand final qualifiers.

It’s the eighth time since 2000 that teams one and two will meet in the grand final, but only the second time in the past eight years.

The third NRLW grand final is also a 1 vs 2 match-up, with two-time defending champion Brisbane up against the Roosters in a rematch of the 2018 grand final.

Ali Brigginshaw evades a tackleAli Brigginshaw evades a tackle
The Roosters and Broncos also faced off just last week, with the Broncos winning 24-16.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

Is the NRL grand final on Foxtel or Kayo?

No, not the men’s game at least.

The men’s decider is exclusive to free-to-air broadcaster Channel Nine in Australia, but Fox will carry the women’s final in the afternoon.

An NRL women's team gather in celebration, with the trophy in front of them, after grand final win.An NRL women's team gather in celebration, with the trophy in front of them, after grand final win.
The Broncos are aiming for three straight NRLW premierships.(Supplied: NRL)

There are also a number of international TV broadcasters, so check your local guides if you are out of the country.

Another great way for expats to follow the game is with our live blog, which starts at 3:00pm AEDT on Sunday.

The ABC will also have live radio coverage of both games.

Can I get tickets?

No.

The NRL announced the game was official sold out on grand final eve.

The New South Wales Government is allowing 40,000 fans (about half the stadium’s usual capacity), which would be the biggest crowd for an NRL game this year.

Who is favourite for the Clive Churchill Medal?

Nathan Cleary tries to get past the Melbourne Storm defenceNathan Cleary tries to get past the Melbourne Storm defence
Cameron Smith (left) and Nathan Cleary (centre) are the favourites.(AAP: Julian Smith)

In possibly his last game, Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith is one of the favourites to be named the best on ground in the NRL grand final.

Despite playing in seven grand finals and winning four of them, Smith has never won the Clive.

The other favourite is Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary, who was also tipped to win the Dally M Medal but missed out.

Has coronavirus changed anything for the NRL grand final?

It certainly has.

The Storm have been based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for most of the season because of Victoria’s second wave, while the Panthers, obviously, have been based in Penrith, just a short drive from Homebush.

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy and captain Cameron Smith, wearing thongs, at a press conference before the NRL grand final.Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy and captain Cameron Smith, wearing thongs, at a press conference before the NRL grand final.
Melbourne’s pre-match media on the Sunshine Coast was a bit more casual than usual.(AAP: Darren England)

Usually in grand final week, both teams spend days in Sydney leading up to the game, completing media and photo opportunities, including things like a grand final breakfast.

That’s not the case this year, with the Storm flying down to Sydney on Saturday afternoon and reportedly only allowed out of their hotel for a final training run on the eve of the match and then the game itself.

Win or lose, the Storm also won’t be hanging around for celebratory drinks/drowning of sorrows for long, with a flight out of Sydney booked for Sunday night.

What is the NRL grand final entertainment?

Amy Shark, whose song C’mon (featuring Travis Barker) was released on Friday.

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She’ll be on stage half an hour before the men’s grand final kicks off.

If you’re thinking ‘Hasn’t she already done that?’, no, but she did perform at State of Origin III in 2018 and headlined the NRL’s Festival of Footy at Bega in February.