Luckily, there are plenty of ways to catch all the NRL action this season – live online and sometimes even for free.

Since NRL is not Australia’s national game, many fans outside of the East Coast will find their free-to-air NRL coverage lacking. Channel 9 has rights to live-stream three games for free on 9Now. If you’re after a free live stream, this is by far the best way to access the NRL games. The only downside is you won’t access all of them.

Foxtel is a viable alternative. It offers the most comprehensive NRL coverage, and every game is available for streaming via their online platform. It’s not perfect since many users don’t appreciate how awful its streams look on big smart TV screens. And it’s not cheap.

On the bright side, Foxtel Now has been mingling with its buffering and grainy streams problems, and many users report a stark contrast to last year’s streaming quality. Don’t take anyone’s word for it – try their two-week free trial to see if the quality is up for the price ($39/mo). The best part is you get the complete NRL season coverage in one place.

NRL Digital Pass ($4/week or $100/year) is another option if you are a Telstra customer. The pass grants you access to every game except for the State of Origin series and the Grand Final. The downside is you can’t use it on desktops or smart TV screens – it’s mobile-only. And by mobile, I mean 7-inch screens. Duh.

As for the expats, digital nomads, vacationers, and all non-Aussie fans of the NRL, you can catch the live streams at WatchNRL online platform. It’s subscription-based and will set you back $33/mo or $189/year​

Also, a roster of broadcasting giants have rights to air and stream NRL in other countries:

Note: in case you’ve been wondering, is no more. Instead, Rugby Pass has free live and on-demand NRL streams in regions that have no local broadcasters covering the league.

If you are in Australia or New Zealand, you can’t use Rugby Pass, and its free live coverage of the NRL games.

If you are outside Australia, you can’t use your Foxtel subscription because it’s geo-blocked for everyone abroad. Considering it’s pretty expensive, you don’t want to buy another subscription if Rugby Pass is unavailable in your current location.

In the similar vein, if you are a NOW TV or Premier Sports subscriber, you can’t watch your premium live streams if you are traveling outside the UK.

The complex web of broadcast licensing restrictions has created a major headache for too many NRL fans in and outside of Australia. Vacationers, expats, digital nomads, and business tourists lose out on their premium subscriptions – or can’t access free NRL live streams – due to aggravating geo-blocks.

Use a VPN instead and access Rugby Pass or your premium streamer from anywhere in the world.

A Virtual Private Network is a service running VPN servers in many regions. When you connect to a VPN server in the country of your choice, let’s say in Australia, you obtain the IP address pertinent to that country. With an Australian IP address, you can stream NRL games via 9Now for free.

Likewise, connect to a server somewhere in the Middle East or Africa and unlock Rugby Pass live streams. If you want to access your paid Fox Sports streams from outside the US, just connect to a US-based server and stream to your heart’s content. 

A VPN is actually a privacy and security tool because it encrypts your traffic and routes it through its secure tunnel. As a result:

  • Your Internet Service Provider can’t eavesdrop on you
  • Your data is secured from Man-in-the-Middle and honeypot attacks
  • You can easily bypass your school or office firewalls, or state-imposed censorship
  • You can circumvent your ISP throttling when you stream sports or movies, or play online games
  • You can unlock – or change your region for – a slew of streaming and gaming services (Hulu, Netflix, Steam, iTunes, etc.)
  1. Sign up for a VPN service. It might be a good idea to opt for a premium provider because free VPNs don’t offer speeds good enough for streaming. Free VPNs also log your online activities, which is a major privacy and security breach.
  2. Download your VPN client from the provider’s website and install it on your device or router.
  3. Launch your VPN client and connect to a server in the country of your choice. Connect to a server in Australia to unlock 9Now, or to a server in the Middle East to unlock Rugby Pass. Likewise, connect to a US server to stream via Fox Sports 2, or to a UK server to stream using your NOW TV subscription.
  4. Clear your browser’s cache and head over to your streaming provider’s website.
  5. You are all set to stream the National Rugby League games live online – from anywhere in the world.

It’s a shame dropped the NRL streaming, but as you can see, new options cropped up. And with a VPN, most of them are accessible. I hope this brief guide has all the information you need to stream the National Rugby League live online – from anywhere in the world.


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