AS part of a new three-year partnership, Australian sports manufacturer Steeden will become the official match ball supplier to Betfred Super League, Championship and League 1, the Challenge Cup and England Rugby League programmes.

Steeden is currently the official match ball of the NRL, New Zealand Rugby League, Queensland Rugby League and New South Wales Rugby League among many others and the Symmetry match ball will be reintroduced at the professional level in the UK this season ensuring continuity and familiarity for players.

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Steeden match balls will be in use from early January for all pre-season games and will feature in Round 1 of the Challenge Cup over the weekend of January, 26 and 27.

The three-year agreement sees the Rugby Football League move away from Rhino Rugby League, who have been a partner since 2014, but will continue to provide branded equipment in 2019.

Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: “It’s fantastic that such a well-recognised brand will be supplying our players with the best equipment and we look forward to working with Steeden over the next three seasons.”

Jon Clarke from Steeden added: “We pride ourselves on the performance of the Steeden ball and are thrilled to see the best rugby league players in the northern hemisphere using what is globally recognised as the best rugby league ball available.

"We look forward to ensuring STEEDEN balls are made available to all participants playing the game and fans alike as we anticipate replica and team supporter balls to hit retail shelves in the coming weeks."