With rugby league being a winter sport in Australia, the NRL premiership season usually begins in early March following a brief series of trial matches. Games are then played every weekend (plus Monday night football) until the end of September.
Each team plays each other throughout the season, playing 9 teams twice and the remaining 6 teams just once. This results in each team playing 24 games, with two byes in the 26-week regular season, for a total of 192 games.
Teams receive two competition points for a win, and one point for a draw. The bye also receives two points and a loss results in no points. Teams are ranked by competition points, then match points differential (for and against). At the end of the regular season, the club which is ranked highest on the ladder is declared minor premiers.
The eight highest placed teams at the end of the regular season have the opportunity to compete in the finals series, which is contested using the NRL Finals System (previously the McIntyre System was used). The Finals Series lasts for 4 weeks with the fourth week being the Grand Final.