Rugby league "will cap off a record-breaking year with one final celebration" -- after one of Australia's biggest brands agreed to a A$5M ($5.2M) annual sponsorship deal "with the greatest game of all in '13," according to Paul Crawley of the DAILY TELEGRAPH. News Ltd. revealed that car giant Holden "is set to take over as the naming rights sponsor" of State of Origin and the Australian Kangaroos. The move will make it the second biggest sponsorship deal in the game's history, behind the recently announced A$100M five-year partnership with Telstra (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 12/22). In Sydney, Glenn Jackson reported the three-year deal is "expected to be finalised in the new year." The Sydney Morning Herald "was told of the sponsorship deal just as the National Rugby League closed its doors for the Christmas and New Year period." Significant decisions "continued right up until the close of business." Among them:
- The NRL formally registered the contract of Sonny Bill Williams but announced it would fine the Roosters over the club's handling of the negotiations to bring the former All Blacks star to the club.
- The administration confirmed that it had ended its advertising association with rock giants Bon Jovi.
- And officials slapped sacked Roosters player Joseph "BJ" Leilua with a four-match suspension regardless of which club he signs with next season (SMH, 12/22).