The National Rugby League was formed after an agreement was reached between the two rivaling competitions from 1997, the Australian Rugby League and the Super League. In December 1997, the two parties formed a joint board to run the new Australian rugby league club competition. The vast majority of the 22 clubs that contested in 1997 across the split competitions also contested the first season of the National Rugby League, with the exception of the Hunter Mariners, the Western Reds and South Queensland.
Ivan Cleary's tally of 284 points was, at the time, an individual record for most points scored in a season in Australian club rugby league history; it has since been beaten on no less than five occasions.
The record for the biggest comeback in premiership history was also re-set during the 1998 season. In round 12, the North Queensland Cowboys trailed 26–0 at half-time and came back to beat the Penrith Panthers 36–28.
|Adelaide Rams||Auckland Warriors||Balmain Tigers||Brisbane Broncos||Canberra Raiders|
|Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs||Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks||Gold Coast Chargers||Illawarra Steelers||Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles|
|Melbourne Storm||Newcastle Knights||North Sydney Bears||North Queensland Cowboys||Parramatta Eels|
|Penrith Panthers||Sydney City Roosters||South Sydney Rabbitohs||St. George Dragons||Western Suburbs Magpies|
There was no visual performance of the song in the ad which returned to the standard rugby league imagery of big hits and crunching tackles to accompany the track.
|Date and Time||Venue||Referee||Crowd|
|Canberra Raiders||17–4||Manly Sea Eagles||28 August 1998||Bruce Stadium||Bill Harrigan||15,953|
|St. George Dragons||12–20||Canterbury Bulldogs||29 August 1998||Jubilee Oval||Steve Clark||16,833|
|Parramatta Eels||25–12||North Sydney Bears||29 August 1998||Parramatta Stadium||Kevin Jeffes||16,033|
|Melbourne Storm||12–26||Sydney City Roosters||30 August 1998||Olympic Park||Paul McBlane||18,247|
|North Sydney Bears||2–23||Canterbury Bulldogs||4 September 1998||North Sydney Oval||Bill Harrigan||18,718|
|Melbourne Storm||24–10||Canberra Raiders||5 September 1998||Olympic Park||Steve Clark||12,592|
|Newcastle Knights||15–26||Sydney City Roosters||5 September 1998||Marathon Stadium||Kevin Jeffes||26,482|
|Brisbane Broncos||10–15||Parramatta Eels||6 September 1998||ANZ Stadium||Paul McBlane||21,172|
|Newcastle Knights||16–28||Canterbury Bulldogs||12 September 1998||Sydney Football Stadium||Steve Clark||24,449|
|Brisbane Broncos||30–6||Melbourne Storm||13 September 1998||Sydney Football Stadium||Bill Harrigan||20,354|
|Sydney City Roosters||18–46||Brisbane Broncos||19 September 1998||ANZ Stadium||Steve Clark||28,374|
|Parramatta Eels||20–32||Canterbury Bulldogs||20 September 1998||Sydney Football Stadium||Bill Harrigan||36,841|
|Brisbane Broncos||38–12||Canterbury Bulldogs||27 September 1998||Sydney Football Stadium||Bill Harrigan||40,857|
|Brisbane Broncos||Position||Canterbury Bulldogs|
|Darren Lockyer||FB||Rod Silva|
|Michael De Vere||WG||Gavin Lester|
|Steve Renouf||CE||Shane Marteene|
|Darren Smith||CE||Willie Talau|
|Wendell Sailor||WG||Daryl Halligan|
|Kevin Walters||FE||Craig Polla-Mounter|
|Allan Langer (c)||HB||Corey Hughes|
|Shane Webcke||PR||Darren Britt (c)|
|Phillip Lee||HK||Jason Hetherington|
|Andrew Gee||PR||Steven Price|
|Gorden Tallis||SR||Tony Grimaldi|
|Brad Thorn||SR||Robert Relf|
|Tonie Carroll||LK||Travis Norton|
|Michael Hancock||Reserve||Steve Reardon|
|John Plath||Reserve||Troy Stone|
|Kevin Campion||Reserve||Glen Hughes|
|Petero Civoniceva||Reserve||David Thompson|
|Wayne Bennett||Coach||Steve Folkes|
In the 31st minute Steve Price stepped through an opening in the Broncos' defence then passed to Willie Talau who scored, putting the Bulldogs back in front. Canterbury held this 12–10 lead until half time.
It was Brisbane's Tonie Carroll who broke the game open less than two minutes after the break with a great try to put the Broncos back in front 16–12. The Bulldogs scored no more points in the match, swamped in the second half by five unanswered tries from Brisbane, the second coming from Wendell Sailor following through on a Steve Renouf burst out wide in the 51st minute; the third from Darren Lockyer chipping the ball through, regathering and passing to Gorden Tallis who grounded it under posts in the 60th minute; the fourth from Phillip Lee, who fought his way through in the 69th minute; and the last from a clever Alfie Langer pass to Carroll on the burst, who ran twenty metres before passing back inside for a supporting Darren Smith (in his final match for the Broncos before moving to Canterbury) who touched down on 75 minutes.
The 38 points scored by the Broncos means the match set a new record for the most points by a club in a Grand final. The 26 point margin is the second highest in the rankings of the biggest winning margins in a Grand Final. The result gave Brisbane, who had been minor premiers and premiership favourites from season's start, their fourth premiership in seven years at a time when the game was in the most turbulent phase in its history.
Brisbane Broncos 38 (Tries: De Vere, Campion, Carroll, Sailor, Tallis, Lee, Smith. Goals: Lockyer 5/7)
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12 (Tries: Grimaldi, Talau. Goals: Halligan 2/3)
The long-serving St. George team, existent since 1921, and the Illawarra team merged to form the first joint-venture side at the conclusion of the season, St. George Illawarra for inclusion in the next season.