Do you have what it takes to run your own footy team? Want to take on your mates for bragging rights and take on fellow footy fans for weekly cash prizes – plus signed State of Origin balls and personalised jerseys? 

Then you've got to play NRL Fantasy.

NRL Fantasy kicks off for 2016 this week, and the game is bigger and better than ever. 

Sign up at fantasy.nrl.com

New features this season include: 
- An updated app, including new dashboard and quick links (NOTE: the app will be available next week)
- Personalised push notifications to tell Fantasy coaches if their players have been ruled out before kick-off
- Interactive polling
- Single Match Day games for every Thursday night game of the season, plus the usual Match Day games for State of Origin, Test match and the NRL Finals Series
- Exciting new prizes, including signed and framed State of Origin balls, cash prizes, and personalised club jerseys. 
- League Creator prize: The first 2,500 coaches who create a full 16-team competition before Round 1 get a 12-month NRL Digital Pass
- Draft League Creator prize: The first 1000 users who create a draft league with at least eight users prior to season launch get a 12-month NRL Digital Pass
- Dual Draft Commissioner prize: Randomly chosen across all users who create two or more draft leagues, 10 Fantasy coaches will win an NRL Jersey of their choice with the fantasy name and number on the back.

New to Fantasy? Here's how it works.

Pick a 25-man squad – staying under the $6.8 million salary cap – and select a starting 13, a captain, a vice captain and four bench players. Your selected 17 will score points every week of the NRL season, based on their performances in real life. Make sure to pick the right captain, as he'll earn your team double points.

Join a league with mates, family or colleagues and you'll have head-to-head match-ups against another team each week, with the goal of making your league's finals and then going on to win the comp. Meanwhile, you'll be taking on thousands of other teams for weekly and end-of-season prizes.

Need help picking a team? Try the game's "intelligent auto-pick" feature to get a well balanced squad in an instant, compare players with the Fantasy player comparison tool, and keep an eye on NRL.com every week for hints and tips on players to watch from yours truly, the Lone Scout.

Want a simpler game? Try out Match Day, running across every Thursday night game of the season plus the May Test, State of Origin and the NRL Finals. In Match Day, simply pick six players – one per position – from a single match and you could be a winner.

Or if you want to step it up a notch, play Fantasy Draft with a group of mates, where each NRL player can only be in one team in the league. Start with a live draft where each Fantasy coach takes turn picking players, then trade players between teams throughout the season. 

With flexible leagues (pick the number of teams, start dates, finals series and whether to play on bye rounds, and join as many leagues as you like), great prizes, a new-and-improved website, NRL Fantasy is better than ever. And of course, it's free to play.

This article first appeared on NRL.COM