The NRL draw for 2017 has been dropped amidst a storm of controversy.
The Cronulla Sharks are furious the NRL ignored the club’s plan to celebrate their 50th anniversary. The Sharks had requested an April 2 match against the Roosters to commemorate the first ever Sharks game against Easts on April 2, 1967.
But the NRL didn’t want a bar of it, instead giving the Sharks an April 1 game against Newcastle.
It isn’t all bad news for the Sharks though with the reigning Premiers featuring in the NRL’s blockbuster first game of the season against the Brisbane Broncos on Thursday March 2 at Shark Park.
The NRL has thrown the kitchen sink into round one with plenty of other blockbuster games, including the Cowboys v Raiders, Sea Eagles v Eels and the Rabbitohs v Tigers which will see Robbie Farah take on his former club.
Here’s how the opening round pans out:
Thursday, March 2
Sharks v Broncos, Southern Cross Group Stadium, 8.05pm
Friday, March 3
Bulldogs v Storm, Belmore Stadium, 6pm
Rabbitohs v Wests Tigers, ANZ Stadium, 8:05pm
Saturday, March 4
Dragons v Panthers, UOW Jubilee Oval, 4.30pm
Cowboys v Raiders, 1300Smiles Stadium, 7pm
Titans v Roosters, CBus Super Stadium, 9pm
Sunday, March 5
Warriors v Knights, Mt Smart Stadium, 2pm
Sea Eagles v Eels, Brookvale Oval, 4pm
One of the main talking points to come out of the 2017 NRL Draw is the introduction of regular 6pm Friday games.
As a footy fan I know that getting to the game by 7 or 7.30pm in Friday night traffic can be a nightmare. So we’re not too sure how fans are supposed to make it by 6pm (other than a Friday sickie or afternoon “doctor appointment”).
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg however isn’t too concerned and is excited by the 6pm Friday night fixtures.
“Fans will be able to see two games live on Fridays and, while the early game may present some challenges in terms of attendances, we think it will be a big hit,” he said.
“Certainly this is a much more family friendly time than the late-night Friday game that we had a couple of years ago.”
So how did your club fare with the 2017 draw?
The NRL.com team have broken it down to give you an idea of which teams did well and which teams got the raw end of the pineapple.
According to their points system (which they explain here), the Rabbitohs have the toughest draw whilst the Doggies have the easiest.
The full list from worst to best can be seen below. The more the points, the worse the draw.
1. Rabbitohs (168 points)
2. Cowboys (164)
3. Knights (162)
4. Raiders (155)
5. Sharks (145)
6. Warriors (145)
7. Dragons (139)
8. Titans (137)
9. Panthers (137)
10. Sea Eagles (132)
11. Wests Tigers (130)
12. Roosters (128)
13. Storm (123)
14. Broncos (119)
15. Eels (115)
16. Bulldogs (110)
So what are your thoughts on your teams draw and the 6pm Friday night game? Don’t hold back, we want to see your banter.
by Michael T. Lynch – contributor