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Defending premiers Penrith will open the 2004 National Rugby League season with a night time home clash with Newcastle at Penrith Football Stadium.
The NRL released its season draw today, with the Panthers and the Knights kicking off the season on Friday March 12. There are no major changes to the structure with each team playing 12 home games, 12 away games and receiving two byes.
But the NRL is considering a change to the four-week finals format.
Under review is the current McIntyre system while the league, in discussion with clubs, is also considering implementing the system employed by the AFL or a brand new format which is the brainchild of prominent rugby league expert Warren Ryan.