2 days ago
2018 NRL Draw - out Thursday
The full 2018 NRL season draw is expected to be released at 10am Thursday 19 October.
We're edging closer to the release of the 2018 NRL Draw - check out this article for updates and the full draw once confirmed.
Various leaks and bits of information have made their way into the public sphere. Let's cover what we know, and what to expect.
What we know
The first official piece of information came back in late August when the NRL confirmed they were heading to Perth as part of the opening round.
On Saturday 10 March, South Sydney and Canterbury are confirmed to host their season-opening showdowns against the Warriors and Storm respectively at the brand new 60,000 seat Perth Stadium. Tickets are already on sale.
Since then, both the Dragons and Tigers confirmed their home venue splits for 2018, with the Red V opting for more matches at their traditional bases (5 at Wollongong and Kogarah) and just one match at Allianz, with one match to be played elsewhere. The Wests Tigers went the other way, reducing Campbelltown and Leichhardt's allocations both from four to three. ANZ Stadium keeps four matches with the remaining two to be played elsewhere.
A fortnight ago, the NRL then confirmed three more double headers across the opening ten rounds of the competition with ANZ Stadium and Mt Smart Stadium to host dual contests on the same night, as well as the annual Suncorp Stadium double header:
- Round 3: Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles, Eels v Sharks - ANZ Stadium, Saturday 24 March
- Round 5: Tigers v Storm, Warriors v Cowboys - Mt Smart Stadium, Saturday 7 April
- Round 10: Storm v Titans, Sea Eagles v Broncos - Suncorp Stadium, Saturday 12 May
Last week, the NRL confirmed a range of teams would be playing NRL premiership matches in regional areas around NSW and QLD:
- Dragons: Mudgee
- Rabbitohs: Cairns, Gosford
- Roosters: Gosford
- Tigers: Tamworth
- Titans: Gladstone, Toowoomba
- Panthers: Bathurst
Then on Sunday, the Daily Telegraph reported that they had obtained a copy of the full Round 1 schedule:
ICYMI Earlier today the Sunday Tele reported what the #NRL 2018 Round 1 draw is likely to look like.
DISCUSS https://t.co/hCToABANbS pic.twitter.com/T0XCNMMGsJ
— LeagueUnlimited (@LeagueUnlimited) October 15, 2017
With the draw looming Thursday, on Wednesday night, Channel 9 revealed a selection of their own broadcast matches in the opening weeks of the season:
- Round 3: Grand Final re-match between the Storm & Cowboys at AAMI Park on Thursday 22 March
- Round 4: Easter weekend footy feature Cowboys v Panthers Thursday, Souths-Bulldogs and Sharks-Storm on Friday, and the Dragons against Newcastle in Wollongong on Easter Sunday.
The Daily Telegraph has since revealed the remainder of the Easter weekend draw, with Easter Saturday set to have a Roosters-Warriors clash at Allianz followed by Manly hosting Canberra, while the Sunday evening match will feature the South-East Queensland derby where Brisbane will host Gold Coast at Suncorp Stadium.
As invariably happens in the 24 hours before the draw, clubs begin drip-feeding fixtures to the public. First cab off the rank is the Titans:
- Round 5: Sun 8 Apr, 2pm - Titans v Sea Eagles at Marley Brown Oval, Gladstone
- Round 12: Sun 27 May, 4:10pm - Wests Tigers v Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium
We can confirm the season starts on Thursday 8 March, and will feature 25 rounds, down one from 26 last season.
This is due in large part to the movement of the second State of Origin match to a Sunday. The dates for next year's Origin series are already locked in:
- Wednesday 6 June (Melbourne)
- Sunday 24 June (Sydney)
- Wednesday 11 July (Brisbane)
The reduction in rounds means one less scheduled bye - half of the teams in the competition will have the weekend off prior to the first and third Origin games respectively. All 16 teams of course get a break on the weekend of the second match.
The NRL Grand Final will be held at ANZ Stadium on Sunday 30 September - the first time in six years the season decider falls in the ninth month - albeit still part of the October long weekend in NSW & QLD.
We can also confirm that unlike in previous seasons, all 25 rounds will be confirmed upfront by the NRL. Previously, the last six rounds were held over by the governing body and broadcasters so matches could be allocated prime TV slots. This season fans will know the schedule for all 192 matches up-front.
LeagueUnlimited.com can confirm the fixture will be released in full at 10am on Thursday 19 October.
Keep checking back throughout the week as more information comes to hand!