May 25, 2024

The draft schedule was made public, and host broadcasters’ protests prompted the NRL to reevaluate its first-round draw at the last minute.

The draft round-one schedule was released by this masthead on Thursday, ahead of the NRL’s scheduled announcement of the 2024 season draw on Monday. However, several of the major players in the game reacted negatively to the revelation.

Since then, the NRL has canceled Thursday afternoon talks with teams and delayed all communication regarding the draw until Friday morning.

The publisher of this masthead, Nine Entertainment Co., was not pleased with the Newcastle vs. Canberra match being scheduled on free-to-air TV on the Thursday night after the historic double-header in Las Vegas the previous week, according to sources speaking anonymously due to confidentiality agreements.

 

Benji Marshall

Coach adamant Benji Marshall will see out season at Wests Tigers – FBC News

 

Due to this, the NRL is now thinking about rearranging the round one dates rather than the matchups. This might mean moving the Parramatta vs. Bulldogs game from Saturday to Thursday night at CommBank Stadium.

The A-League match on Friday, March 8 at CommBank Stadium between Western United and Western Sydney Wanderers is adding to the confusion. The Wanderers might voice objections to having to play football on a field just twenty-four hours following a rugby league match. The Bulldogs’ home field, Accor Stadium, is also closed because of performances taking place there.

One thing that will remain the same is that the Wests Tigers’ Benji Marshall era will begin in the second week of the competition, with the back-to-back wooden-spooners receiving a bye in the first round.

Two weeks after potentially taking on Super League champions Wigan Warriors in the World Club Challenge, Penrith is anticipated to start their title defence against Melbourne. It seems unlikely that the Panthers will play a different game on Friday night than the one that was initially scheduled to air on Channel Nine.

The start of Shane Flanagan’s tenure at the Dragons will come on the road in Queensland when the team plays the Gold Coast Titans, led by fellow returning coach Des Hasler.

The game between the Raiders and the Knights, which was initially slated for Thursday night, may also be rescheduled.

The Sharks and the Warriors are scheduled to play each other.

At Suncorp Stadium, the Dolphins will play the North Queensland Cowboys in an all-Queensland game.

The season openers, South Sydney and Manly in Las Vegas, and Brisbane and the Sydney Roosters in a doubleheader at Allegiant Stadium on March 2 (March 3 in Australia) will take place over the course of two weeks.

To maintain continuity and balance in the draw, the four Las Vegas teams will play each other across the first three rounds of the competition.

In round two, the Rabbitohs will play the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium, and in round three, they will play their bitter rivals, the Roosters, at Allianz Stadium. In round two, the Sea Eagles take on the Roosters, and in round three, they face the Broncos.

 

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