Friday 23 November 2012

2013 NRL Premiership Season Draw Analysis

By W D Nicolson - November 23, 2012

The countdown to the 2013 NRL Season is now well and truly underway with the release of Season Draw for next year. has had a quick glance at the new draw and here are the main points of discussion coming out of it.

We knew certain parts of Round 1 before time (like SBW and the Roosters would play the Bunnies at the SFS), but this morning the NRL finally released the full 26 Round schedule - including the fixed kick-off times for the first 20 rounds.


After the Round 1 Draw you can read my quick hit thoughts on the Draw (including the all important Free-to-Air quota) and I will add more about each team's draw as the day unfolds.

If you have a view on the draw or noticed a quirk in the schedule please comment below or reply on Twitter @NRLTweet and I'll make sure I respond.

PS. The game also has a new CEO with fmr Lloyds Australia Bank CEO David Smith appointed.

To be played March 7-11 (Thu-Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon) 2013
THURSDAY - 7:30pm @ Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Look it's not the best matchup they could've gone with - what's wrong with a Grand Final Replay straight off the bat? But if you consider how both games finished last year and as long as SBW is playing - it should draw 30,000+ to the SFS even on a Thursday.
FRIDAY - 8:00pm @ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Thank you very much for the ratings! Great matchup for TV and ground attendance. Kicks off Brisbane's Friday night dominance on FTA.
SATURDAY- 5:30pm @ Parramatta Stadium, Parramatta
Parramatta officials will be hoping for a big turn out from the Warrior fans... this gets the dreaded 5:30pm timeslot and Parra need a undefeated pre-season to drag along a crowd over 15k.
SATURDAY- 7:30pm @ ANZ Stadium, Sydney
ANZ should get over 20k as the Canterbury faithful turn up to thank their boys for their 2012 season... but this is no gimme. Imagine the crowd if JT has already signed with the Bulldogs for 2014 by the time this game starts?
SUNDAY - 2:00pm @ Centrebet Stadium, Penrith
Good time for Canberra's travelling fans and Penrith should draw a 15,000+ crowd here given the optimism that a new season brings. Each team will be thinking 'Round 1 win' when this draw hit their table.
SUNDAY - 3:00pm @ AAMI Park, Melbourne
Great to see Melbourne - as premiers - open the season at home and on FTA (though will Channel 9 show it live in Melbourne?). The Dragons aren't a 'sexy' matchup but they are a good one. First Sunday Arvo footy needed to have a reason to watch it - reigning premiers beat a token Knights, Eels or Panthers ratings grab.
SUNDAY - 6:30pm @ Toyota Stadium, Cronulla
Yes Cronulla recruited well but this is the dullest of the season openers. That being said it doesn't have to be that way if both teams play a more up-tempo game after their changes in the off-season. Like the Raiders and Panthers - both teams will be thinking this is a game they should win.
MONDAY - 8:00pm @ Hunter Stadium, Newcastle 
Eeeeeek... Knights won't be happy getting yet another MNF game for Hunter Stadium. As a season opener and given their supporter catchment - MNF is a killer because it can effectively rule out travelling supporters who have to work the next day. I'm not saying for that reason alone Newcastle shouldn't have a home MNF game but for a season opener the crowd just dropped 5-8k easily. (Remember last year was a Thursday night - different mindset supporter wise than MNF).

  • Parramatta have the 'Collingwood' draw of the Sydney teams (though admittedly I haven't examined all the draws of the Sydney teams in detail like theirs - given I did their website press release) - with only 3 of their first 18 games OUTSIDE of Sydney. They play Titans on the Gold Coast in Round 6, the Dragons in Wollongong in Round 10 and host the Titans in Round 11 in Mudgee.
    Mind you, the Eels have a horror draw thereafter:
    @ CAN, @ CBY, v MAN, v WTG, @ BRI, @ MEL, v STI and finally @ NEW.
  • Brisbane come under the pre-draw Over/Under I set of 15.5 FTA games out of their first 18 matches... with just 12 games on Channel 9. Including ELEVEN games of Friday Night Football and just one on Sunday afternoon... but it's in Auckland.
  • The Gold Coast underline the tough part of being an 'expansion' team (ie. out of Sydney). They have a jet-setting final five weeks - @ CBY, @ NQL, v WAR, @ SYD and @ MEL. And they have taken their Round 17 home game to Darwin against Penrith (which I'm all for by the way).
  • Canberra get value out of the new TV deal... with a bevvy of quallity time slots on Fox Sports. Yet Channel 9 gives them just one FTA game - away to Souths in Round 16. That being said - Canberra could appear on FTA against any of their last six opponents which are v MEL, @ SYD, v CBY, v MAN, @ WAR and v CRO.
  • There will be a few games outside of normal venues with PAR v GLD in Mudgee Round 11, GLD v PEN in Darwin, SOU v WAR in Perth and CBY v NEW in Mackay in Round 17. Plus Souths go to Cairns to play the Titans in Round 14, the Warriors move their game with SBW's Roosters to Eden Park in Round 2 and the Tigers play the Dragons at the SCG in Round 6. And Gosford's Bluetongue Stadium gets 2 games - CRO v CBY in Round 7 and SOU v MAN in Round 23.
    There are also a couple of games with TBC venues - including Manly v Canberra in Round 11 which could end up being played in China.
  • As you'll see below the opening and closing months of each team's season will shape the playoff campaigns of a few sides.
  • Once I have time I will put a table together of the FTA games of each club.
CLICK A TEAM LOGO for that team's full schedule for 2013

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We've got the same 3 game Rep Weekend on hand in 2013 after Round 6 (all NRL clubs have byes).
Australia v New Zealand in the ANZAC Test at Canberra Stadium (Friday April 19)
NYC Origin - NSW U20s v QLD U20s at a location TBA (Saturday)
City v Country Origin at Coffs Harbour (Sunday)
State of Origin Games are once again on Wednesday Nights in 2013.
Game 1 is in Sydney at ANZ Stadium on June 5 (between Rounds 11 and 12)
Game 2 is in Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on June 26 (between Rounds 14 and 15)
Game 3 is in Sydney at ANZ Stadium on July 17 (between Rounds 17 and 18)
Can Queensland win EIGHT series in a row? ... Yep.

The 2013 Premiership Finals Series will take place over four weeks, with the Grand Final resting on Sunday October 6, 2013.
Finals Week 1 - Qualifying Finals x 2 + Elimination Finals x 2
Finals Week 2 - Semi Finals x 2
Finals Week 3 - Preliminary Finals x 2
Finals Week 4 - Grand Final at ANZ Stadium
Opening 4 Games:
v MAN, @ STI, @ SYD, v MEL.
Byes: Round 15 and 19.
Last 4 Games:
v PAR, @ PEN, v NEW, v CBY.
Bottom Line: Get no home games on a Sunday arvo but are compensated with 12 in total on Friday night and 6 of those will be at Suncorp. Superb home ground advantage late - with 4 of 5 at home (Round 22-26). Worst away stretch is Round 16-21 when they play just 1 of their 5 games at home (@ WAR, @ MEL, v CRO, BYE, @ NQL, @ NEW).
Opening 4 Games:
@ PEN, @ GLD, v STI, @ NEW.
Byes: Round 12 and 18.
Last 4 Games:
v CBY, v MAN, @ WAR, v CRO
Bottom Line: Have just one game on FTA in 20 Rounds (Round 16 @ SOU) and get three straight Sunday night games from Round 3-5. Basically if you like the Raiders - get Foxtel. Worst away stretch is back to back games in Townsville and Melbourne in Round 7-8. But finish season with 4 of last 6 at home. Could end up in China in Round 11 against Manly.
Opening 4 Games:
v NQL, @ PAR, @ MEL, v SOU.
Round 16 and 19.
Last 4 Games:
@ CAN, @ SOU, v PEN, @ BRI.
Bottom Line: Start the year in Sydney (5 of their first 6 are at ANZ or Allianz Stadium) and have just the GF replay trip to Melbourne in Round 3. Get 4 home games in a row around their Byes (Round 15-20) but one of those will be in Mackay against Knights and the Storm 'home' game is still to be allocated a venue. Worst away stretch Round 7-10 with just one game at ANZ (they play Cronulla in Gosford, home to Tigers, then away to Warriors and Knights).
Opening 4 Games:
v GLD, @ SOU, v WAR, v STI.
Byes: Round 12 and 15.
Last 4 Games:
@ STI, v SYD, v NQL, @ CAN.
Bottom Line: Like a few other Sydney clubs - start the year in Sydney. First six games in the metro area with the biggest trip at Manly in Round 6 before the Rep Weekend. Play Dogs in Gosford (CRO home game) and then the Knights in Newcastle back to back Round 7-8 so will the club entertain a little 'holiday' up the coast that week? Get trips to Auckland, Brisbane, Townsville and Melbourne - so the only 'big' road-trip they avoid is one to the Gold Coast.
Opening 4 Games:
@ CRO, v CAN, v MAN, @ PEN.
Byes: Round 13 and 18.
Last 4 Games:
@ NQL, v WAR, @ SYD, v MEL.
Bottom Line: Horrendous end travel wise to 2013. After playing Souths and Tigers at home in Round 20-21, the Titans head to Sydney, Townsville, back to the Gold Coast, then off to Sydney and then Melbourne. If the Titans make a playoff run it needs to be before those final weeks - because having to win almost every road game late will be near on impossible.

Opening 4 Games:
@ BRI, v NEW, @ GLD, v WTG.
Byes: Round 12 and 15.
Last 4 Games:
@ SOU, @ CAN, v MEL, v PEN.
Bottom Line: Have an annoying start - playing at Brisbane, then coming back to Sydney and then going back to the Gold Coast. Have the joy of all four big road trips during 2013 - at Melbourne, at Brisbane, at the Gold Coast and at the Warriors. Could end up taking their Round 11 game against Canberra to China.
Opening 4 Games:
v MEL, @ NQL, v CBY, @ BRI.
Byes: Round 12 and 19.
Last 4 Games:
@ NEW, v PAR, @ MAN, v GLD.
Bottom Line: Get a nice stretch of 5 home games across 7 matches from Round 7-14. The GF replay is in Round 3 against the Dogs on a Thursday night. Appear on Friday Night Footy just twice in the first 20 rounds... both times against - you guessed it - Brisbane. From Round 15-21 they play just one game at home, and visit the Gold Coast, Sydney (at least once), Auckland and Canberra.
Opening 4 Games:
v WTG, @ MAN, v NQL, v CAN.
Byes: Round 15 and 18.
Last 4 Games:
v MEL, @ NQL, @ BRI, v PAR.
Bottom Line: Opening month is critical given the three home games. Don't get a look in on Friday nights, but will be playing a lot of Sunday footy. Last month is tough bar maybe Round 26 when Parramatta come to town - but trips to Townsville and Brisbane follow a Round 23 clash against the Storm. Given their bad start in 2012 - a record worse than 3-3 after 6 weeks won't be acceptable.
Opening 4 Games:
@ CBY, v MEL, @ NEW, @ WAR
Byes: Round 15 and 19.
Last 4 Games:
v GLD, v NEW, @ CRO, v WTG.
Bottom Line: Could have the toughest opening month in the comp. At Dogs, Knights and Warriors and home to Melbourne. After failing to have back to back home games for the first half of the season, they end 2013 with a flurry - home in 3 straight and 6 of the last 8 games from Round 18. So basically if they start well - their run home could secure a Top 4 berth easily (Cronulla is the only Top 8 team from 2012 they face after Round 21).
Opening 4 Games:
v WAR, v CBY, @ WTG, @ SYD.
Byes: Round 12 and 16.
Last 4 Games:
@ BRI, @ MEL, v STI, @ NEW.
Bottom Line: As mentioned already, the Eels have a great first 18 weeks of basically Sydney football. But the run home is ominous for 2012's Wooden Spooners - @ CAN, @ CBY, v MAN, v WTG, @ BRI, @ MEL, v STI and finally @ NEW.
Ouch... and yes that final month includes trips to Brisbane, Melbourne and Newcastle.
Opening 4 Games:
v CAN, @ WTG, v SOU, v GLD
Byes: Round 12 and 15.
Last 4 Games:
@ WAR, v BRI, @ CBY, @ MAN.
Bottom Line: Dream start if you want to re-energise your fan-base after a poor 2012. Souths are the toughest matchup, but if they can squeeze out a 2-2 record before road trips to Townsville and Newcastle - there might be some hope for 2013. Hard way to end the season though - v NQL, @ WAR, v BRI, @ CBY and @ MAN. Too hard.
Opening 4 Games:
@ MEL, v BRI, @ CAN, @ CRO
Byes: Round 15 and 18.
Last 4 Games:
v CRO, v WTG, @ PAR, v WAR
Bottom Line: Do not like their opening month with road trips to Melbourne and Canberra, a visit from the Broncos and a short trek to Cronulla. Will mix their home games this season after a straight down the middle split between WIN Jubilee and Wollongong in 2012. But you'll take 3 home games in the final month and 5 over the last 7 games - especially if they are still in playoff contention. Finish of @ PAR and v WAR is tasty based on 2012.
Opening 4 Games:
@ SYD, v CRO, @ PEN, @ CBY.
Byes: Round 13 and 18.
Last 4 Games:
v MAN, v CBY, @ WTG, v SOU.
Bottom Line: The draw says 3 of first 4 away but they play in Sydney the whole month. only 2 of the first 12 games are out of Sydney, and the 13th is being moved to Cairns from ANZ to play the Titans. Also take a Warriors game to Perth in Round 17. Could have finished the final month in Sydney but moved Manly game to Gosford - otherwise it's ANZ or Allianz.
Opening 4 Games:
v SOU, @ WAR, v BRI, v PAR
Last 4 Games:
Bottom Line: SBW mania starts in Sydney and Auckland in the opening month. In fact they play 6 of their first 8 games at Allianz Stadium. They also enjoy just one game from Round 11 onwards outside of Sydney - Round 20 in Newcastle - and although 3 of their last 4 are away - it includes two at Allianz, one at Toyota Stadium and on at ANZ Stadium. Handy draw.
Opening 4 Games:
@ PAR, v SYD, @ CRO, v NQL.
Byes: Round 15 and 18.
Last 4 Games:
v PEN, @ GLD, v CAN, @ STI.
Bottom Line: Life's always going to be tough when you are travelling significantly for at least 12 of your 24 games - but the draw isn't terrible for the Warriors. They enjoy 3 stretches of back to back home games and finish the season with 4 games at home from the final 7 matches. The final month is entirely winnable if they are still in playoff contention.
Opening 4 Games:
@ NEW, v PEN, v PAR, @ MAN.
Byes: Round 12 and 18.
Last 4 Games:
v SYD, @ STI, v SOU, @ NQL.
Bottom Line: Can't complain about the start with two also-rans in the first month sandwiched around two hard road games. Play 4 of 5 at home from Round 16-20. Finish the year with no games at Campbelltown or Leichhardt in the final 6 weeks, and amazingly not a single Sunday afternoon game will be played at Leichhardt for the entire season.