The draw for the 2020 Telstra Premiership has been made, with NRL fans across the country already heavily scrutinizing the schedules, keen to pinpoint the teams with the easiest and hardest fixture lists.
Those unfamiliar with the NRL draw may not know that some teams will only play each other once in a campaign. The NRL is made up of 16 teams, but each team plays only 24 regular season matches.
Typically, a team will play nine teams twice and six teams only once. This means that some teams will get lucky with the draw and play 2019’s wooden spoon side, while others will be unfortunate enough to face last year’s title winners Sydney. With that in mind, let’s take a peek at how the NRL 2020 draw has shaped up and which teams benefit the most.
The winners of the draw
It appears that the Manly Sea Eagles have come off the best from the draw for 2020, with Manly only scheduled to play five games against the teams ranked in last season’s top four. In total, they will only play 11 of their 24 games against sides in 2019’s top eight, too.
Meanwhile it could be argued that the Wests Tigers have the easiest start to the campaign, with their opening four fixtures coming against teams that finished in the bottom eight last term. The Parramatta Eels are also due to come up against just one side that made the 2019 finals in their opening eight rounds.
The losers of the draw
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Sydney Roosters are the bookies’ favorites to secure back-to-back premiership titles. Their odds have been set relatively short at a best-priced 10/3, so it might be an idea to utilize some of the available bonuses on offer to increase your potential stake on the Roosters even if you are feeling confident.
Alternatively, you might wish to wait and see how their season begins first; especially because they play two matches against their 2020 title rivals, Canberra, Melbourne and Manly.
Spare a thought also for the Brisbane Broncos, who are due to have 13 fixtures against teams in last year’s top eight, including six against top-four teams.
Meanwhile the New Zealand Warriors will be the only team in 2020 to encounter Sydney, Manly, Melbourne and Canberra twice over the course of the season.
It’s fascinating to see just how influential the NRL draw can be to a team’s season. Watch this space as to whether the schedule can put the likes of the Roosters off their stride.
You can view the full NRL draw on the league website here.