Suncorp hosts NRL season opener
Suncorp Stadium is to be the host of two games in the opening round of the NRL 2007 pemiership, with both the Broncos and Titans playing in the Queensland capital.
2006 premiers the Broncos to play the Cowboys in the Sunday afternoon slot in round one of the competition and wanted the Titans as far away as possible.
The Titans application was to play against the Dragons in Brisbane, before playing the rest of their seasons matches at Carrara stadium untill the 25,000 seat stadium in Robina is finishing construction.Brisbane instead lost out on their application when the NRL decided to put them in on the Friday night slot against the Cowboys in Brisbane and placed the Titans opening match against the Dragons on Sunday and in Brisbane aswell.
All of the eight matches have been confirmed by the NRL and all but three have been locked into specific time slots.
There will be two Friday night games, Broncos v Cowboys and Storm v Tigers, it will be an epic event having two matches on a friday night.
Manly and Canberra will meet in a 20-year reunion from the only time these two clubs have met in the Grand Final. The more experienced Sea Eagles defeated the Raiders who were in their first decider 18-8 in the last Grand Final to be held at the famous Sydney Cricket Ground. Last year the unheralded Raiders upstaged Manly at Brookvale Oval in the opening round and both clubs will be hungry for immediate success.
Another big match will be against the Newcastle v Canterberry at Energy Australia Stadium, it is expected that it will be a full house with superstars Andrew Jonhs, Willie Mason and Mark O'meley featuring in this match, The Knights will be welcoming in new coach Brian Smith who'll be up against the second longest serving current coach in the NRL and the longest serving clubman in the game today. It's ironic that Smith's Newcastle coaching debut be up against his bogey club when he was in charge of the reigns at Parramatta.
Cronulla and Penrith both entered the Premiership in 1967 and 40-years later they'll be playing in the opening round of the 2007 Premierships as Rugby League will be under more pressure than ever before to perform as they face challenges from rival codes. Both sides missed the Finals last year and have new coaches heading into the 2007 season. Cronulla will be coached by Ricky Stuart and at the helm of Penrith will be the over-achieving Matthew Elliott.
The Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs will yet again do battle in an opening round match on the Monday night with the Roosters gaining the home ground advantage once again for the 4th time compared to Souths twice. The Round 1 matches between these two 1908 clubs attract the larger crowds than the clash later in the year and Souths fans traditionally come out of the woodwork for the opening round.
Others matches will see the New Zealand Warriors host the Parramatta Eels at Mt Smart Stadium and Grand Finalists Melbourne Storm do battle against the Benji Marshall inspired Wests Tigers at Olympic Park.