WINNERS AND LOSERS OF THE NRL DRAW
CRONULLA – Have the best draw of all as they avoid facing any team from last year’s top-eight twice. Are also one of five clubs to avoid a five-day turnaround, which will please John Morris after they lost their first two games.
PARRAMATTA – Avoid facing either of last year’s grand finalists or minor premiers twice. Also have the luxury of being able to play at Bankwest Stadium for the next seven rounds while the game is reduced to six venues. Do however have three five-day turnarounds.
PENRITH – Another club to avoid facing the Sydney Roosters, Melbourne or Canberra twice. Won their first two games but will have to do it without suspended halfback Nathan Cleary against the Newcastle and the Warriors.
NORTH QUEENSLAND – Only face first-week losers Brisbane and Penrith twice when it comes to last year’s top-eight teams. Have to leave Queensland just eight times for the rest of the year, and are one of just four clubs across the league able to play at their full-time home ground.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS – Chairman Nick Politis has already shown his disgust with his team handed one of the toughest draws in the NRL. After losing their first two games, they must still face fellow top-four teams from last year Canberra, Melbourne and South Sydney twice. The task of becoming the first team to three-peat in 37 years has become considerably harder.
MELBOURNE – Life won’t be easy at the top with the Storm also asked to face fellow top-four teams from last year South Sydney, the Roosters and Canberra twice. Also have two five-day turnarounds, but can at least play at their home ground of AAMI Park.
CANBERRA – Aren’t happy with their lack of television exposure but it’s not a dream schedule on the field either. Face the Storm and Roosters twice, and have tough road trips to either Sydney or Melbourne for at least the first seven weeks on the competition’s resumption.
SOUTH SYDNEY – Like the other teams from last year’s top four they could find it tough with double-up games against Melbourne and the Roosters. Creating an even bigger challenge for Souths is they are one of just two teams to have three five-day turnarounds, with one of those leading into a clash with Parramatta.