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Things won't get any easier in 2014 for the luckless Eels or Tigers but there is good news for the Vodafone Warriors in the 2014 NRL draw. Photo: Photosport analysed the match-ups across 26 rounds for all 16 NRL clubs in 2014 and assigned a "difficulty ranking" based on the toughness of the opposition they will face, based on each team's performances in 2013.

With 16 clubs, 26 rounds and two byes per side, it means each team plays every other team once, with a second game against nine of the 15 possible opposition clubs.

If your club faces tough repeat games against the likes of the Roosters, Souths and Melbourne but only gets one crack at the "easier" opposition such as Parramatta, Wests Tigers and the Dragons, it could be deemed to have a tougher draw than a side that has the majority of its repeat games against teams that finished lower on the ladder last season.

Under our system, each side was assigned a "difficulty ranking" as opposition based on where they finished in 2013, with the minor premiers and eventual champions Sydney Roosters assigned a maximum 16 out of 16, and wooden-spooners Parramatta assigned the lowest score of 1 out of 16. We've used those rankings to determine the toughness of each side's run in 2014 though obviously there is no guarantee a team that was deemed "easy" in 2013 won't improve in 2014 and vice versa.

Looking back at last season, we found the Panthers had the "easiest" draw in 2013, with a total difficulty score of 188. Just three of Penrith's nine extra games were against sides that finished in the top eight. At the other end of the scale, the Vodafone Warriors had the toughest run last season with a difficulty score of 224, having five of nine repeat games against eventual finalists and those five opponents were the top five finishers in the league. By contrast, the Vodafone Warriors did not get a second crack at any of the lowest three finishers.

So who should find things significantly easier or tougher in 2014?

Well there's good news for Vodafone Warriors fans, with a toughness score of 191 the equal lowest. Of the 2013 finalists, they have repeat games against just three sides: the Knights, Sharks and Bulldogs, but crucially not the Roosters, Rabbitohs, Storm or Sea Eagles.

Meanwhile, reigning wooden spooners the Eels have a draw difficulty score of 223 the second-toughest run in the competition. They have repeat games against six of 2013's eight finalists: the Roosters, Rabbitohs, Sharks, Bulldogs, Knights and Cowboys. In fact they get the Roosters twice and Sea Eagles once inside the opening six rounds! Things aren't any better for the Tigers, who also have six repeat games against 2013 finals sides and the toughest draw rating of 225.

So how has your club fared this season? Our rankings are below, ordered from the hardest draw to the easiest.

2014 draw difficulty (hardest to easiest):

1 Wests Tigers (difficulty score of 225, six repeat games against top-eight teams)

2 Eels (223, six)

3 Broncos (220, six)

4 Dragons (218, four)

5 Sea Eagles (208, six)

=6 Bulldogs (204, four)

=6 Raiders (204, four)

8 Roosters (201, six)

9 Knights (200, four)

10 Storm (199, four)

11 Panthers (198, four)

12 Cowboys (197, four)

13 Titans (193, three)

14 Rabbitohs (192, four)

=15 Sharks (191, four)

=15 Warriors (191, three)

2013 draw difficulty:

1 - Warriors (224, five)

2 - Raiders (222, six)

3 - Tigers (213, five)

=4 - Eels (212, four)

=4 - Rabbitohs (212, six)

6 - Bulldogs (211, six)

7 - Titans (208, five)

=8 - Dragons (201, four)

=8 - Cowboys (201, four)

10 - Sea Eagles (200, four)

11 - Knights (199, four)

12 - Storm (196, four)

13 - Broncos (195, four)

14 - Roosters (192, four)

15 - Sharks (190, four)

16 - Panthers (188, three)
Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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