Friday night football will again account for a third of the Vodafone Warriors’ 24 games in the 2018 NRL season.
The schedule released today has confirmed five Friday night home games at Mount Smart Stadium and another three in Australia including one against beaten grand finalist North Queensland in Townsville.
Two of the matches are the last two of the season when the Vodafone Warriors host Penrith on August 24 and Canberra on August 31.
The first of the Friday fixtures isn’t until round seven when the Vodafone Warriors take on St George Illawarra at Mount Smart Stadium.
There are three consecutive Friday night encounters against North Queensland away on June 15, Cronulla in Auckland on June 29 and Penrith away on July 6 (the club’s only Channel Nine game all season).
Three of the last four matches are on Fridays, too. The Vodafone Warriors also had eight Friday night games in 2017.
“We have three different game day models in Friday night, Saturday and Sunday,” said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.
“Friday nights provide a great entertainment package for after work drinks and fun.
“We have a number of great initiatives we’re going to implement across all our home game days next year and our experience is going to be something you’ve never seen before.
“We’re working hard to ensure we achieve great standards and everyone who comes in through the gates will be excited not just by what happens on the field but also off the field.”
A highlight of the just-released draw is a festival of football in April when the Vodafone Warriors will have three straight games at Mount Smart Stadium.
It starts against North Queensland on Saturday, April 7 – the historic doubleheader also involving Wests Tigers and Melbourne – followed by Brisbane on Saturday, April 14 and St George Illawarra on Friday, April 20.
Another feature is a midseason sequence of six consecutive matches against top eight sides starting with Manly in Christchurch on Saturday, June 9, North Queensland in Townsville on June 15, Cronulla at Mount Smart Stadium on June 29, away to Penrith (July 6) and Brisbane (July 15) and Melbourne in Auckland on July 22. The sequence is broken up by the stand-alone weekend for Origin II set down for Sunday, June 24.
Of the 12 home games, six are against 2017 top eight clubs, six are on Saturdays, five on Friday nights and one on a Sunday. Overall the Vodafone Warriors have 11 Saturday games, eight on Friday nights, four on Sundays and one on a Wednesday (Anzac Day against Melbourne).
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FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTY
(NB: local kick-off times listed)
7 Fri April 20 | 8.00pm | Dragons, Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
11 Fri May 18 | 6.00pm | Eels, ANZ Stadium, Sydney
15 Fri June 15 | 6.00pm | Cowboys | 1300SMILES Stadium, Townsville
16 Fri June 29 | 8.00pm | Sharks, Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
17 Fri July 6 | 7.50pm | Panthers, Panthers Stadium, Penrith
22 Fri August 10 | 8.00pm | Knights, Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
24 Fri August 24 | 8.00pm | Panthers, Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
25 Fri August 31 | 8.00pm | Raiders, Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland