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NRL draw for 2020: Rescheduled season full of rivalries

The NRL draw has been released for the rest of the season with traditional and modern-day rivalries featuring throughout the remainder of the Telstra Premiership campaign for all clubs.

The draw for rounds three and four were announced last week and now fans, players and coaches can start planning when their teams will be facing off against each other for the rest of the year.

Due to the hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which shut the competition down on March 23, the season resumes next Thursday on May 28 and will be a 20-round format in total.

The grand final will be held in Sydney on October 25.

It will be one of the toughest assignments for teams with 18 consecutive rounds.

It's game on

Some of the main highlights of the draw are: 

  • Key rivalries all featuring twice across season; 
  • The Anzac match between the Dragons and Roosters will now be played on August 6 in round 13 on the anniversary of the Battle of Lone Pine;
  • The grand final rematch between the Roosters and Raiders will be held on a Thursday night in round 10.

Everything you need to know about the 2020 draw

"There are new fixtures and new venues, but when the players take the field, the desire to win will be that much higher given the sacrifices made to this point," NRL acting CEO Andrew Abdo said.

"With 18 rounds this year uninterrupted, there are no easy games. Anyone can beat anyone on any given day. There are always going to be elements and inequality in any long competition.

"If you take into account the ebbs and flows of form, injuries, and that we're playing in slightly different stadiums, one thing that will remain in common, this will be a tough competition for all 16 teams.

"I think this year will mean more than other years given all the game has been through to get back up and running."

State of Origin will enter new territory when the series is played for the first time in November over three consecutive Wednesday nights.

The NRL has announced the 2020 fixtures will be played on November 4, 11 and 18. Venues are yet to be finalised.

It was also announced on Thursday that the women’s State of Origin match - which was originally due to be played in June - has been scheduled to go ahead in November as a standalone fixture on Friday, November 13.

"It's a tremendous product ... we get close to a million people watching it so it wasn't, to be honest, ever in a debate," Abdo said of the women's Origin event.

"We've done it for two years and to have it as a standalone fixture on a Friday, we took that for granted, it’s a wonderful product."

Abdo added the venue and kick-off time for the NRL grand final would be announced at a later date, pending the possibility of crowd attendance and state biosecurity measures.

He was hopeful of resolving the NRL's dispute with the referees as early as Friday but Abdo said arbitration measures would ensure the matter would be resolved by Monday.

"We are in ongoing dialogue with the referees," he said over their rejection of the plan to revert to a one-referee model for the rest of the season.

"We are confident that we will have kick-off on May 28, whether it's one ref or two refs, well that's a matter for Fair Work Australia and ourselves and the referees to decide."

NRL CEO discusses revised 2020 draw

Abdo acknowledged the vital role the game’s stakeholders, including naming rights partner Telstra and television broadcast partners Foxtel, Channel Nine and Sky New Zealand, who will bring our game to millions of fans.

He thanked NRL clubs, the RLPA, players, members and fans for their patience and support in a bid to have the sport back up and running.

"And I want to acknowledge chairman Peter V’landys and the Commission for their leadership as well as the clubs and players for their united commitment and spirit to ensure the resumption of the competition.

The best are coming back

"The changes to the schedule this year have allowed Origin to be played after the grand final – which is a first for the game, 40 years after the birth of the country’s biggest sporting rivalry.

"And to have our women’s Origin match on prime time on a Friday night – just two days after game two of the men’s series – will make this two-week period an historic one for the sport.

"This season will offer storylines, drama and excitement that cannot be scripted. Kick-off cannot come soon enough for all of us."

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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