Roosters win big in 2018 NRL draw

The NRL delivered a win for Sydney fans, but the Roosters were the biggest victors from the NRL’s 2018 draw announcement on Thursday.

Already rumoured to be in the hunt for Australian halfback Cooper Cronk, the Tri-colours received a massive leg up with the kindest schedule for next year.

They will play a competition-low nine matches against teams who qualified for last year’s finals, avoiding facing the likes of Melbourne, North Queensland, Parramatta, Cronulla and Penrith twice.

Their clashes with the Storm and Cowboys are also at Allianz Stadium – where they had a 9-1 record last year – avoiding two of the toughest road trips along the way.

In turn they also meet last year’s bottom six of Canterbury, South Sydney, Warriors, Wests Tigers, Gold Coast and Newcastle twice – including four of them in the first four rounds.

Adding even further to their advantage is the fact they are one of three teams not to have to deal with a five-day turnaround throughout the season, nor do they leave Sydney until round 10.

Their run home is also seemingly pretty comfortable, with a trip to Canberra their only serious road trip in the final seven rounds.

They’re not the only team to set up a reasonably comfortable base in Sydney though, as the NRL confirmed that 18 of the 28 Sunday afternoon matches played in the city would be local derbies.

Along with the Roosters, St George Illawarra and the Bulldogs also only leave their home city just four times across the entire regular season.

North Queensland have been given a hand by their rivals, again playing “away” games in Cairns and Darwin – although a logistical nightmare looms ahead of their trip to the NSW central west town of Bathurst to play Penrith in round nine.

It means they will play in Sydney just four times through the regular season.

At the other end of the scale, Gold Coast and Warriors have been dealt no favours, being with two games each against all four of last year’s preliminary finalists in the Storm, Cowboys, Rosters and Broncos.

They both also only appear on free-to-air television in Australia just three times and once respectively.

KEY POINTS FROM YOUR TEAM’S NRL DRAW

Brisbane – Top-eight opponents: 12, Free-to-air: 17, Five-day turnarounds: 1

Canberra – Top-eight opponents: 12, Free-to-air: 6, Five-day turnarounds: 2

Canterbury – Top-eight opponents: 13, Free-to-air: 12, Five-day turnarounds: 3

Cronulla – Top-eight opponents: 12, Free-to-air: 11, Five-day turnarounds: 1

Gold Coast – Top-eight opponents: 14, Free-to-air: 3, Five-day turnarounds: 0

Manly – Top-eight opponents: 12, Free-to-air: 7, Five-day turnarounds: 1

Melbourne – Top-eight opponents: 11, Free-to-air: 11, Five-day turnarounds: 3

Newcastle – Top-eight opponents: 14, Free-to-air: 2, Five-day turnarounds: 0

North Queensland – Top-eight opponents: 12, Free-to-air: 13, Five-day turnarounds: 1

Parramatta – Top-eight opponents: 11, Free-to-air: 13, Five-day turnarounds: 1

Penrith – Top-eight opponents: 11, Free-to-air: 12, Five-day turnarounds: 1

South Sydney – Top-eight opponents: 12, Free-to-air: 12, Five-day turnarounds: 2

St George Illawarra – Top-eight opponents: 12, Free-to-air: 12, Five-day turnarounds: 3

Sydney Roosters – Top-eight opponents: 9, Free-to-air: 15, Five-day turnarounds: 0

Warriors – Top-eight opponents: 13, Free-to-air: 1, Five-day turnarounds: 2

Wests Tigers – Top-eight opponents: 12, Free-to-air: 12, Five-day turnarounds: 3

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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