NRL launch 2010 Telstra Premiership draw

Just four teams are in the race for the 2009 Telstra Premiership but from today the remaining twelve can start mapping their campaign for 2010.

The National Rugby League today launched the 2010 Telstra Premiership draw with this year’s Minor Premiers St George Illawarra scheduled to play Parramatta in the opening round of 2010 along with the Broncos hosting the Cowboys and the Rabbitohs home to the Roosters.

The season kicks off on Friday, March 12, and will include feature games in Perth and Adelaide as well as the launch of Melbourne’s new stadium.

Next year’s draw features a Heritage Round (Rd 10) between the Bulldogs and Dragons, the Wests Tigers v Rabbitohs and Manly v the Eels, a dedicated Women in League Round (Rd 16) and a Rivalry Round (Rd 19) that will ignite the passions of fans across the game in the race to the Telstra Premiership Finals.

“There’s no doubt that even with the biggest matches of 2009 still ahead of us there are already thousands of fans wanting to sign up as club members for 2010,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today.

“The excitement of this year’s finals series means that you simply want the football to keep going.”

The draw will again feature 26 rounds (including two byes per team), with four weeks of representative matches during the season, a four-week finals series and a Four Nations series at the end of the year.

Friday, May 7, will see Australia take on New Zealand in a Test Match (venue yet to be announced) and City v Country (venue yet to be announced).

Queensland’s bid to extend the longest series winning streak in Origin history kicks off at ANZ Stadium on May 26 with the return game at Suncorp on June 16 and the final match in Sydney on July 7.

And if the interstate rivalry is not enough, Round 19 will stir up plenty of passion among fans when Rivalry Round sees the Rabbitohs take on the Dragons, the Titans against the Broncos and the Panthers against the Eels.

The Glory Bound Rounds will also receive dedicated promotion during the year, as will the Close the Gap Round (Rd 24) that will include the Reconciliation Cup between the Cowboys and the Bulldogs.

The Grand Final will be played on Sunday, October 3.

This year’s draw has again ensured that clubs will deliver fans the matches they most want to see each year.

“Again we have worked with the clubs to ensure that the draw takes into account the contests that fans most want to see,” NRL Chief Operating Officer, Mr Graham Annesley, said today.

“The draw dictates that every club must play each other once and all clubs then ranked the teams their fans would most like to see at home in the remaining games.

“Every club has received its top four preferences and across all clubs we have been able to meet six out of the top seven rankings.

“It’s an incredibly complex exercise but one which we think will deliver an outstanding competition for the players and the fans.”

The full 2010 Telstra Premiership draw is available at here

Clubs will have until Friday November 6 to allocate their match venues. The NRL will then issue a draw with confirmed venues. Scheduling of match days and kick off times for the first five weeks of 2010 should be available by the end of November 2009.