How representatives of the 16 NRL clubs have reacted to the 2015 NRL draw released on Monday.
Brisbane Broncos CEO Paul White
"It's a great opportunity for our club and the game up here in Queensland to kick-start a season again and what bigger game than against the defending premiers," White told NRL.com of confirmation the Broncos will host the season-opener against the Rabbitohs on March 5.
"Giving recognition and respect to Anzac Day and the way we conduct that event (Round 8 against the Eels) will be important but we'll be buying into the strategy the NRL has for that day as a whole. To have that game on Anzac Day, on a Saturday night against a well-supported team such as Parramatta, is a great opportunity.
"We've got a draw that's going to deliver marquee games to Suncorp Stadium every time we play at home so there's a lot for fans to be excited about. If they're thinking about renewing their membership or becoming members for the first time, the draw gives them every reason to make that decision."
Canterbury-Bankstown CEO Raelene Castle
"Well, the coach is fine with it. He’s pretty happy," Castle said when asked her opinion of the Bulldogs' draw for 2015.
"All in all, we’ve fallen a little bit better over State of Origin time. Not quite as tough as the draw we had last year during State of Origin, because we’re pretty sure we’re going to lose some boys again to play for New South Wales. I guess there’s a little bit more flexibility around that.
“With that one point win last year on Good Friday [against the Rabbitohs], and even though it wasn’t our home game, we’ve turned that into something that all footy fans were looking forward to. If we can aim for 60,000 people and set a new record for Good Friday, that will be amazing. We’ll be working really hard to make sure that it’s a family friendly event that everyone can come along to.
"We’ve worked with the NRL and St George Illawarra to see if we could make the holiday on Queen’s Birthday Monday something that’s new to the calendar, something at the family friendly time of 4pm can add real value. And they’ve come to the party and said that it’s a new blockbuster time and the fact that the Bulldogs and the Dragons are going to be involved in that... There are all sorts of great storylines around Morris brothers to look forward to in that game which means we should have a great crowd."
The Raiders’ website has pointed out the family friendliness of their 2015 draw, with the Green Machine set to play 17 of their 18 so far scheduled fixtures on Saturdays or Sundays in the first 20 rounds.
"Family friendly timeslots... feature heavily for the Raiders in 2015, with the majority of their matches at home happening on either a Saturday or Sunday, giving Raiders fans of all ages the opportunity to come to GIO Stadium for live rugby league action," Raiders.com.au read.
Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan
"I'm really happy with the draw. The timing of the draw is exactly what we wanted, there are plenty of Sunday games and some others live on Channel Nine as well," Flanagan told Sharks TV.
"We just have to pray for the right weather now... we have the Sunday footy and now we just have to pack the stadium and get off to a good start."
Gold Coast coach Neil Henry
"We're very happy with the draw. We don't have any afternoon kick-offs in the early rounds, Broncos on Good Friday is a blockbuster time to have that, we're only down for one Monday night game against Manly in the first 20 rounds so we're getting some even breaks between games," Henry said.
"It's a bit of a pity we don't play the Cowboys twice, we play them in Round 26 up there and it would have been good to play both the Queensland teams to play each other twice as normally happens.
"We voiced our concerns at the end of last season (regarding afternoon games early in the year) and I think they've got a good mix for us. Five out of our nine [home] games are on a Saturday and in the 5.30pm timeslot which is our preferred timeslot and then quite a few daytime games which the boys enjoy playing."
Manly CEO Joe Kelly
"Hopefully we’re going to be in a good position by that stage of the year. Ultimately being at home at the back end of the season is a real good outcome for us. We’re delighted with that," Kelly said of four games at Brookvale in the last six weeks.
"It’s never going to be perfect. There are 16 teams that need to be at peace, with lots of competition and conflicting interests, but at the end of the day it is what it is and we have to move forward.
"There are some very positive announcements within. Three blockbuster games to start with. One away to the Eels and then we’re home to the Storm and the Dogs, so it’s a great start to the season – three big rivalries that we are really looking forward to."
Melbourne CEO Mark Evans
"Well, it's always a compromise isn't it? I suppose depending on what perspective you look at it – from a commercial perspective or a playing perspective or a fan perspective – you'll have a different view," Evans said.
"But I think overall it could've been worse. It's never exactly what any club wants. By definition, there are 16 of us with different agendas but I'm reasonably happy with it.
"To not play the Warriors on Anzac Day is disappointing, but we were told for the 100-year celebrations [of the Anzacs]… it was appropriate, if possible, for the Warriors to have a game in their home country and for the Warriors to play in Auckland on that date.
"Although we were sad to lose such a fantastic fixture we understand [the reasoning]."
Newcastle CEO Matt Gidley
"Overall, we are pleased with our draw for season 2015," Gidley said.
"There are certainly plenty of positives from a football, membership and corporate perspective."
North Queensland co-captain Matthew Scott
"It's a good way to kick the year off. The Roosters are a quality side, obviously we were disappointed going out to them at the end of last season so it's a good way to kick off 2015," Scott told Cowboys TV of their Round 1 assignment against the Roosters.
"It's great for us [to have three home games in the first month] and I think that's what's been missing in recent years, our form early in the year. To have three games out of four at home in the hottest part of the season for us, it's a massive advantage.
"It's no secret that most players don't like Monday nights too much. For us at home it's hard to get some of our biggest crowds on a Monday night and you've got the weekend full of training so it's just not the best time of the weekend to play. In saying that the Mondays are linked together so it doesn't look like there's too many short turnarounds."
Parramatta CEO Scott Seward
"The 2015 draw means our members and fans will be able to see our home games on the big stage numerous times, which is great for both our football and commercial operations," Seward said.
"We want to have not just one marquee game in a season but multiple big event match-ups, and this draw gives us the ability to do that.
"It's good news for the Eels brand to see that we’re in demand for both television audiences and a drawcard for interstate away games.
"It's disappointing that for the second year in a row we've been scheduled to travel to all major interstate and overseas destinations," Seward added.
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary
"We don't go to Auckland, we don't go to Townsville – both hard places to win, so that's good," Cleary said.
"We've got a big Friday night game against the Eels. We had that last year as well. That one's around the rep season. That'll be a cracker, that'll be one to look forward to.
"First game against the Dogs, at home here as well, new timeslot, 4pm on a Sunday. Again, right in the middle of daylight savings so we should get plenty of people to that game. Last team we played as well, so try and reverse the result with a bit of luck.
"All in all, the byes are a bit too close together so I'm not happy about that. If we're going to make a run to the finals, we've got 11 games in a row – same as the last couple of years. But we'll work it out. We did last year, so we'll manage it."
St George Illawarra CEO Peter Doust
"The 2015 schedule reflects the clubs, the NRL and broadcasters working together to give members, corporate partners and supporters as much consideration as possible, acknowledging the complexity of the process,” Doust said.
"Delivering an outcome that meets everyone’s expectations is difficult, but we believe we have scheduled appropriate balance across our season and venues, given all the variables, including venue availability."
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden
"The start is challenging with two of the NRL’s most demanding away trips [to Newcastle and Canberra] but we’ll plan for that accordingly," said McFadden.
"It’s always exciting when the draw comes out. For the coaching staff and team management it means we can plan our season while our members and fans can also make their plans now they have the dates.
"It’s brilliant knowing we’re going into a season with 11 games at Mount Smart Stadium. The players love playing at the ground and we’re all looking forward to our long-serving loyal members and new members getting in behind us in big numbers throughout 2015."
Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor
"Looking at any team in relation to what happened last year and thinking that they'll be the same can be a mistake," Taylor told NRL.com of their perceived easier draw in 2015.
"With the NRL recruitment that goes on, one or two injuries to key players can take a season from a successful one to an unsuccessful one for any club. So I don't think you can really look at the draw and say, 'Well, we're playing an easy team, then a hard team.' It doesn't work like that.
"It's important that we've got measures in place to replace those guys (Origin representatives Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods) but there's a lot of footy to be played between now and then as well. It's important to start working in a plan for that, because you don't want it to jump up and bite you. But as I said, there's a lot of footy to be played before then. We just need to make sure we have ourselves in a good position."
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