Club representatives react to the release of the 2017 Telstra Premiership draw.
Bulldogs chief executive Raelene Castle
"This year's draw has a 'family friendly' feel about it for our fans. With seven of our first 10 home games in early time slots it will allow families to get to matches at a reasonable hour. We also take a match to Dunedin for the first time, which will be a great opportunity to grow the Bulldogs support in a country where we already have a strong following. We look forward to kicking things off with a bumper Friday at Belmore against the Storm, in what I hope will be an exciting start to the season for our fans."
Queensland Minister for Tourism and Events Kate Jones
"The Brisbane double-header provides an exciting opportunity for fans from across the country to enjoy a weekend in Brisbane and two blockbuster games in Australia's best rugby league stadium. This is a blockbuster weekend for Brisbane with the Titans and Broncos set to draw another sell-out crowd against two of the NRL's flagship clubs at Suncorp Stadium."
Titans CEO Graham Annesley
"I think fans will be pleased with our 2017 draw. On the back of our performances in 2016 and our membership figures which are well ahead of expectations at this stage, combined with fan-friendly time-slots, we are anticipating a strong crowd for our opening match which is great news for the Titans as we prepare to once again perform strongly throughout 2017."
Titans coach Neil Henry
"Thirteen of our first 20 matches will give the players more than seven days recovery between matches, while we have four matches with at least six days. When you're trying to keep everyone fit, those extra days can be vital, so we are very pleased with that."
Broncos CEO Paul White
"We have not had the Cowboys as the first home match of the season since 2014. Considering the fantastic contests we have had over the last year or two we deemed it imperative to make it our first home game of the 2017 season. The first two months of the season will be full of huge blockbusters against top-rated teams, which is a huge win for our members and supporters."
Warriors managing director Jim Doyle
"It has been too long since we started our season at our home ground so we couldn’t be more excited knowing we’ll be at Mount Smart Stadium for the first two rounds. That’s fantastic for the team, our members and other supporters after being forced to open our campaigns away over the last four seasons including back-to-back games on the road the last two years. Having five of our first six games in New Zealand is a big help and introducing an earlier kick-off for the first Friday night game (8pm NZT) also works in our favour. Now Friday night football becomes a big part of our game-day experience."
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney
"It's a positive for us being able to have some Friday night games. It's also certainly helpful playing five of our first six games in New Zealand. It’s always a positive being on home soil and playing in front of our members, families and fans."
Dragons forward Tariq Sims
"It will be great to start the season with back to back home games. Hopefully we can pack out Kogarah and Wollongong and have big home crowds and a great atmosphere to help kick-start our 2017 season. It will be my first time playing on Anzac Day, a very special day. I've always watched the Dragons v Roosters games on that day and it's a very special day that a lot of people hold very close to their heart. I just hope I will be able to find a place in the team and go out and do our kind of battle on the footy field."
Sea Eagles chairman Scott Penn
"The NRL has responded to our disappointment over last year's draw, providing a vastly improved outcome for our players, members and fans. With the release of the draw, this is a fantastic opportunity now for supporters who are not yet members to make their commitment to the club and truly get behind coach Trent Barrett and the players as we strive for a far better season in 2017."
Storm CEO David Donaghy
"From a football point of view there's a lot of improvement in terms of the turn-arounds across the board, not just for us. Having only one five-day turn-around is obviously a positive. There's none bigger in terms of rivalry than the Storm-Broncos in Round 3 so to start our year with a Thursday night game on Channel Nine with the Fox simulcast is going to be a great way to start the home season. We've got the grand final rematch also in Round 6 of course which will be exciting for our members and I'm sure the players will be up for it too. We're going to be taken all around the country in 2017 which I think is a real positive for the Storm brand and we're looking forward to going into those markets."
Knights CEO Matt Gidley
"As a player you want to test yourself against the best the game has to offer in front of your own fans, and our draw certainly provides that. With the first 20 rounds of the draw finalised, we look forward to sharing 2017 and our 30th year with our fans, members, corporate partners and sponsors."
Cowboys CEO Greg Tonner
"From a Saturday night and Friday night perspective, we're delighted. No Thursday night games, no Monday night games, seven of our home games are Saturday nights and two Fridays. No 6pm slot. For our members and fans, fantastic. For all the people that travel, we know Saturday is the right time so I'm so excited for us."
Cowboys coach Paul Green on six home games in first nine weeks
"It is a good opportunity for us. For our club the start's probably a little bit more important than other clubs given our commitment during that Origin period so getting off to a good start is always important. It doesn't guarantee anything but it's certainly a step in the right direction for us. It gives us a good platform to launch into the season."
Panthers general manager Phil Gould
"The draw is the draw. We will deal with it. We are extremely disappointed though that the Panthers and Eels are not playing each other twice this season."
Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly
"The NRL draw gives the club and our members a roadmap for the year ahead and we're very excited about season 2017. Our Sydney-based ticketed members will have access to 14 matches at ANZ Stadium and Allianz Stadium, we get to visit our homes away from home in Cairns and Perth with games again this season and we're looking forward to all of the action kicking off in the first week of March."
Raiders CEO Don Furner
"It's a tough start to the season travelling up north to take on the Cowboys but we are really looking forward to the challenge of taking on one of the premiership favourites straight away. We are really pleased to host the Sharks in our first home game and I think all of our fans are already excited for this match. We play a lot of quality opposition at home, which is great as we look to continue building our attendances."