How tough is your club's 2018 draw?

The Roosters may have the most generous fixture list in 2018, while the Warriors will be tested against the best on the road to the finals according to analysis of next season's NRL Telstra Premiership draw.

Determining which clubs have a "hard" or "easy" draw is a complicated question – travel, time between matches and State of Origin scheduling are all factors – but a simple way to look at the difficulty of each team's draw is by looking at their opponents.

A 25-round competition with one bye means each club plays nine other teams twice and six teams just once, so some clubs could be said to have easier draws than others.

Note that a "tougher" draw isn't necessarily a bad thing – sure it might hurt your chances of sneaking into the finals but if your team can make the top eight they'll arguably be more battle hardened, having already played a lot of matches against strong sides (see North Queensland's surprise run to the grand final after enduring a tough draw in 2017).

Also, there's an obvious advantage for the better teams when analysing draws like this – because highly-rated teams like the Roosters and Melbourne Storm can't play against themselves. 

That being said, here's how each club's draws rank, toughest to easiest, based on premiership betting for the 2018 season.

1. Warriors (234 points)
2. Titans (226)
=3. Sharks (218)
=3. Bulldogs (218)
=3. Wests Tigers (218)
=6. Sea Eagles (216)
=6. Knights (216)
8. Cowboys (208)
9. Rabbitohs (207)
10. Broncos (205)
11. Dragons (202)
12. Eels (191)
13. Panthers (190)
14. Raiders (189)
15. Storm (180)
16. Roosters (170)

Full 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership Draw

How did we work these out? Each NRL team was attributed a score out of 16, based on their ranking in premiership betting. Current dual premiership favourites the Storm and Roosters were both valued at 16 points, while wooden spoon favourites the Wests Tigers were valued at 1 point. 

We then went through each club's 2018 draw and added up the total score of all their opponents for the season to come up with their "draw toughness" score.

The Warriors will play a string of big games, including two matches against each of the Roosters, Storm, Cowboys and Broncos. At the other end of the scale the Roosters and Storm only play against each other once, and the Roosters only have one game (at home) against the Cowboys.

The Bulldogs have the toughest first half of the season, facing the five highest-rated teams within the opening nine rounds, but if they can get through that they do have the "easiest" second half of the campaign in terms of opponents. It's a similar story for the Wests Tigers, who start the season with games against each of last season's top four teams but finish with nine of their last 10 games coming against teams that missed the finals in 2017.

The Broncos meanwhile have a relatively smooth start to the campaign but face the toughest second half of the year on our draw toughness scale.

See the full 2018 draw
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2018 Draw: What you need to know
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