NRL centenary starts with local derbies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL centenary starts with local derbies

19/10/2007 10:48:40 PM Comments (0)

Local derbies and historical sentiment will be the order of the first round as the NRL looks to kick off rugby league's centenary season with a bang.

The 2008 NRL draw has been revealed with a host of mouth-watering clashes in the opening round starting March 14.

The blockbuster clashes include Parramatta up against the Bulldogs, Wests Tigers versus St George Illawarra, Manly taking on Cronulla and the traditional South Sydney v Sydney Roosters clash.

Melbourne will kick-off their premiership defence against the New Zealand Warriors at Olympic Park.

The new-look draw will see an extra bye with the number of local derbies and marquee matches increased, the key change being a move away from the previous pool system.

Each club was asked to nominate which teams it would most want to play to attract the most fans, based on either traditional rivalry or on the basis of maximising attendance.

The top four requests of each club were met.

Features of the draw see all Queensland teams playing each other twice, and a Heritage round in round 6 as the game celebrates exactly 100 years since the first premiership game.

"It's going to be a special season for many reasons and we've ensured the draw highlights the game's centenary milestones, but it's the week in and week out contests in a close competition that will drive fans to the games," NRL chief executive David Gallop said.

"There isn't a team in the competition that won't go into 2008 without believing it can make the finals and there are millions of fans who are wishing their campaign would start next week instead of March 14."

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