The full NRL draw has been set for the 2022 season and was released by the league on Tuesday. Coming off of an unbelievable 2021 season, there are some must-watch games in the opening rounds.
Round 1 will see the Manly Sea Eagles face off against the reigning premier Penrith Panthers. Both teams know how to test each other, with Penrith being one of the best defensive sides last season, and Manly being one of the best offensive sides, it’s sure to be an epic duel.
Another blockbuster Round 1 match up to keep an eye on will be when the grand finalist South Sydney Rabbitohs confront the new-look Brisbane Broncos, lead by their ex-star halfback Adam Reynolds.
Reynolds won’t have to wait long to face his old side, and he knows better than anyone how formidable they can be on the field.
Not only will they have a big opening night, but across the draw, the Broncos will be facing an uphill battle: playing a top-eight team (from the 2021 season) 14 times in their schedule during the season.
On top of having to face a top-eight team 14 times, and a top-four team six times, the Broncos have drawn the short straw and will only come across a bottom-four team five times.
The other two teams who have misfortune with their schedules are the Sydney Roosters and Paramatta Eels. Both sides will have to play against all of the top-four teams twice.
On the other hand, the Melbourne Storm are sitting pretty, hosting five of their seven opening games on home turf at AAMI Park: facing the Rabbitohs, Eels, Bulldogs, Sharks, and Warriors down in Victoria all before Round 8.
Yet to make up for this nice run the Storm will see themselves up against Penrith, South Sydney and Manly on multiple occasions.
Led by 2021 Dally M Coach of the year Craig Bellamy, the Storm have lost a star in Josh Addo-Carr and are facing player suspensions with Brandon Smith and Cameron Munster. But there is no doubt that the side will remain as one of the major players heading into next season.
Most other sides have a fairly consistent schedule compared to the Broncos and Storm, facing off between the top and bottom teams throughout their individual stints.
With new faces in new teams and bad blood from finals, there is sure to be some unforgettable action about to take place in the upcoming NRL season.
Click here to view the full draw of games for 2022.