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2022 NRL Draw By The Numbers

The NRL have released the fixtures for the new season ahead, and to over-complicate things as ever, here is our 2022 NRL Draw Analysis.

There are some new venues, the Magic Weekend returns to Brisbane (and hopefully isn’t accompanied by a rule crackdown that ruined last season’s event), plus a season full of interesting matchups.

For our 2022 NRL Draw Analysis we dive into where and when the games are being playing, who gets more Channel Nine games, which team travels the most this season and just how many Broncos games are on a Friday night. “Enjoy it while it lasts Broncos”, says the newly minted Redcliffe Dolphins.

So, for more information than you will ever need, here is the 2022 NRL Draw Analysis.

Related: 2022 NRL Draw: Storm Sitting Pretty and A Rough Ride for Broncos

2022 NRL Draw Analysis – Season Stats by Day

Here is the breakdown for each day this season. No surprise that the Warriors don’t feature on a Thursday because Channel Nine hates the Warriors. They can’t even use the distance to New Zealand as an excuse this season as they are based in Queensland. Half of their games this season fall on a Saturday, which is convenient because Nine don’t broadcast on that date.

The Bulldogs are equally friendless on FTA on Thursday, although that is probably unfairly based on 2021 performances. It’s Nine’s loss as the Dogs should be much better in 2022.

More than half of Brisbane’s games are on a Thursday or Friday. Of course, they are.

Half of the Tigers games are on a Sunday. Rumours of this being done to help the Tigers film a second series of Tiger Town because during the day is better for cameras are not yet confirmed.

2022 NRL Draw Analysis – Season Stats by Distance

So, no surprise that the Cowboys and Storm are the leading travellers in 2022. The Warriors will be home soon enough and will challenge them for top spot next season.

Sydney clubs of course travel the least distance, but we do have the travel distance for first and last six games as a point of interest.

The Cowboys do more travelling in the first six weeks than Souths and Manly do all year. A trade-off for the glorious winter sun we figure. Same for the Cowboys and Titans in the last six weeks.

Canberra does more travelling than the Broncos, which is a bit of a surprise. We figure there won’t be too much travelling for the Broncos on a Friday night.

2022 NRL Draw Analysis – Season Stats by 2021 Opposition Strength

Next up is looking at the draw for each team for the strength of their opposition based on 2021 ladder position. Now the previous season table position isn’t everything, as form and luck can change, but you’d have to think that last year’s top six will be strong again. 

Looking at the overall table you can see the Bulldogs’ tough start to the season: playing the top four from last season back-to-back from Round Three. This will certainly test their squad of new star signings and give a glimpse whether they can move well away from the bottom this season.

Souths and Brisbane must play three of the top five in the first six rounds, which will be particularly hard for Souths given their terrible recent record against Penrith and Melbourne.

The Bulldogs and Dragons have the hardest opening six rounds based on average 2021 position, and the pressure will be on Anthony Griffin early as they play seven of last season’s top eight by Round 10.

The Cowboys and Warriors have the easiest draw for the first six weeks based on 2021 ladder position, and both will need it based on last year’s finishing position. The Cowboys play just one top eight team in the first six games, and the Warriors not one.

2022 NRL Draw Analysis – Season Stats by 2021 TV Games

Time for the annual gripe of which team is favoured by Channel Nine, the choosy FTA broadcaster.

Very few will be surprised to see the Broncos and Eels top the Nine count for 2022. One more year in the sun (floodlights maybe) for the Broncos with the Redcliffe Dolphins coming into the competition from 2023 to steal some of the FTA limelight.

Even less surprising is the Warriors’ one game. Although you’d think that Channel Nine could have whittled that down to zero. Given the Warriors are playing on the Sunshine Coast and Redcliffe (aka Dolphin-land), you’d think they’d throw them a bone. Perhaps Channel Nine just simply hates New Zealand?

Elsewhere ladder position seems to have only affected the amount of FTA for the Bulldogs.

The Wests Tigers are the Sunday AfterNine kings, with no less than eight games.

The Broncos rule Thursday and Friday night.

2022 NRL Draw Analysis – Season Stats by Day Turnaround

Five-day turnarounds can be tough throughout an NRL season, and usually the Sydney clubs do more than out-of-town sides, probably as a square-up for the travelling the other teams have to do.

As such, the Sydney teams dominate the five-day turnaround this season. 

The competition’s furthest travellers – the Cowboys – don’t have to back up as quickly. The Dragons and Knights appear to have missed the 5DTA.

The Panthers are especially lucky, having to do two five-day turnarounds in three rounds.

2022 NRL Draw Analysis – Season Stats by Day and Night

A quick look to see who the night owls are and who are walking more on sunshine.

The day off for a day game is the 4pm-ish kick-off, although that could be fanciful thinking in winter.

The Broncos lead the way for night games as one would probably guess.

Canberra gets the most day games, which is probably a good thing in winter.

Ironically the Knights have the second most day games.

2022 NRL Draw Analysis – Season Stats – Team by Team

Now for the quickest of summaries for each team going into the new season. We highlight the first and last six rounds with average game difficulty based on last season’s ladder position of their opponent. Plus, throw in the breakdown of days played, day v night, and the usual FTA gripe.

We go through each team’s key stats and games ahead of the 2022 NRL season. And if there’s a point of interest or two, we’ll fire it off.

BRISBANE BRONCOS

The Night Owls – the NineOwls if you will. Brisbane can enjoy one last season of the full attention of SEQ. And they have the FTA to match it. One wonder if they will be like the older sibling when the new baby is brought home next season. As a Redcliffe fan, we simply don’t care.

But as ever it’s loads of night games, so hopefully the introduction of a second Brisbane side means more day games for those in SEQ who love their Sunday footy. Unbeknown to Gus Gould, Queenslanders also love their Sunday footy. It’s just his mob don’t give us much of a chance. Sadly, even the Queensland Cup has moved a lot their games to Saturday nights.

Back to the 2022 season again.

The Broncos, along with the Sea Eagles, are the top teams for games on a Thursday and Friday.

KEY GAMES

R3 – Sunday 27th March v Cowboys (a rare Sunday game v Cowboys) at Suncorp Stadium 

The last Sunday game between these sides was in 2016 – the grand final which the Cowboys pinched 17-16. Prior to that, these teams haven’t met on a Sunday since 2005.

R12 – Friday 27th May v Titans at Suncorp Stadium
R23 – Friday 19th August v Storm at Suncorp Stadium

CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS

The Bulldogs and Dragons have the hardest opening six rounds based on average 2021 position: they are lucky enough to get all top four sides from last season in a row from Round Three. And the competition’s longest current journey of a trip to Townsville. If they are at 50%-win rate by Round Six they are in super shape.

The Bulldogs have the equal most turnarounds of seven days or more in 2022.

They get to play the Broncos in Round Two and Seven. Hopefully both are an improvement on the game at Suncorp last season.

The Bulldogs’ most frequent playing day is Sunday in 2022, they won just one of nine Sunday games last season. At least that was the last one against the Tigers.

KEY GAMES

R14 – Monday 13th June v Parramatta @ Stadium Australia

NORTH QLD COWBOYS

With the Warriors based in SEQ for most of the season, the Cowboys are the team most travelled in 2022.

They have one of the easiest openings to the season but also travel the most. They travel more in the first six weeks than two sides do all season. But do get three home games in four to start the season.

For some reason they play Canberra twice in the first six weeks of the season too. The H2H on those games will be a good insight for both teams’ final aspirations.

KEY GAMES

R3 – Sunday 27th March @ Broncos (a rare Sunday game v Brisbane)

R16 – Saturday 2nd July v Broncos

R21 – Sunday 7th August v Bulldogs in Bundaberg

 

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS

Repeated from above – but still worth it – is that the Dragons have the hardest opening six rounds based on average 2021 position, and the pressure will be on Anthony Griffin early as they play seven of last season’s top eight by Round 10.

The Dragons have the second easiest end to the season. They play the fewest top eight teams from Round 13 onwards.

KEY GAMES

R3 – Thursday 24th March v Cronulla @ Win Stadium

R21 – Saturday 6th August @ Cronulla

PARRAMATTA EELS

Only the Cowboys and Canberra do more travelling in the first 10 rounds of the 2022 season.

But then Parramatta are the only team to travel less than 1,000km after Round 13.

KEY GAMES

R6 – Monday 18th April v Tigers @ CommBank Stadium

R20 – Friday 29th July v Penrith @ CommBank Stadium

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

A good run home for the Knights in 2022 based on the 2021 ladder. They don’t play anyone higher than eighth from last season. Although the group does include likely improvers in the Bulldogs and Broncos.

KEY GAMES

R5 – Thursday 7th April v Manly

PENRITH PANTHERS

Penrith play the most Friday games in 2022. Penrith lost three games last regular season, but two of those were on a Friday.

KEY MATCHES

R3 – Saturday 26th March v Knights in Bathurst

R4 – Friday April 1st v Rabbitohs in Penrith – Grand Final Replay

R9 – Friday 6th May v Parramatta in Penrith 

SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS

The Rabbitohs have the fewest turnaround of seven days or more in 2022.

Souths and Brisbane must play three of the top five in the first six rounds, which will be particularly hard for Souths given their terrible recent record against Penrith and Melbourne.

The Rabbitohs travel less than 50km in the last six rounds of the season

KEY GAMES

R1 – Friday 11th March v Broncos @ Suncorp – Adam Reynolds v old club.

R3 – Friday 25th March v Roosters @ Stadium Australia

R4 – Friday 1st April v Penrith @ Penrith

R25 – Friday 22nd August v Roosters @ TBA

CANBERRA RAIDERS

The Raiders play more day games than any other team in 2022.

Canberra has the equal most turnarounds of seven days or more in 2022.

Canberra plays the most games with a 4pm kick off.

And the most games on a combined Saturday/Sunday: 21/24 of their games.

KEY GAMES

R4 – Saturday 2nd April v Manly @ Mudgee

R5 – Saturday 9th April v Melbourne @ Wagga

R11 – Sunday 22nd May v Rabbitohs @ Dubbo

SYDNEY ROOSTERS

The Roosters get a sweet run of four home games in their last five clashes.

KEY GAMES

R3 – Friday 25th March v Rabbitohs @ Stadium Australia

R25 – Friday 22nd August v Rabbitohs @ TBA

MANLY WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES

Manly travel the least of any team in 2022.

KEY MATCHES

R1 – Thursday 10th March @ Penrith

R16 – Thursday June 30th v Melbourne @ Brookvale

CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS

The Sharks have the equal most turnarounds of seven days or more in 2022.

The last time Cronulla played at their home ground in Cronulla, COVID-19 hadn’t yet been heard of.

KEY MATCHES

R3 – Thursday 24th March v Dragons @ Win Stadium

R21 – Saturday 6th August v Dragons @ Shark Park

December 10, 2021 – Paul Gallen v Josh Aloiai

MELBOURNE STORM

KEY MATCHES

R7 – Monday 25th April v Warriors

R10 – Saturday 14h May v Penrith @ Suncorp Stadium

R15 – Friday 17th June v Broncos

WESTS TIGERS

The Tigers are the number one team for 4pm kick offs in 2022 with nine games.

Tigers most frequent day for games next season is Sunday, they have a 50%-win rate on a Sundays last year.

KEY GAMES

R17 – Saturday 9th July v Parramatta @ Leichhardt

R18 – Sunday 17th July v Penrith @ CommBank Stadium

R22 – Saturday 13th August v Sharks @ Tamworth

GOLD COAST TITANS

KEY MATCHES

R2 – Saturday 19th March v Warriors

R9 – Saturday 7th May v Roosters in Mackay

R15 – Saturday 18th June v Cronulla in Coffs Harbour

R18 – Saturday 16th July v Broncos 

NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS

The Warriors play at the most different grounds in 2021: 15.

The Warriors have the equal easiest start to the season based on opponents 2021 ladder position.

33% of the Warriors games this season kick off at 3pm.

KEY GAMES

R4 – Saturday 2nd April v Broncos @ Moreton Daily Stadium – first game at new home

R7 – Monday 25th April @ Melbourne for Anzac Day

R15 – Saturday 18th June v Penrith @ Mt Smart Stadium – a disgrace this isn’t game of the weekend and on FTA.

NOTE: This article was originally from The Gurgler website and has been borrowed with the author’s permission. You can check out the original article here, which includes a lot of detailed graphs and stats.

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Comments (2)

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    […] A Comprehensive Analysis of the 2022 NRL Draw […]

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