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 match-ups.
For our 2022 NRL Draw Analysis we dive into where and when the games are being playing, who gets more Channel Nein 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.
NOTE 1: 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.
NOTE 2: As a stylistic (and parody) choice, the author refers to Channel Nine as “Channel Nein”, which has been kept for this version.
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 Nein 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 Nein 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 Nein’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 do 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 have to 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 Nein, the choosy FTA broadcaster.
Very few will be surprised to see the Broncos and Eels top the Nein 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 Nein 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 Nein 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 AfterNein kings, with no less than eight games.
The Broncos rule Thursday and Friday night.