29 October 2019

NRL 2020 draw sees Raiders, Brumbies in historic Auckland doubleheader

| Dominic Giannini
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Raiders kick off

The Raiders will kick off their campaign against the Gold Coast Titans at GIO Stadium. Photo: File.

The Raiders and the Brumbies will feature in a historic doubleheader at Auckland’s Eden Park next year, with both teams playing back-to-back on 21 March.

The Raiders will take on the New Zealand Warriors at 3:00 pm (ADST) before the Brumbies tackle the Auckland Blues at 5:35 pm (ADST) for trans-Tasman bragging rights.

Raiders CEO Don Furner said the doubleheader gave both codes the opportunity to take part in a first for both competitions with an inaugural NRL-Super Rugby crossover.

“The Raiders are looking forward to being part of a unique fan experience and the doubleheader with the Brumbies at a world-class venue like Eden Park should draw a big crowd,” Mr Furner said.

“This history-making event is a chance for both codes to showcase their teams on the big stage, and hopefully we see a Raiders and Brumbies double on the night.”

On top of the trans-Tasman games, eight NRL games will be held in regional areas including Tamworth, Wagga Wagga and Bathurst.

The Raiders will open their campaign against the Gold Coast Titans as the wooden-spooners travel south to face the Raiders at GIO Stadium on Friday, 13 March, but will have to wait until round 11 (23 May) and travel to Perth to avenge their grand final loss to the Sydney Roosters.

NRL CEO Todd Greenburg has described next year’s draw as one of the most challenging timetables ever, with renovations at ANZ Stadium, Allianz Stadium and Cronulla’s Shark Park proving to be a logistical nightmare.

With over 125 trillion possible combinations for the draw, the final copy includes more regional games and fewer five-day turnarounds than last year.

“We are proud of this schedule,” Mr Greenberg said. “It’s a win for our fans and a win for our players while still providing our broadcast partners, who invest so much into our game, with gripping content.”

Mr Greenberg said developing the draw for 2020 was the most challenging the NRL has confronted.

It presented a challenge to Canadian software firm Optimal Planning Solutions, which was again employed to crunch the numbers, delivering a list of more than 2000 initial schedules, which was then reduced to 150 after being tested against key criteria.

Fifteen schedules were then selected for a full review.

Canberra Raiders’s first five rounds:

  • Round 1: Raiders v Titans at GIO Stadium – 13 March at 6:00 pm
  • Round 2: Warriors v Raiders at Eden Park – 21 March at 3:00 pm
  • Round 3: Dragons v Raiders at GIO Stadium – 26 March at 8:05 pm
  • Round 4: Raiders v Sea Eagles at GIO Stadium – 3 April at 6:00 pm
  • Round 5: Panthers v Raiders at Panthers Stadium – 12 April at 4:05 pm.

The full draw is available at NRL.com.

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