Panthers in NRL schedule drama

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Penrith’s round 25 clash with the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium is set to be moved to Thursday, August 29 after the AFL essentially forced Canterbury out of their home ground.

The game was originally scheduled for Friday, August 30 and would have been given the prime live broadcast spot on Channel Nine.

But the AFL yesterday schedueld the Sydney Swans v Hawthorn clash for the same night, and the NRL has all but agreed to move the Panthers / Bulldogs game.

The NRL said yesterday that it was “working to resolve the issue”, but it has emerged today that the most likely scenario is moving the game to the Thursday night. 

No other match had been scheduled for the Thursday night. Moving the game to this timeslot would avoid the NRL having to potentially move another game to the Friday night to meet its broadcasting commitments with Channel Nine.

The most likely game to move would have been the top four battle between Manly and Melbourne, scheduled for the Saturday night.

The NRL would be unlikely to shift the game to Sunday because the Bulldogs play the following Thursday against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.

“We are in a situation where despite the best of intentions on all sides a clash has occurred and we are looking at rescheduling the order of our games,” NRL Director of Marketing and Commercial, Paul Kind, said yesterday.

Some league fans have expressed anger that the NRL didn’t put up a fight to maintain the original timeslot.

However, it is understood that all parties were aware that the AFL had first rights to the venue. The NRL schedueld the game on the Friday night anyway, knowing that the Swans could kick them out and create a publicity storm.

A final decision on when the game will be played will be made today.

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