Penrith will head to the nation’s capital to kick off their 2016 NRL campaign, with a round one clash against Canberra scheduled for Saturday, March 5 at 3pm.
It’s the first time the Panthers have started the season away from home in five years.
The NRL released the long-awaited 2016 draw this afternoon, with times and dates for the first 20 rounds confirmed. Scheduling for the remaining rounds will be confirmed next year.
The Panthers will play their first home game at Pepper Stadium against the Bulldogs on Thursday, March 10 at 8.05pm.
The Panthers will again travel to Bathurst in 2016, playing the Raiders in round 9 on Saturday, April 30.
Penrith has also confirmed they will take a home game to Christchurch in New Zealand next year, and in 2017.
Panthers Executive General Manager Phil Gould heralded the deal as a significant step in the growth and development of rugby league.
“Panthers is extremely excited about the opportunity to take NRL football to the city of Christchurch,” Mr Gould said.
“Over the next four years we hope to build a strong relationship with the area and have committed ourselves to the promotion and development of rugby league through junior league and schools programs.
“I know this joint venture with Christchurch will prove to be an outstanding success.”
PANTHERS 2016 NRL DRAW
Round 1: v Raiders – Sat March 5, 3pm @ GIO Stadium
Round 2: v Bulldogs – Thu March 10, 8.05pm @ Pepper Stadium
Round 3: v Broncos – Sat March 19, 7.30pm @ Pepper Stadium
Round 4: v Dragons – Sun March 27, 4pm @ WIN Stadium
Round 5: v Eels – Sun April 3, 4pm @ Pirtek Stadium
Round 6: v Cowboys – Sat April 9, 7.30pm @ Pepper Stadium
Round 7: v Roosters – Mon April 18, 7pm @ Allianz Stadium
Round 8: v Sharks – Sun April 24, 4pm @ Shark Park
Round 9: v Raiders – Sun April 30, 3pm @ Carrington Park, Bathurst
Round 10: v Warriors – Sat May 14, 3pm @ AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Round 11: v Titans – Sun May 22, 2pm @ Pepper Stadium
Round 12: Bye
Round 13: v Storm – Sat June 4, 7.30pm @ AAMI Park
Round 14: v Sea Eagles – Sun June 12, 4pm @ Brookvale Oval
Round 15: Bye
Round 16: v Rabbitohs – Fri June 24, 7.50pm @ Pepper Stadium
Round 17: v Tigers – Sat July 2, 5.30pm @ ANZ Stadium
Round 18: v Sharks – Sun July 10, 4pm @ Pepper Stadium
Round 19: v Eels – Sun July 17, 4pm @ Pepper Stadium
Round 20: v Broncos – Fri July 22, 7.50pm @ Suncorp Stadium
Round 21: v Warriors @ Mt Smart Stadium
Round 22: v Roosters @ Pepper Stadium
Round 23: v Knights @ Hunter Stadium
Round 24: v Tigers @ Pepper Stadium
Round 25: v Titans @ Cbus Super Stadium
Round 26: v Sea Eagles @ Pepper Stadium
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.