Penrith will have a chance to seek revenge against Melbourne for this year’s Grand Final loss when the two sides clash in a round three blockbuster at Panthers Stadium in 2021.
The NRL has released the 2021 draw today, scheduling the Grand Final replay on Thursday, March 25 at 8.05pm. It’ll be live on Channel Nine.
The Panthers open their season at home against North Queensland on Saturday, March 13 at 7.35pm.
Penrith’s home schedule consists of mainly Friday and Saturday games with one Thursday and one Sunday match.
Home games will be played against the Cowboys, Storm, Raiders, Knights, Sea Eagles, Sharks, Bulldogs, Roosters, Eels, Broncos, Rabbitohs and Tigers.
The match against Manly in round eight will be played in Bathurst.
Penrith are also off to regional NSW in May when they’ll play an away game against South Sydney in Dubbo.
Magic Round returns to the NRL schedule this year with all eight NRL matches in round 10 to be played at Suncorp Stadium. The Panthers will play the Titans in the Sunday 6.25pm slot.
State of Origin will return to a mid-season schedule with a stand-alone game on Sunday, June 27 and two matches to be played on Wednesdays.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said 2021 would see a return to the structure of a normal season but more unpredictability on the field.
“This schedule is about our fans, our players and our clubs,’’ he said.
“It rewards their discipline, determination and sacrifice last season. More games are in family-friendly slots, there are fewer five-day turnarounds and a more even balance of clubs in television timeslots.
“On the field, it will be anything but normal. Our clubs will have an off-season to consider new innovations from the Commission which will ensure our game is more entertaining and free flowing than ever before.”
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.