Penrith will face a blockbuster opening month of NRL showdowns, highlighted by Brisbane’s quest for Grand Final revenge at BlueBet Stadium in Round 3.
The NRL draw for 2024 was released this morning, confirming the Panthers will open their season away from home for the first time since 2017 against the Storm in Melbourne.
That match will be followed by home games against the Eels and Broncos and then a showdow nagainst the Roosters at Allianz Stadium.
Key elements of Penrith’s draw include:
- The Panthers will take the Wests Tigers to Bathurst for the second year in a row – with the annual match scheduled for Saturday, April 20 at 3pm.
- Stephen Crichton’s return to Penrith will be on Friday, May 10 at 6pm when the Panthers face the Bulldogs at BlueBet Stadium.
- The Panthers will play the Warriors in Magic Round, with the game scheduled for 1.50pm on Sunday, May 19.
- Penrith to finish the season with two straight home games against the Rabbitohs and Titans.
- After being pushed to Thursday fixtures last year, both Battle of the West games against Parramatta have the key Friday late game timelsot.
In a major win for fans of afternoon football, the Panthers will host four Sunday afternoon games next year – against the Sea Eagles, Cowboys, Dolphins and Knights. It will be the first time the Dolphins have played in Penrith.
No team will have more than three five-day turnarounds and total five-day turnarounds have been reduced from 30 in 2023 to 26 in 2024.
“We have so much to look forward to in Season 2024,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.
“For the first time ever, we also announce next season’s NRLW schedule alongside the NRL competition, empowering fans to plan for an entire season of witnessing their favourite teams, both male and female, in thrilling, unmissable on-field action.
“The Premiership kicks off a weekend early in Las Vegas giving fans an extra week of football and an enormous opportunity to launch the biggest season of Rugby League. The 2024 Premiership will be 32 weekends of football, packed with themed rounds, rivalries, excitement, and anticipation.
“The opening and closing rounds will have fans on the edge of their seats with big rivalry derbies and blockbuster match ups throughout.
“I’d like to thank our broadcast partners Channel Nine, Fox Sports, Sky Sports New Zealand and naming rights partner Telstra for their investment and support of the game.”
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.