This morning the NRL released the draw for season 2017. Parra’s draw is very interesting to say the least. Without further ado:
1: Sea Eagles v Eels, Brookvale Oval, 4pm – Sunday 5th March
2: Dragons v Eels, WIN Stadium, 6:30pm – Sunday 12th March
3: Titans v Eels, CBus Super Stadium, 8:05pm – Friday 17th March*
4: Eels v Sharks, ANZ Stadium, 7pm – Saturday 25th March
5: Raiders v Eels, GIO Stadium, 5:30pm – Saturday 1st April
6: Warriors v Eels, Mt Smart Stadium, 2pm – Sunday 9th April
7: Eels v Wests Tigers, ANZ Stadium, 4pm – Monday 17th April
8: Eels v Panthers, ANZ Stadium, 3pm – Saturday 22nd April*
9: Cowboys v Eels, 1300Smiles Stadium, 7.50pm – Friday 28th April
10: Roosters v Eels, Allianz Stadium, 4pm – Sunday 14th May
11: Eels v Raiders, ANZ Stadium, 7.30pm – Saturday 20th May
12: Rabbitohs v Eels, ANZ Stadium, 7.50pm – Friday 26th May
13: Eels v Warriors, ANZ Stadium, 7.50pm – Friday 2nd June
14: Eels v Cowboys, TIO Stadium, 7.30pm – Saturday 10th June
15: Eels v Dragons, ANZ Stadium, 4pm – Sunday 18th June
17: Eels v Bulldogs, ANZ Stadium, 7.50pm – Thursday 29th June
18: Storm v Eels, AAMI Park, 7.30pm – Saturday 8th July
20: Wests Tigers v Eels, ANZ Stadium, 4pm – Sunday 23rd July
21: Eels v Broncos, ANZ Stadium
22: Bulldogs v Eels, ANZ Stadium
23: Eels v Knights, ANZ Stadium
24: Eels v Titans, ANZ Stadium
25: Broncos v Eels, Suncorp Stadium
26: Eels v Rabbitohs, ANZ Stadium
Before I move on, quick contrast for our starts and finishes –
We are the home team only THREE times in the first TEN Rounds.
Yet, for the SEVEN games Rounds 20-26 we leave ANZ Stadium ONCE.
OR to look at it another way – for the final FOURTEEN games we play, we leave ANZ Stadium only THREE times (and one of those is to go to Darwin)!
Both ends of our season are CRAZY.
Thanks to NRL.com for their analysis of Parra’s run:
Teams Parra plays twice: Dragons, Titans, Raiders, Warriors, Tigers, Cowboys, Rabbitohs, Broncos, Bulldogs
Teams Parra plays once: Sea Eagles, Sharks, Panthers, Roosters, Storm, Knights
Starting point: The season kicks off against old rivals Manly at Brookvale Oval on a Sunday afternoon before visits to face the Dragons and Titans.
Tough run: The toughest stretch for the Eels really does come right up front. After those above-mentioned three away games the club’s first home game, in Round 4, is against premiers Cronulla before they then pack their bags for trips to Canberra and Auckland. To sneak even three wins from the first six rounds will be an achievement in itself.
Show-stoppers: The Round 1 trip to Brooky is a fair start and the other big clash to circle is the Easter Monday blockbuster at ANZ Stadium against Wests Tigers. It’s the only NRL game on that day so it definitely gets star billing. If both clubs are in contention for top eight or even top four spots then the Round 22 clash at ANZ against bitter cross-town rivals Canterbury will attract huge interest.
Origin impact: (Byes: Round 16 and 19.) the Eels are again the only club to play in all three pre-Origin bye weeks. Their opponents in those weeks (the Dragons, Rabbitohs and Storm) look certain to be more Origin-affected than Parramatta, so on paper the Origin period is pretty kind to the Eels. They do have the latest byes of any club – whether this is a blessing or a curse remains to be seen but they could be more well-rested than the other clubs leading into the finals as a result.