Draw 2018: Analysis

Rabbitohs Members have secured a fantastic NRL Draw for 2018 and there's plenty of exciting opportunities to watch your Rabbitohs soldiers live! We've broken down the draw to give you a better understanding of what to expect in 2018.

See the draw here.

Summary

Ticketed Members will have access to 16 matches in 2018:

  • 9 ANZ Stadium Home Games
  • 4 Free Away Games (Reciprocal)
  • Central Coast Stadium Game
  • Charity Shield
  • Bonus Double Header game in Round 3

There will be seve day-time home games in 2018 and seven weekend or public holiday games. There are no home games in the Friday 6pm time slot and only two Thursday night home fixtures.

Teams we play twice: Broncos, Raiders, Bulldogs, Warriors, Cowboys, Eels, Dragons, Roosters, Wests Tigers.

Teams we play once: Sharks, Titans, Sea Eagles, Storm, Knights, Panthers.

Starting point

It's the longest road trip in the NRL and it's one that has haunted the Warriors for more than two decades. No matter the opponent or the venue, the men from across the ditch simply cannot get it done in Perth. They are winless from nine matches in Western Australia, and while several of those have been in heartbreaking fashion there's no escaping their woeful record. Fatigue won't be a factor when they travel west next year to open the new Perth Stadium in an historic double-header against the Rabbitohs, but history suggests they'll start as outsiders given they are 0-3 against the us in WA. 

The Rabbitohs then take on three Sydney rivals starting with the Panthers at Penrith in Round 2. Two home games against arch enemies Manly and Canterbury follow at ANZ Stadium, before a clash with the Bulldogs in the traditional Good Friday blockbuster.

Show-stoppers

An expected sell-out crowd of 60,000 at the unveiling of Perth Stadium is an inspiring way to begin a long campaign, you can expect 50,000 people to attend the Round three double-header and the Good Friday blockbuster against the Bulldogs in Round 4 should ensure South Sydney's average home crowds are very healthy over the first month of the season.

It will be just shy of six years since South Sydney last played at UOW Jubilee Oval when they face the Dragons in Round 5 (with free access for Rabbitohs Ticketed Members) and with a meeting against fierce local rivals the Roosters a week later at Allianz there will be no lack of atmosphere at Rabbitohs games early in 2018.

The Run In

With the return of Greg Inglis, signing Wally Lewis Medal winning winger Dane Gagai, a fit and firing Sam Burgess, a new coach and style of play and the emergence of first-grade players like Crichton, Murray, Fuimaono and Campbell Graham at the end of 2017 - we're planning on playing football in September.

Even more exciting for Ticketed Members is the run in to the finals. Members will have access to a huge month of football at ANZ Stadium with five back-to-back games taking place:

Round 18

Bulldogs

Saturday 14 July, 3:00pm

Away (Reciprocal)

Round 19

Tigers

Saturday 21 July, 5:30pm

Away (Reciprocal)

Round 20

Eels

Saturday 28 July, 5:30pm

Home

Round 21

Storm

Friday 3 August, 7:50pm

Home

Round 22

Roosters

Friday 10 August, 7:50pm

Home

Challenge

An eight-week stretch in the middle of the season where the Rabbitohs play only three games at ANZ Stadium will be an excellent test of new coach Anthony Seibold's credentials. In Round 9 the Rabbitohs head north of Sydney to take on the Knights and after a clash with the Dragons back on home soil there are back-to-back away trips to Townsville and Auckland that should provide a stark contrast in terms of playing conditions. A visit to the Gold Coast and then a home game in Cairns against the Cowboys in Round 16 rounds out a hectic two-month period.

Origin impact

Queensland reps Greg Inglis and Dane Gagai will miss the Round 13 local derby against the Sharks if they are in camp with the Maroons for Origin I as expected, but that is the only game for which they will be unavailable. Any Souths Origin reps could be forced to back up just two days after the series opener in Melbourne to play the Titans on the Gold Coast and they're looking at another short turnaround after Origin III in Brisbane, a date with the Bulldogs on Saturday night awaiting them in Round 18.

Road Trips

Charity Shield

The good news for country rugby league Members is the move of the annual Charity Shield hit-out in 2018 from ANZ Stadium to Mudgee – a ripper of a town only three hours west of Sydney and known largely for its fantastic scenery and spectacular wineries.

Expect details of a Rabbitohs Supporter Tour to be released closer to the date!

When: Charity Shield – South Sydney Rabbitohs vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Where: Glen Willow Stadium, Mudgee
Date: Saturday 24 February

Round One

Admittedly this one isn't so much a 'road trip' but it's a fantastic opportunity to jet to the western side of the country. Worldwide music sensation Ed Sheeran might be in town a week earlier to warm up Perth Stadium but the real action kicks off on March 10 at the venue.

Under new coach Anthony Seibold we'll tackle the Warriors first-up, followed by a Bulldogs side at the start of a new era with key signings Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran taking on defending premiers Melbourne to open their campaign.

The NRL's double-header scheduling gives footy fans enough time to travel across to the other side of Australia and back in the space of a weekend. But why the rush to leave? It never rains and it's always 30 degrees, making it the place to be. Check out the Bell Tower and war memorial for good measure, you won't regret it.

When: Round 1 – Rabbitohs v Warriors and Bulldogs v Storm
Where: Perth Stadium
Date: Saturday, March 10.

Round 16

Speaking of weather, the Rabbitohs' annual trip north to Cairns has been the perfect excuse to skip the cold of Sydney and with the Rabbitohs agreement not guarenteed beyond 2018 is only more enticing for fans to give it a go if they haven't already.

South Sydney host the Cowboys on July 1 at Barlow Park for the third straight season and the players give the trip nothing but rave reviews each year. Australia's Great Barrier Reef is a bucket list experience so take the opportunity to explore it a day earlier while you're at it.  

When: Round 16 – South Sydney Rabbitohs v North Queensland Cowboys.
Where: Barlow Park, Cairns
Date: Saturday, July 1.