Julian Keith and Nathan Davis
A SUNDAY afternoon Round 2 classic featuring Bulldogs v Eels, a Friday night Round 3 showdown between the Eels and premiers Sydney Roosters, and the Good Friday blockbuster Bulldogs v Rabbitohs on 19 April . . . just some of the highlights of a cracking first month of NRL footy at Stadium Australia in 2019.
The NRL has released its 2019 Telstra Premiership draw, setting up some mouth-watering home ground games for the Stadium’s two major tenants, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Bulldogs will play nine home games at Stadium Australia in season 2019, starting with a family-friendly 4.05pm kick-off to Bulldogs v Eels in Round 2 on Sunday 24 March.
The Rabbitohs will play nine home games at Stadium Australia, starting with a Sunday evening Round 3 clash with the Gold Coast Titans on 31 March. Kick-off to that match is at 6.10pm.
The Parramatta Eels will play two early-season home games at Stadium Australia – against reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters in Round 3 on Friday 29 March at 7.55pm and against the Sharks in Round 4 on Saturday 6 April (7.35pm). The Eels will play their first home game at the new Western Sydney Stadium in their Parramatta heartland against Wests Tigers on Easter Monday 22 April.
The Bulldogs have hosting rights at Stadium Australia for the annual Good Friday game against arch-rivals the Rabbitohs in 2019 – a match that invariably draws the biggest Sydney NRL crowd of the season.
Rabbitohs Members will have reciprocal entry rights to the Good Friday classic while Bulldogs Members will get reciprocal entry rights in the return game on Saturday 17 August.
Among other home-game highlights in season 2019, the Bulldogs will host the St George Illawarra Dragons on the Queen’s Birthday holiday on Monday 10 June (4pm kick-off), and two Sunday afternoon all-Sydney games against the Cronulla Sharks in Round 15 (4.05pm) and the Roosters in Round 19 (2pm).
The South Sydney Rabbitohs have a series of blockbuster home games at the back end of the season, including match-ups against the St George Illawarra Dragons in Round 19 on Friday 26 July, the Bulldogs in Round 22 on Saturday 17 August, and a Round 25 clash against arch-rivals the Roosters on Thursday 5 September.
All up, Stadium Australia Members and fans will witness 20 regular-season NRL matches in 2019 – with four Sunday games and eight Saturday games, plus a holiday Monday afternoon scheduling.
Stadium Australia will also host the potentially series-deciding Game III of Holden State of Origin on Wednesday 10 July.
The 2019 NRL Finals series will kick off on Friday 13 September with the 2019 Telstra Premiership Grand Final Sydney at Stadium Australia on Sunday 6 October.