NRL draw 2020: Raiders earn prime time respect
Grand finalists Canberra have finally secured free-to-air recognition with the Raiders nailing down seven games on Channel 9 next season.
So often snubbed for free-to-air exposure, the Raiders will feature on Nine in three of the first five rounds.
Canberra appeared on Nine in five games last year, the increase in 2020 due to the club's barnstorming end to last season.
And in a headline moment, the grand final replay between Canberra and the Sydney Roosters will be played at Perth's HBF Stadium in round 11 on May 23.
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Raiders chief executive Don Furner will front a press conference on Tuesday to discuss his side's draw.
It's not as lopsided as the Brisbane Broncos, who continue their trend of rarely playing on weekends.
In 2020 the Broncos have four Thursday night clashes, 11 Friday games five Saturday and four Sunday fixtures.
The Roosters, chasing the first threepeat of premierships since Parramatta in 1983, will have to catch Saturday night fever to help make it happen. Of their 24 games, 11 are on Saturday night, compared with eight Fridays, four Sunday clashes and the lone Thursday night fixture.
The NRL draw was officially released on Tuesday morning in Sydney with notable talking points including:
^ Games being played in Gosford, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Bathurst, Darwin, Sunshine Coast, Wellington and Perth;
^ Magic Round in Brisbane being condensed from four days to three with one Queensland side to feature each day;
^ The final match at the to-be-revamped ANZ Stadium being played between anchor tenants Canterbury and Souths in round 15;
^ Brisbane having seven Friday night games at Suncorp Stadium - less than previous seasons.
^ North Queensland Stadium in Townsville will officially open in round one with a derby against Brisbane on March 1;
^ The Anzac matches in round seven to be played in Sydney, Gold Coast, Townsville, Canberra, Newcastle, Darwin and Melbourne;
^ Indigenous Round in round 11;
^ More than 20 intra-Sydney rivalry games to be played in crowd-friendly weekend timeslots;
^ Round five Easter games to be Rabbitohs v Bulldogs at ANZ and Broncos v Cowboys at Suncorp on Good Friday with Wests Tigers v Eels at Bankwest on Easter Monday;
^ Fewer five-day turnarounds for players; and
^ Confirmation the season opener will be contested between Parramatta and Canterbury at Bankwest Stadium.
"The game's footprint has never been larger. Next season we play matches in every mainland capital city in Australia as well as two cities in New Zealand,'' NRL chief executive, Todd Greenberg.
"Country Australia will also see the game's best players. Places like Tamworth, Bathurst and Wagga Wagga will continue to host an NRL match which is a wonderful outcome for those communities."