The NRL have released the 2017 Telstra Premiership schedule on Thursday, which sees the St George Illawarra Dragons open their season with back-to-back home games against the Penrith Panthers at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah and the Parramatta Eels at WIN Stadium, Wollongong.
“It will be great to start the season with back to back home games,” said Dragons prop Tariq Sims.
“Hopefully we can pack out Kogarah and Wollongong and have big home crowds and a great atmosphere to help kick-start our 2017 season.
“Pre-season training is going really well and now the draw is out, it means we are one step closer to getting out there and playing.
“The boys can’t wait for the season to start.”
The NRL were only able to provide three of their obligated four match-ups in support of the “Right Game Right Venue Strategy” within the 2017 draw and as such, the Dragons will play only three games under this strategy next season, with the fourth game returning to a more appropriate suburban venue.
“Our four-year ‘Right Game Right Venue Strategy’ was designed as a platform for economic enhancement and growth and relied upon the NRL’s commitments in regards to games against other Sydney teams with large supporter bases who play at the larger venues,” said Dragons CEO Peter Doust.
“In 2017 the NRL have not been able to deliver the right games’ as per their undertakings so as such, we won’t be taking a visiting team with travelling fans who we can fit into our smaller suburban venues, to a larger venue, this is not what this strategy was about.
“For the benefit of our Red V Members and supporters we have determined that the best outcome for everyone in 2017 is to take this additional Sydney game (Warriors Rnd 4) to UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah, meaning that we will play five regular season home games at this venue in 2017.
“We understand and appreciate the complexities associated with the NRL draw process and we have our own complexities with respect to venue availability in trying to determine the most appropriate split of our home games and opposing teams across our playing venues.
“As well as delivering a fifth game to UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah, we were also able to deliver Sydney clubs Parramatta Eels and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles to the WIN Stadium, Wollongong schedule.
"Pleasingly for everyone, none of our home games are impacted by ‘Origin stand-downs’.
“This is the final year of our existing ‘Right Game Right Venue’ strategy commitments, which will be reviewed throughout next season for 2018 and beyond.”
Red V Members and Corporate Partners with packages and allocations for an anticipated home game at Allianz Stadium in 2017 will be contacted directly with a number of options for consideration, noting that the traditional ANZAC Day clash is a Roosters home game in 2017.
The Dragons 2017 Home Draw therefore is as follows:
UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah
Round 1 v Penrith Panthers on Saturday afternoon, March 4 (4.30pm)
Round 4 v New Zealand Warriors on Sunday afternoon/evening, March 26 (6.30pm)
Round 10 v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks on Friday evening, May 12 (6.00pm)
Round 16 v Newcastle Knights on Sunday afternoon, June 25 (2.00pm)
Round 23 v Gold Coast Titans on the weekend of Thursday, August 10 - Sunday, August 13
WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Round 2 v Parramatta Eels on Sunday evening, March 12 (6.30pm)
Round 7 v North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday night, April 15 (7.30pm)
Round 9 v Melbourne Storm on Sunday afternoon, April 30 (4.00pm)
Round 20 v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles on Sunday afternoon, July 23 (2.00pm)
Round 13 v Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on Saturday afternoon, June 3 (3.00pm)
Round 26 v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park on the weekend of Thursday, August 31 - Sunday, September 3
Sydney Cricket Ground
Round 22 v South Sydney Rabbitohs at the SCG on the weekend of Thursday, August 3 - Sunday, August 6
Red V Members who have already purchased Kogarah Pass Membership (four home games at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah) will have the opportunity to upgrade to five home games for 2017.
The Dragons are working with the ticketing provider on the logistics and operational requirements, and will make direct contact with all Members once more information is available.
The NRL and Broadcast Partners Channel 9 and Fox Sports have agreed that the specific scheduling for the final six rounds of the 2016 season will be announced later in the season.