QLD analysis: Holbrook’s baptism, Broncos brimming
THE three Queensland NRL clubs have received differing fortunes in the 2020 NRL draw announced on Tuesday.
Anthony Seibold and Paul Green have plenty of reasons to smile with the release, while incoming Titans coach Justin Holbrook will be questioning why he ever left the UK.
We break down how each of the clubs fared with next season's fixtures.
BRONCOS PREMIERSHIP TILT GIVEN GENEROUS PUSH
The Broncos and Cowboys will face off twice in the opening month of the 2020 NRL season.
The NRL draw released on Tuesday morning revealed the Sunshine State will be treated to blockbuster Queensland derbies to kick off the 2020 season and over the Easter weekend.
As revealed by The Courier-Mail, the Cowboys will host the Broncos at the new 25,000-seat Townsville Stadium in Round 1 next year on Friday, March 13.
The Queensland rivals will clash again in a Good Friday blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium on April 10, a match which could go close to selling out the 52,500-seat Brisbane venue.
The Broncos' first home game will be against former coach Wayne Bennett's Rabbitohs on Friday, March 20, at Suncorp Stadium.
Bennett was victorious in his return to Brisbane this year and will be looking for another win against the Anthony Seibold-coached Broncos.
The Broncos have been dealt a favourable start to the season as they look to bounce back after being thumped 58-0 by Parramatta in the finals last month.
They start the year by facing the Cowboys, Rabbitohs, Titans, Panthers and Cowboys - of which only South Sydney was a finalist in 2019.
The Broncos have 11 Friday night games, four Thursday night games, four Sunday games and only five Saturday games.
Broncos CEO Paul White said he was pleased with the draw.
"We play the best teams at regular intervals at home right across the season, all the way up to a final round showdown with the reigning premier Roosters in Round 25," said White.
The Broncos will round out the season against premiership heavyweights the Storm and Roosters.
COWBOYS PLEASED WITH SEASON AHEAD
The new $250 million Townsville Stadium has secured the North Queensland Cowboys an Anzac Day blockbuster for the first time in a decade.
The Cowboys will host the Bulldogs on Anzac Day at their new home ground next year following the release of the 2020 NRL season draw on Tuesday morning.
Townsville is a city with a proud military presence and the NRL has awarded them one of three Anzac Day games.
The Cowboys will host Brisbane in Round 1 at their new stadium and have a mixed run of games to start the season with clashes against the Bulldogs, Eels and Knights to follow.
They have been given seven home matches in the fan friendly Saturday time slots along with two Thursday night fixtures, two Friday night games and one Sunday evening clash.
"To have more than half of our home games in the Saturday timeslot is a massive win for our members and supporters," Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel said.
"We're thrilled about hosting two games during school holidays, with a Thursday game against the Storm in the Easter holidays and a Sunday game against the Knights on the last weekend of July school holidays.
"We belong to a proud garrison city and we're privileged to have the opportunity to host a game on Anzac Day.
"Overall we believe it's a balanced draw. It honours our request for North Queenslanders to have the best access possible to the new stadium and ensures commercial viability for clubs by sharing in the rotation of slots that are a priority for our broadcast partners."
The Cowboys will not play an away game on a Sunday, helping the club with its heavy travel schedule.
HOLBROOK SET FOR BRUTAL NRL INTRODUCTION
Incoming Titans coach Justin Holbrook will receive a baptism of fire after the reigning wooden spooners were dealt a horror draw to start the 2020 NRL season.
The Titans will face top eight teams in the opening six weeks of the season, including grand finalists the Roosters and Raiders.
They are the only team in the competition to have been scheduled matches against the 2019 top eight in each of the first six weeks.
The Gold Coast will kick-off their 2020 campaign against the Raiders in Canberra on Friday, March 13.
They will then come up against the Eels (fifth in 2019), Broncos (eighth), reigning premiers Sydney, minor premiers Melbourne and Manly (sixth).
The Titans' first match against a bottom eight team from last season will be against the Tigers, who finished ninth, in Round 7.
Fresh off winning the Super League with St Helens, Holbrook will take over the coaching reins from Garth Brennan this week.
And if 2019 form is anything to go by, he faces a challenging start to his tenure on the Gold Coast following the release of the draw.
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