You can’t say he didn’t earn it.
The NRL has confirmed the draw for Week 1 of the 2020 finals series.
While the make-up of the top eight was set after Saturday night’s fixtures, the exact dates, kick-off times and venues for each of the four finals next weekend have now been announced.
Minor premiers Penrith have the unenviable task of beginning their finals campaign against the defending champions, the Sydney Roosters. That first versus fourth clash will be the first final of the year, to be played at the foot of the mountains at Panthers Stadium on Friday at 7:50pm. The winner of that qualifying final will progress immediately to the preliminary finals and earn a week off in the process.
Saturday, as always, has two finals in Week 1. The Canberra Raiders will get that action underway at 5:40pm when they host the Cronulla Sharks in the nation’s capital at GIO Stadium in the first elimination final.
Attention then moves north to Queensland where the Melbourne Storm ‘host’ the Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium, the winner of that match booking themselves a spot in the preliminary finals – and a week off as well. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:50pm.
The weekend’s footy wraps up with a Sunday 4:05pm elimination final between the Rabbitohs and Newcastle Knights. South Sydney earned hosting rights for that match thanks to their Round 20 win over the Roosters (and the Knights’ loss to the Titans), so ANZ Stadium is the venue.
First qualifying final: Penrith Panthers vs Sydney Roosters
Friday October 2, 7:50pm (AEST), Panthers Stadium
First elimination final: Canberra Raiders vs Cronulla Sharks
Saturday October 3, 5:40pm (AEST), GIO Stadium
Second qualifying final: Melbourne Storm vs Parramatta Eels
Saturday October 3, 7:50pm (AEST), Suncorp Stadium
Second elimination final: South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Newcastle Knights
Sunday October 4, 4:05pm (AEST), ANZ Stadium