The Titans, Warriors and Roosters will be tested by a tricky draw in 2020 while Manly and Wests Tigers have among the most generous fixture lists according to analysis of next season's NRL draw.
While footy fans will be taking a close look at five-day turnarounds, the expected travel toll and the Origin schedule for their club, there's a simple guide to how "hard" or "easy" a draw is: which opponents will your team face?
All teams will play 24 regular season matches, and in a 16-team competition that means your club will face six teams once and nine teams twice. Playing the previous season's wooden spooners twice obviously makes life a little easier than playing the premiers twice.
We've run the numbers across the 2020 Telstra Premiership draw, ranking the difficulty of each team's fixture list.
Each opponent was attributed a score out of 16 – premiership favourites the Roosters were worth 16 points while last-ranked Gold Coast were 1 point.
Going through each club's schedule and adding up the totals for their fixture lists gives us this ranking of each club's draw difficulty, from hardest to easiest.
1. Titans (222 points)
2. Warriors (220)
3. Roosters (217)
4. Broncos (216)
=4. Bulldogs (216)
=4. Dragons (216)
7. Storm (213)
8. Rabbitohs (211)
9. Sharks (209)
10. Knights (208)
11. Raiders (207)
=11. Cowboys (207)
=11. Eels (207)
=11. Panthers (207)
15. Wests Tigers (206)
16. Sea Eagles (202)
One thing that stands out is that the schedule appears more even across the board than in previous years. The last time we ran these numbers a couple of years ago the gap between the toughest draw (234 points) and easiest (170) was much wider than next season's edition.
The Gold Coast's start to the season is just about as daunting as it gets, with games against each of last year's grand finalists the Raiders and Roosters plus the Eels, Broncos, Storm and Sea Eagles in the opening six rounds.
Across the season, the Titans have seven matches against predicted top-four opponents and just five against clubs tipped to finish in the bottom four.
The Gold Coast themselves are one of those clubs, and obviously can't play themselves, so it's no real surprise to see them at the wrong end of this list.
More surprising perhaps is the fact that NRL giants the Roosters and Broncos both feature among the four toughest fixture lists.
After winning back-to-back premierships the Roosters have been allocated two games against each of the other premiership favourites (Melbourne, Canberra and Manly), 13 games against teams expected to play finals football and just five against bottom-four opponents.
It's a similar story for Brisbane, with six games against top-four sides, 13 against top-eight and five against bottom-four.
The Warriors are the only club that will face all four of the Roosters, Storm, Raiders and Sea Eagles twice each. At the other end of the scale, Manly have just five games against top-four ranked sides and 11 against top-eight sides.
- See the full 2020 Telstra Premiership draw
- NRL 2020 draw: What you need to know for all 16 clubs
- Add the draw to your calendar
There are no easy games in the NRL but the Wests Tigers have one of the more comfortable starts to the new campaign with matches against bottom-eight sides in the opening four weeks of the season, while in the first eight rounds the Eels only face one team that played finals football in 2019 – and that's a Broncos team that Parramatta thumped in the first round of the playoffs.
Newcastle have the toughest first half of the season, with games against the Roosters, Raiders, Sea Eagles, Rabbitohs (twice) and Sharks (twice) by round 12, but have the easiest run home of all clubs. Don't be surprised to see their fortunes turn later in the season if they struggle early on.
Meanwhile, Canberra has the most generous fixture list through to the first bye round and the trickiest second half of the year.