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Here is all you need to know about the Brisbane Broncos' 2021 Telstra Premiership draw.

The Lowdown

Teams they play twice

Cowboys, Eels, Knights, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Roosters, Sharks, Storm, Titans

Teams they play once

Bulldogs, Dragons, Raiders, Sea Eagles, Tigers, Warriors

Day-by-day breakdown

Thursday – 6, Friday – 8, Saturday – 7, Sunday – 3

Turnarounds

5 days – 2, 6 days – 7, 7+ days – 14

Kick-off

A couple of Friday night blockbusters to start the season for Brisbane, first at home against an Eels side they've struggled against of late and then a local derby against the Titans on the Gold Coast.

They'll be confident of a win over the Bulldogs at home in round three before a run of tough games against the Storm, Rabbitohs, Panthers and Eels again – a month that will include trips to Melbourne, Sydney and Darwin.

Five key match-ups

Eels (Round 1, Suncorp Stadium; Round 7, TIO Stadium, Darwin)

Memories of the record-breaking 58-0 loss to Parramatta in the 2019 finals still loom over this Broncos side, with the Eels notching two more wins over Brisbane last season (34-6 at Suncorp and 26-12 at Bankwest).

Considering the recent record between the clubs a win in either of these two fixtures would be a very promising sign for the Kevin Walters era. With the second game taking place in Darwin at least Brisbane won't be taking on the Eels on their home turf this season.

Titans (Round 2, Cbus Super Stadium; Round 8, Suncorp Stadium)

The departure of international forward David Fifita on a big-money move to the Gold Coast adds extra spice to this local rivalry, one that was already shaping as crucial for Brisbane after the Titans prevailed twice in 2020 (30-12 at Suncorp, 18-6 at Cbus Super Stadium).

It's also the first chance for star big men Payne Haas and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui to resume their rivalry after some fierce exchanges in this year's Ampol State of Origin series, particularly their infamous stoush in game two.

Storm (Round 4, AAMI Park; Round 12, Suncorp Stadium)

Melbourne's record at Suncorp Stadium was staggering even before the teams finished on opposite ends of the ladder in 2020.

The Storm enjoyed a 46-8 thrashing in Brisbane last year, won 40-4 in 2019, 34-20 in 2018, 42-10 in 2017 and 42-6 in 2016. The Broncos may well have a better chance when they travel to Melbourne at the start of April than they will in the home clash a couple of months later.

Broncos' top five tries of 2020

Rabbitohs (Round 5, ANZ Stadium; Round 15, Suncorp Stadium)

Any clash against former mentor Wayne Bennett will be a grudge match for Brisbane, and the Broncos actually prevailed at home against Souths 22-18 just before the COVID-19 break that seemingly derailed Brisbane's season. In the return leg in round 13 the Rabbitohs eased to a 28-10 win.

Cowboys (Round 9, Queenslandd Country Bank Stadium; Round 20, Suncorp Stadium)

Once the most anticipated match-up in the NRL, both these clubs have struggled of late but they're still capable of producing a thriller when they go head-to-head. Brisbane kicked off last season with a 28-21 win over their traditional Queensland rivals but lost 32-16 in the final round rematch that left them holding the wooden spoon.

Toughest stretch

That early stretch from round four is hardly a breeze (Storm, Rabbitohs, Panthers, Eels) and Brisbane also have a tricky run of games around the start of the State of Origin series, with matches against the Roosters, Storm, Dragons (minus Origin players), Raiders and Rabbitohs starting from round 11.

Better. Faster. Stronger.

And another thing ...

As is usually the case no team has more Thursday night or Friday night free-to-air television games than Brisbane, despite last year's poor on-field results, with Channel Nine to air Broncos games in prime time in seven of the opening eight rounds.

Fans of rival teams may quibble but the Broncos remain a big drawcard for viewers inside and outside Queensland – and plenty of neutrals will be intrigued about how they well they bounce back in the first year of Kevin Walters's tenure at the club.

 

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