NRL 2020: Three NZ Warriors games not to miss in revamped schedule

The NRL has released the full revamped draw for the 2020 season, which gets underway on Thursday, May 28. 

The NZ Warriors will face Cronulla Sharks, Penrith Panthers and Manly Sea Eagles twice each, while squaring off against Newcastle Knights and Canberra Raiders, who they played before the season was suspended, due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

They will predominantly play on Friday, with eight of their matches falling then, four on Saturday and six on Sunday. 

Overall, the draw is a tough one for the Warriors, with all the teams they're due to play twice rated as genuine title contenders. 

But here are three matches that fans should be excited for: 

Round seven: Friday, June 26 v Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park

The COVID-19 crisis saw the annual Anzac Day match scrapped, but more often than not, playing the Storm brings out the best in the Warriors. 

While the Storm have won the last eight matches, the Warriors have been relatively unlucky in those games, especially in Melbourne last year, when a controversial late penalty saw the Storm sneak home. 

Round eight: Saturday, July 4 v Brisbane Broncos at Central Coast Stadium 

After two classic matches last year, the Warriors will be determined to get revenge against the Broncos. 

In Auckland, Brisbane's remarkable defensive effort saw them home 8-2, while the two teams couldn't be separated in an extra-time 18-18 deadlock at Suncorp.

Once again, Brisbane's defence was up to the task in the draw, with Payne Haas making a try-saving tackle on Chanel Harris-Tavita, while captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck broke the NRL single-game record with a monstrous 367 metres run.

Round 17, Sunday September 6 v Parramatta Eels, TBC 

The two teams only played once last year, but produced one of the most controversial games in NRL history, as the Eels slithered to a 24-22 win. 

This year's meeting will be the Warriors' first chance to avenge that result, where most of the big calls went against them. 

In addition to the NRL draw, State of Origin was confirmed over three consecutive Wednesday nights in November for the first time.

The 2020 fixtures will be played on November 4, 11 and 18. Venues are yet to be finalised.

"After months of careful preparation and planning, the NRL Telstra Premiership is back, and will be faster and tougher than ever before," NRL acting chief executive Andrew Abdo says.

"Everyone has fought so hard to get the game back on the field.

"There are new fixtures and new venues, but when the players take the field, the desire to win will be that much higher, given the sacrifices made to this point.

"The schedule of 18 uninterrupted weeks of football, combined with the new rules to make the game faster, will deliver the heart-pounding entertainment fans expect."

WARRIORS - 2020 NRL draw (NZ times)

Round Three 

Saturday, May 30 v St George Illawarra Dragons at Central Coast Stadium, 5pm

Round Four 

Friday, June 6 v Penrith Panthers at Campbelltown Stadium, 8pm

Round Five 

Friday, June 12 v North Queensland Cowboys at Central Coast Stadium, 8pm

Round Six 

Friday, June 19 v South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium, 8pm 

Round Seven

Friday, June 26 v Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park, 8pm

Round Eight 

Saturday, July 4 v Brisbane Broncos at Central Coast Stadium, 7:30pm 

Round Nine 

Friday, July 10 v Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium, 8pm  

Round 10 

Sunday, July 19 v Cronulla Sharks TBC, 4pm

Round 11

Friday, July 24 v Sydney Roosters TBC, 5pm

Round 12 

Friday, July 31 v Wests Tigers TBC, 8pm

Round 13 

Friday, August 7 v Manly Sea Eagles TBC, 8pm

Round 14 

Friday, August 14 v Penrith Panthers, TBC, 8pm 

Round 15

Sunday, August 23 v Canterbury Bulldogs, TBC, 8pm 

Round 16

Saturday, August 29 v Newcastle Knights, TBC, 5pm

Round 17

Sunday, September 6 v Parramatta Eels, TBC, 6:05pm 

Round 18

Sunday, September 13 v Cronulla Sharks, TBC, 8:30pm

Round 19 

Sunday, September 20 v Canberra Raiders, TBC, 4pm

Round 20 

Sunday, September 27 v Manly Sea Eagles, TBC, 4pm

NRL 2020: Three NZ Warriors games not to miss in revamped schedule