NRL 2020: Draw, fixtures, Panthers, Raiders and Dragons, Melbourne Storm, AAMI Park, rugby league | #tinder | #pof

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It’s hard to get your head around how the socialist state of Victoria with rigidly tight COVID-19 restrictions has all of a sudden opened up to allow the Melbourne Storm the advantage of playing home games at AAMI Park.

Talk about a leg up. It’s not just the Storm with the huge home ground edge, either.

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The Brisbane Broncos, Parramatta Eels and North Queensland Cowboys have all hit the deluxe jackpot with the release of the new NRL venues for the next seven rounds.

Spare a thought for the Canberra Raiders, Penrith Panthers and the St George Illawarra Dragons.

They’re like your red-headed step sister who can’t land a date on Tinder.

Playing home games at Campbelltown Stadium is about as advantageous as playing on the moon.

Fair enough the Wests Tigers generally play three or four games a year at the old home of the Wests Magpies but for the other teams allocated the venue, they’ve been thrown the keys to a 1973 vintage Datsun 180B.


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Meanwhile, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Eels are flying along in their 2020 Ford GT Mustangs having already won their opening two games and now landing the home ground advantage until at least round 10.

So much for the bubbles and interstate teams being forced into lockdowns.

The Warriors are the only poor buggers who’ve been handed that.

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They’ll be based in Gosford from today and play out of Central Coast Stadium along with Manly and Newcastle.

Teams who have to play the Cowboys will be getting chartered flights up and back to Townsville on the same day.

Hello, advantage Jason Taumololo and Michael Morgan.

In fairness the Cowboys will the same travel conditions for away matches.

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Of course no one in club land will blow up or speak out of school because the reality is it’s simply a phenomenal achievement to have rugby league back up in orbit by May 28.

But for all the people who keep saying this season’s premiership winner won’t have an asterisk next to their name – the way we’ve been going lately you couldn’t’ possibly have a competition with any more interference.

From the COVID-19 shutdown for two months to the return to one referee to the six again rule to the lop-sided home venues advantage – it all adds up to a complete lottery.

Sure whoever wins this premiership will have overcome unheralded adversity.

But these certainly are extraordinary times.

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