Melbourne Storm CEO Mark Evans has today welcomed the release of the draw for the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership Season.
Evans said the draw promises exceptional entertainment at AAMI Park for Storm members and fans, with home blockbusters against Premiers South Sydney, New Zealand Warriors, Brisbane Broncos, Sydney Roosters and Manly all scheduled.
"It is a great fixture for our members and fans," Evans said.
“They’ve shown a lot of patience waiting for the draw's release and they’ve been rewarded with a number of marquee match-ups at AAMI Park in 2015. Like everyone we’re looking forward to the season starting.”
Highlights of Storm’s 2015 draw include:
- A Monday night away season-opener against St. George Illawarra
- An Easter Monday blockbuster against the Warriors at AAMI Park in Round 5
- An ANZAC Day clash at AAMI Park against rivals Manly in Round 8
- A Round 10 showdown with 2014 NRL Premiers South Sydney at AAMI Park
- A mid-season Festival of Rugby League: Two Storm home matches at AAMI Park against the Eels and Broncos (Round 14 and 15) either side of Origin 2 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
- Johnathan Thurston and the North Queensland Cowboys will make the trip to Melbourne to face Storm at AAMI Park for the first time since 2012
The biggest change for members and fans is the scheduling of a new opponent for the traditional Melbourne ANZAC Day game. Arch rivals Manly will travel to Melbourne in Round 8 as part of the now traditional fixture, with the Warriors hosting a match in New Zealand as a part of the ANZAC Centenary celebrations.
Evans said the Club was understanding of the NRL’s decision to take a game to New Zealand and looking was forward to hosting Manly in 2015.
"Although we were sad to lose such a fantastic fixture that has been built up in the last few years, we understand the situation," Evans said.
"We look forward to welcoming the Warriors back on ANZAC Day in 2016."
"In the interim, it is great that we still play the Warriors on Easter Monday, a holiday fixture. If we had to have anybody on ANZAC Day to replace the Warriors then Manly would be one at the front of the list."
Craig Bellamy’s side will travel interstate on 12 occasions in 2015, with games in Sydney, Townsville, Canberra, Brisbane and Auckland to provide the Club’s loyal supporter bases in those areas a chance to see their side in the flesh.
The bye weekends arrive for Melbourne in Rounds 11 and 17, coinciding with the first and third matches of State of Origin.
Melbourne will play six Monday night matches in the opening 20 rounds of the season.
The remaining schedule for Rounds 21 to 26 will be announced by the NRL at Round 16.