Here is all you need to know about the Melbourne Storm's 2021 Telstra Premiership draw.
Teams they play twice
Broncos, Eels, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Raiders, Roosters, Sharks, Titans, Warriors
- Download a PDF of the NRL draw
- The 2021 Telstra Premiership draw
- Download full draw or your team's schedule to your calendar
Teams they play once
Bulldogs, Cowboys, Dragons, Knights, Sea Eagles, Wests Tigers
Thursday – 8, Friday – 5, Saturday – 8, Sunday – 3
5 days – 3, 6 days – 6, 7+ days – 14
Melbourne have plenty of blockbusters on the schedule and they start with three of them, with Thursday night footy games against the Rabbitohs, Eels and Panthers in the opening rounds.
The latter two are on the road before the Storm return home to take on the Broncos before a trip to Perth to face the Bulldogs.
Five key match-ups
Eels (Round 2, Bankwest Stadium; Round 24, AAMI Park)
Melbourne beat the Eels in the opening weekend of the finals but were held scoreless by Parramatta earlier in the season in a 14-0 shutout at Bankwest Stadium.
Cameron Smith, Cameron Munster and Jahrome Hughes didn't play in that game, so the Storm will be expecting a much-improved performance when the teams face off in round 2.
Panthers (Round 3, Panthers Stadium, Round 20, AAMI Park)
A grand final rematch looms in round 3 when the Storm make the trip to Penrith. The Panthers were the success story of the COVID-19-affected 2020 season, riding a huge winning streak into the finals and reaching the decider – only to be pipped by the more experienced Storm outfit.
Roosters (Round 6, AAMI Park; Round 16, SCG)
Back-to-back premiers before the Storm's 2020 premiership win, the Roosters will be desperate to get back into title contention next season and both sides will see this as a massive fixture.
Titans (Round 13, AAMI Park; Round 23, Cbus Super Stadium)
The Gold Coast's signing of Tino Fa'asuamaleaui a year ago didn't go down particularly well in Melbourne – the club released a statement saying the then 19-year-old would be "competing for a spot in Storm's best 17 in 2020".
Now a State of Origin-winning lock, Fa'asuamaleaui joins a rapidly improving Titans side that could also be chasing the signature of one C.Smith. We could have a brand new rivalry on our hands here.
Storm's top five tries of 2020
Sea Eagles (Round 21, Lottoland)
The perennial rivals over the past decade meet just once next year in August. Melbourne won both contests between these sides comfortably last season, 18-4 in round one at Brookvale and 30-6 in round 16 at home.
Still, with Daly Cherry-Evans pulling the strings and the Trbojevic brothers available Manly are always a team capable of getting a result.
That three-game opening run is about as tough as it gets for the Storm, although they do have one of the toughest schedules in the league with home-and-away fixtures against premiership heavyweights the Roosters, Panthers, Raiders, Rabbitohs and Eels.
Better. Faster. Stronger.
And another thing ...
The best starters in the NRL, the Storm haven't lost a round one game since 2001 (although in 2004 they started the year with a bye then lost to Newcastle in round two).
That bodes well for their round one fixture at AAMI Park against the Rabbitohs, who haven't beaten Melbourne since August 2018.
You can download the full 2021 Premiership draw or your team’s schedule directly to your calendar with eCal. Download it now.