Four separate back-to-back blocks of home games at Queensland Country Bank Stadium stand out as the highlights of the 2021 NRL draw for the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys.
Todd Payten’s men kick off their campaign with a blockbuster Saturday night clash with grand finalists Penrith at Panthers Stadium on Saturday, March 13.
The Cowboys then return to North Queensland for consecutive home games against St George Illawarra and Gold Coast in Rounds 2 and 3.
The three remaining back-to-back home games are set down for Rounds 6 and 7 against the Bulldogs and Raiders (Anzac Round), Rounds 11 and 12 against the Knights and Warriors and Rounds 18 and 19 against the Roosters and Storm.
In an enormous coup for Cowboys fans, the home clash with arch-rivals Brisbane is set down for a Saturday night in Round 9, which proves far more accommodating from a travel perspective for the club’s wide-ranging fanbase.
The Cowboys complete the regular season with a Round 25 showdown against Des Hasler’s Sea Eagles on Saturday, September 4.
Of the 12 Cowboys home games, six are set down for the preferred Saturday timeslot to accompany one Thursday fixture, three Friday matches and two Sundays.
Highlights of the away draw include a Magic Round tussle with the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium in Round 10, the return trip to Brisbane to face the Broncos in Round 20 and a trip to the Sunshine Coast to lock horns with the Sharks in Round 4.
“We now have a roadmap for our 2021 season, but the most pleasing thing for me is that we’re actually able to have a draw after the difficult year everyone has been forced to endure in 2020,” Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel said.
“To have six of our 12 homes games on Saturdays is a fantastic result for our travelling fans, but we’re also excited to host our members and fans in some unfamiliar timeslots, particularly the 6pm Friday fixture with our new stadium located in the city.
“We received our wish to host an Anzac Round game, which allows us to play our part in commemorating Anzac Day in Townsville, which is such a proud garrison city.
“From a football perspective, we’re really happy with the two-week blocks in home and away games and we also only have one five-day turnaround.”