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New venues announced in revised draw for round 22

The NRL has looked to lessen the load on Suncorp Stadium and Cbus Super Stadium in announcing a revised draw for round 22 of the Telstra Premiership.

Matches will be played at the Brisbane and Gold Coast venues as well as Townsville, Redcliffe and the Sunshine Coast this week.

With 14 teams still in contention for the finals, there will be plenty on the line, starting with Canberra's clash with competition leaders Melbourne on Thursday night at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Brisbane's match against the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night has not changed while North Queensland's clash with Wests Tigers on Saturday night also remains from the original draw.

St George Illawarra face Penrith in the early Friday night game as part of a double-header at Suncorp Stadium.

South Sydney line up against the Gold Coast at 3pm on Saturday at Cbus Super Stadium before the Cowboys-Tigers game in Townsville at 5.30pm, then old rivals Manly and Parramatta squaring off at 7.35pm at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

On Sunday a double-header will be staged at Moreton Daily Stadium in Redcliffe, with the Warriors trying to keep their finals hopes alive against the Bulldogs at 1.50pm and play-off contenders Cronulla and Newcastle completing the round at 4pm.

The Queensland government ended its snap lockdown at 4pm on Sunday, which means fans will be allowed to attend all eight matches for Women In League Round.

Crowds will be permitted at all matches, in compliance with Queensland Public Health Orders.

Graham Annesley weekly football briefing - Round 21

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming fans back to our games in Round 22,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.

“I’m particularly excited to see Redcliffe hosting a double header on Sunday and the Sunshine Coast having the opportunity to host two games across the round. These are excellent outcomes for fans in both regions.”

Meanwhile, the NSWRL has made the decision to abandon a number of major competitions for the 2021 season in response to the COVID-19 outbreak across the Greater Sydney Region.

The competitions affected include The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup, Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership, Jersey Flegg Cup, Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield, which were suspended at the start of July.

Round 22 draw

Thursday

  • 7.50pm: Storm v Raiders at Sunshine Coast Stadium

Friday

  • 6pm: Dragons v Panthers at Suncorp Stadium
  • 8.05pm: Broncos v Roosters at Suncorp Stadium

Saturday

  • 3pm: Rabbitohs v Titans at Cbus Super Stadium
  • 5.30pm: Cowboys v Wests Tigers at Queensland Country Bank Stadium
  • 7.35pm: Sea Eagles v Eels at Sunshine Coast Stadium

Sunday

  • 1.50pm: Warriors v Bulldogs at Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe
  • 4.05pm: Sharks v Knights at Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe

NRL head of football Graham Annesley said on Monday that the Brisbane and Gold Coast venues have "stood up really well regarding the number of games that they've had over the last few weeks".

"They are very, very good grounds with very, very good ground staff who spend the entire week preparing them for play each week," he said.

"We're very aware of the need to minimise as much as possible the wear and tear and give some recovery time to those venues.

"I don't think we can walk away from either of them permanently. We will have to play games at both of those venues, I think, each week.

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"But to the extent that we can limit the number of games at those venues, particularly now the lockdown has finished, that's certainly an objective of ours.

"I think we'll see that there will be a number of venues in the South-East corner of Queensland. I think we would like to take some games to regions, although at the moment we're, again, very aware that the Queensland Government has discouraged the general public from moving out of the South-East corner to regions of Queensland.

"So we have to consider that as well. But all of those things will be taken into consideration, we'll talk to the government. I think the government would also like us to play some regional games when they consider the time is right.

"Whether that's next week, the week after or prior to round 25, we're constantly reviewing that situation.

"But we do need to lighten the load on those two main stadiums because they will be carrying the bulk of the weight for us, not only in the lead-up to the finals but throughout the finals series."

The QRL has announced that with a ban on community sport in place for the next two weeks, all training and games are prohibited for clubs in the Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Redlands, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Noosa, Somerset and Scenic Rim local government areas.

As a result, QRL's statewide competitions including Intrust Super Cup and Hastings Deering Colts have been suspended during this period.