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Brisbane unhappy about no Sunday NRL games

NZN 26/06/2017 Laine Clark

Prime time favourites Brisbane may have again avoided a five-day turnaround but they expect a members backlash after missing out on a Sunday game when the NRL unveiled the draw's final six rounds.

The Broncos benefited from their status as TV ratings winners when the NRL announced their final draw on Monday after input from broadcasters.

They are one of 10 teams who will avoid the dreaded five-day turnaround from round 21-26, playing all but one of their matches on either a Thursday or Friday night.

Brisbane will play a Saturday afternoon away game against the Gold Coast Titans in Round 22.

But Broncos boss Paul White expected plenty of heat from members after Brisbane missed out on a Sunday home game for another year.

"Am I disappointed we are under-represented in Sunday afternoon football? Yes I am," White said.

"It just gives us a bit of diversity in our scheduling and gives families the chance to come to the game.

"Members are obviously going to be disappointed.

"I do want to let our members know that we fight very hard for diversity in the draw."

Unlike Brisbane, Canberra (round 25), the Gold Coast (round 24), Melbourne (round 22), Parramatta (round 21), Penrith (round 21) and the Warriors (round 24) will each endure a five-day turnaround in the final six rounds.

It takes the season's total of five-day turnarounds to 25, down from 43 last year, much to the delight of the Rugby League Players Association.

"The significant decrease in five-day turnarounds is a result of the RLPA and the NRL working together to achieve positive outcomes that will benefit both the welfare of players and the game as a whole," RLPA general manager of player relations, Clint Newton said.

"This is a great example of what can be achieved if there is a united approach by the NRL, clubs and players to issues that arise in the game.

Brisbane will begin their final six game stretch at ANZ Stadium against a Parramatta side backing up five days after their round 20 clash with Wests Tigers.

The Broncos then have an eight day wait until their next match, the away clash to the Titans.

Their regular run of prime time games in the last six rounds ensures Brisbane will be fresh for an expected finals campaign.

Brisbane have been allocated Friday night games against Parramatta (round 21), defending premiers Cronulla (round 23) and St George Illawarra (round 24).

The Broncos' run home is completed by Thursday night games against Parramatta (home) and rivals North Queensland in Townsville.

White said Brisbane realised they dominated prime time once again but insisted the NRL club had not requested it.

"Broadcasters largely have control over the draw," he said.

"A lot is made about our over-representation of Thursday and Friday night time slots but I want to let our members know we are out there fighting for them and hopefully next year we will represent in Sunday afternoon and perhaps Saturday night football.

"My fellow CEOs understand we don't want to take that time slot (Thursday, Friday nights) each and every week."

The NRL's schedule release also heralds the introduction of free-to-air television matches across all four days (Thursday-Sunday) of the final five rounds.

Highlights of the final six rounds include Cooper Cronk playing his last regular season game for Melbourne against Canberra in round 26.

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