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NRL to release 2017 draw on Thursday

NZN 23/11/2016 Matt Encarnacion

Robbie Farah's grudge match against Wests Tigers is set to be the main drawcard of round one when the NRL releases its draw for the 2017 season on Thursday morning.

Farah will rip into his beloved Tigers at ANZ Stadium in what will be his first match against his old teammates since his controversial split from the club.

Cronulla are expected to kickoff the season on home turf on March 2 against a Brisbane side that could show off shock signing Benji Marshall in the unfamiliar position of centre.

The Sharks will be minus two players from their triumphant grand final-winning team in the retired Michael Ennis and fallen star fullback Ben Barba.

Other round-one blockbusters, reported by News Corp, include Billy Slater's highly-anticipated comeback for Melbourne against Canterbury at Belmore Sportsground.

That fixture is understood to be scheduled in the new 6pm Friday night timeslot.

Troubled star Kieran Foran could also make his Warriors debut at home against St George-Illawarra, provided his contract gets the green light from the governing body.

The game will also mark Stephen Kearney's first as NRL coach of the Auckland-based club, the only coach making his club debut in the league.

In the final game of the round, big-money recruit James Tamou will make his Penrith debut against wooden spoon favourites Newcastle.

The State of Origin series will feature two games at Suncorp Stadium and one in Homebush, while the final instalment of the NSW City-Country game will be held in Mudgee.

A World Cup campaign also awaits at the end of next year.

EXPECTED ROUND ONE MATCH-UPS

Sharks v Broncos at Southern Cross Group Stadium, Thursday March 2 8pm

Bulldogs v Storm at Belmore Sportsground, Friday March 3 6pm

Rabbitohs v Tigers at ANZ Stadium, Friday March 3 8pm

Warriors v Dragons at Mt Smart Stadium, Saturday March 4 4:30pm

Cowboys v Raiders at 1300Smiles Stadium, Saturday March 4 7pm

Titans v Roosters at Cbus Super Stadium, Saturday March 4 9pm

Sea Eagles v Eels at Brookvale Oval, Sunday March 5 4pm

Panthers v Knights at Pepper Stadium, Sunday March 5 6pm

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