Draw analysis: Ranking every club’s 2024 fixture strength

We've taken a deep dive into the 2024 NRL fixtures to deliver the strength of schedule for every club in the competition.


By Matty Person

Well it’s that time of year again, with the NRL Premiership less than a week away from kicking off.

As a result, Supercoachers are scrambling for some good oil to help assemble their teams for another arduous season ahead.

One of the most important elements to early success is a solid analysis of the early season draw. 

While the draw is important, it’s equally as important not to over analyse what appears to be a juicy draw for certain clubs earlier on, particularly over the first month of football.

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 So, I’ll diving deep into the pits of the NRL draw and dissecting the fixtures from every angle.

It’s time to look at each team’s pre-Origin draw as I rank them in order from easiest to hardest.

Below we’ve ranked each side’s draw with the Hard Draw Index (HDI) algorithm I developed in the Bat Cave.

It takes into account opponent’s performance in 2023, home and away schedule, and days turnaround between matches including factors such as travel between venues, along with a side’s SuperCoach attack and defence from 2023.

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The Dolphins have been insanely blessed with their draw, amazingly three of their first four games are at home and they leave Queensland once in the opening 11 rounds!

They also only play three sides from last year’s top eight during the pre-Origin period which is less than any other side.

They also play four games against bottom four sides from last season which is equally the most in that department and three of those are in their first four games.

They also have six home games which is the equal most with the Broncos thanks to Magic Round.

A round three bye is a pain for SuperCoach, however I expect the Dolphins to get off to a hot start .  HDI 4.10


I’m not sure being ranked number two will help the Dragons who finished 16th in 2023, however it is a softish draw. 

Despite only having four home games they only play four games against top eight sides and have four against bottom four sides 

The only top eight side they play in the first six rounds is the Knights. HDI 4.27

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The big question with the Knights is can they carry their 2023 end of season momentum into 2024?

The opening month should answer the question with tricky games against the Raiders, Cowboys, Storm and Warriors , then over the next seven rounds they play bottom six sides in five of those before a bye in round 12.

Three games against bottom four sides and five against top eight isn’t bad, they have equal games at home and away. HDI 4.45


The Sharks have been gifted a softish draw again over the opening nine rounds before it hardens up with games against the Storm, Rosters and Panthers three weeks in a row.

Three of their first nine games are against bottom four sides. Equal games at home and away.  HDI 4.58


While half of the Raiders games are against top eight sides from 2023, they also have three against bottom four sides and they don’t play the Panthers in this period. HDI 4.63


Similar to the Dragons, the Tigers struggled in 2023 and have been given every chance to start 2024 with improvement with a decent early draw.

They only play five games against top eight sides and have the bye in round 1. The downside is they only have three home games in the first twelve rounds with three games at neutral venues. HDI 4.64

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The Eels only play four games against top eight sides in the pre-Origin period, and have three of their first four at home with an away game against the Panthers who they always seem to turn up for during the regular season.

They don’t play another top eight side until the Broncos in round 9. HDI 4.72


More Queensland bias in play here with the Titans playing seven of their opening 11 games in Queensland. 

They only play four top eight sides, however they only play two bottom four sides.

They have equal games at home and away and they start with the Dragons, bye, Bulldogs and Dolphins in the opening month.

Their draw then hardens over the back end of the Origin period playing the Warriors, Storm, Cowboys, Knights and Broncos . HDI 4.81

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Three of their first four games are away from home although they only leave Queensland once in the first five rounds and play in the Sunshine State in nine of the opening twelve games.

They have only four games against top eight sides and four games against bottom four sides, so you could make a case for the Cowboys to be higher on this list, however they do play both Grand Finalists through this period. HDI 4.91


The Bulldogs haven’t been given any favours playing half of their games against top eight sides with three against bottom four,  while they have equal games home and away.

They do though start with three away games in the opening month against the Eels, Sharks and Rabbitohs. HDI 5.00

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The Warriors have a tricky draw with half of their games against top eight sides and only two against bottom four sides in rounds seven and eight.

They start the season with four games against top eight sides. HDI 5.17


The Panthers only have three home games pre-Origin with two home games being played in Bathurst and Suncorp.

They only play five games against top eight sides but only two against bottom four sides.

It’s a tough opening five rounds into a round six bye with games against the Storm, Eels, Broncos, Roosters and Sea Eagles at Brookie. HDI 5.18

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The Broncos are the only Queensland side that hasn’t been blessed with a plethora of early games in their home state.

They only play two games against bottom four sides, they do however have the extra home game thanks to Magic Round, and don’t have a bye until round 13. HDI 5.33


The Rabbitohs fell off a cliff at the back end of 2023 and haven’t been given any favours with the early draw in 2024.

They play half their games against top eight sides and only two against bottom four sides.

They don’t play at home until round four against the Dogs. It’s a particularly tough draw playing the Broncos and Roosters in rounds two and three after Vegas, before their first home game against the Dogs, then Warriors, Sharks, Bye, Storm and Panthers. HDI 5.55


The Sea Eagles only play one game at Brookie in their opening month of footy and two games in the first seven rounds. Half their games are against top eight sides and only two against bottom four sides.

Nine of twelve are against sides that finished higher than them in 2023. HDI 5.67

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While the Storm do play four of their first five games at AAMI Park they play the teams that finished 1st, 3rd, 5th and 2nd before the Bulldogs in their 5th game, then into the Roosters and Rabbitohs. 

They have only two games against bottom four sides in round six and nine HDI 5.72


The Roosters have been handed an absolutely horrible draw.

Eight of their first twelve games are against top eight sides, which is two more games than any other side.

They only have four home games in the opening twelve rounds and don’t have a bye until round thirteen.

They play both of 2023’s Grand Finalists in the opening month and only have two games against bottom four sides, one of those is the Dragons on ANZAC round. HDI 6.13

So while there is no such thing as an easy opening draw in 2024, you can certainly see that some teams draws are not as hard as others.

Hopefully this draw analysis is useful for SuperCoaches looking to grab an edge over their opponents.

By selecting the right players early on and not loading up on too many players from a side with a tricky draw or a seemingly easy draw on paper, it should stand you in good stead.

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There has been plenty of pre-season chatter on socials surrounding the new Round 0 Vegas experiment.

So I’ll address this elephant in the room in short and sweet fashion.

Don’t over think it, at the end of the day it’s one round. All four sides have good turn arounds too.

The Broncos and Bunnies have 11 days and the Sea Eagles and Chooks have 14, which is plenty of time to get over the event.

I also believe the NRL will nudge the adjudicators to referee the game like Origin or Grand Finals, the last thing the NRL needs is the ref blowing the pea out of the whistle in front of the American crowd. Basically, if you like a player, pick the player.


Although this is a draw analysis and some draws appear easier than others, the NRL is as close as it’s ever been and all 17 teams will start the year full of enthusiasm,  ambition and riding on the rhetoric wave of “fittest he’s ever been” and ” training the house down.

 To explain this further, there are very few blowouts in the first month of NRL which correlates to lower SuperCoach scoring. There has been zero 40+ scores in the first two rounds of NRL over the past two seasons and only four in the opening month across 2022 and 2023. Three of those came against the Dragons.

 It’s also worth noting some teams will fire early and fade away, while others start slow and run home strong. Take a look at the NRL ladder after 4 rounds last season.

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1.BRONCOS       8


3. DOLPHINS      6

4. WARRIORS     6

5. ROOSTERS     6

6. SHARKS          4

7. PANTHERS     4


9. STORM            4

10. BULLDOGS   4

11. TITANS         4

12. KNIGHTS      4

13. DRAGONS    4

14. RAIDERS       3

15. COWBOYS    3

16. EELS              2

17. TIGERS         0

This shows exactly what I was talking about with the bottom four sides in the Bulldogs and Dragons with two wins in their first four games, the Dolphins were flying and narrowly ended up missing the bottom 4, top 4 sides from 2022 the Eels and Cowboys were battling unexpectedly. 

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1. BRONCOS       14

2. SEA EAGLES   11

3. PANTHERS      10

4. RABBITOHS     10

5. SHARKS           10

6. STORM             10

7. WARRIORS       10

8. DOLPHINS        10

9. ROOSTERS       10

10. RAIDERS           9

11. TITANS             8

12. KNIGHTS          7

13. EELS                 6

14. DRAGONS        6

15. BULLDOGS      5

16. COWBOYS       5

17. TIGERS             2

At this point Manly was still riding high, Souths were looking hot and the Dolphins were still in the top 8, while the Cowboys and Eels continued to struggle after finishing top 4 in 2022, and the Knights were struggling as expected.

At this stage the weaker teams in the Dragons, Bulldogs and Tigers were being exposed as genuine bottom 4 sides.

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1.PANTHERS       16

2. RABBITOHS     16

3. SHARKS           16

4.BRONCOS         16

5 STORM              16

6. DOLPHINS       14

7. WARRIORS       14

8. RAIDERS           14

9. SEA EAGLES    13

10. TITANS           12

11.ROOSTERS      12

12. KNIGHTS        11

13. EELS                10

14. COWBOYS      10

15. BULLDOGS     10

16. TIGERS              8

17. DRAGONS         8

On the eve of the first big bye round the ladder was starting to take shape with the cream rising to the top and it was also as tight as it’s ever been at the top with the Chooks sitting 11th and only two points from 1st.

Even at this stage the Dolphins were still in the top 8 and the Knights hadn’t started their charge.

So what does all this equate to for SuperCoach?

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You really have to take the early draw with a grain of salt as some teams will surprise and others will disappoint, a truer pattern of where teams are at starts to emerge between rounds 6 and 12.

So the advice is not to load up with four or five players from a side that appears to have a juicy draw.

It’s also interesting to take a look at the Supercoach scores of each team over the pre-Origin Period compared to the first 4 rounds and the post Origin Period (rounds 20 to 27)

The following table shows each team’s average SuperCoach points, the first column is rounds 1 to 4, the second is the total pre-Origin Period and the third is the post-Origin Period.

DEFENCE      1st 4   PRE   POST

BRONCOS      665   763   764

BULLDOGS    805   841    907

RAIDERS        800   816    835

DOLPHINS     745   840    895

TITANS           800   788    836

STORM           788   799    781

SEA EAGLES  715   805    815

KNIGHTS        781   846    777

COWBOYS      820   850    843

WARRIORS     753   812    771

EELS                823   794    845

PANTHERS     731   714    739

SHARKS          781   745    795

DRAGONS       907   824    865

RABBITOHS    767   748    796

ROOSTERS      799   805    785

TIGERS            777   781    837

You can see from this table side’s defence was markedly stronger early in the season in comparison to the end of the season. Now let’s have a look at the attack.

ATTACK       1st 4   PRE   POST

BRONCOS        853    800    850

BULLDOGS      789     750   748

RAIDERS          747     763   776

DOLPHINS       780     742   793

TITANS             713     785   799

STORM             795     786   826

SEA EAGLES    795     770   785

KNIGHTS          762     801   872

COWBOYS        699     737   815

WARRIORS       826     788   832

EELS                  803     831   837

PANTHERS       814     892   896

SHARKS            865     888   875

DRAGONS         690     757   765

RABBITOHS      780     847   836

ROOSTERS       763     751    812

TIGERS              750    741    769

So again, this table shows the scoring is typically lower in the opening month, confirming the grain of salt approach with the early draw.

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