Gold Coast and Cronulla take centre stage in a re-jigged Magic Round that the NRL hopes will transform Brisbane into a rugby league fan’s fairytale next season.
In an NRL-first all 16 clubs will feature at Suncorp Stadium over four days in round nine from May 9-12.
Two games will be played on Friday night, with three on Sunday and another two on Sunday all expected to attract sell-out crowds at Suncorp Stadium.
However, they might struggle to attract those numbers when the Titans and Sharks kick off proceedings in a stand-alone fixture on Thursday night.
That fixture represents a change from the initial three-day proposal, but one that NRL boss Todd Greenberg said was necessary to replicate the usual broadcast schedule.
“Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday … it’s the standard weekend of where we split our footy and we think we can make that work as a festival over those four days,” Greenberg said.
“There’s a huge amount of work going on as to how we turn Brisbane into a rugby league city for those four days and how we have great opportunity for fans to engage.
“What we can do uniquely with 16 coaches in one location … there’s a number of innovative things we’ll look at.”
Eight games across four days will put Suncorp Stadium’s surface under considerable pressure.
But organisers are confident it will hold up, given it managed to withstand the Global Rugby Tens – the equivalent of 10 rugby union fixtures over just two days – in recent years.
BRISBANE’S NRL MAGIC ROUND
7.50pm – Titans v Sharks
6pm Tigers v Panthers
7.55pm Sea Eagles v Broncos
3pm Bulldogs v Knights
5.30pm Warriors v Dragons
7.35pm Storm v Eels
2pm Roosters v Raiders
4.05pm Rabbitohs v Cowboys