Three Thursday night matches, against premiership heavyweights the Broncos, Storm and Cowboys, a Friday evening clash with the Rabittohs and a Saturday night home ground showdown with the Bulldogs are some of the highlights of the 2017 NRL draw for the Sharks.

The Sharks open their 50th anniversary season with a match against the Broncos on a Thursday, while in an indication of their attraction to the NRL’s free-to-air broadcasters the defending NRL premiers will also play the Cowboys in round 11 and the Storm in round 14 in Thursday night match ups.  

All three Thursday night games will be played at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

A round 20 match with Souths on a Friday at home is also sure to attract plenty of interest and draw a healthy crowd, as is the game against the Bulldogs in round 12 in the Dogs first visit to Southern Cross Group Stadium since 2011.

The Sharks local derby blockbuster against the St George Illawarra Dragons is another highlight of the 2017 schedule, with that match set down for a Sunday, 6.30pm kick-off at home on March 19.   

The return bout with the Dragons is at UOW Jubilee Oval in round 10, with that match at 6.00pm on a Friday night.

While the days and times of the first 20 rounds have been revealed, the NRL has held back allocating kick off details for the last six weeks, however the Sharks have been dealt a difficult run-in to the 2017 Finals.

Away trips to New Zealand, Brisbane, Townsville and Newcastle in the final six weeks promises to be a challenging run home.

In breaking down the draw further, the Sharks play six teams – Manly, New Zealand, Parramatta, Souths, Penrith and Canterbury – just once, with their byes scheduled for rounds 13 and 18.

Over the first 20 rounds the Sharks play three times on a Thursday, once on a Friday, have nine Saturday games and four matches on Sunday.