With the announcement of the 2022 NRL draw, Sharks media dissects it, breaks it down and gets into the detail as to who, where and when your team will play next season.
The road trips, free to air TV schedule, time slots and game days, in offering a snapshot of what to look forward to in 2022.
Sharks on the Road
The Sharks will be tallying up the frequent flyer points in 2022 with nine plane rides and bus trips to Canberra and Newcastle in their match schedule next year.
Queensland appears to be a favoured destination, with the Sharks to head to Brisbane three times, to play the Broncos at Suncorp, the Warriors in Redcliffe and the Raiders during Magic Round, they tackle the Titans on the Gold Coast and Cowboys in Townsville.
In round six Craig Fitzgibbon and his team head south to Melbourne for a match up with the Storm, while the Tigers take a home game on the road, against the Sharks, at Scully Park in Tamworth in mid-August.
Then there's the Sharks home game in Coffs Harbour, backing up for a second year following up a hugely successful first-up venture in the NSW north-coast town in 2021. That match will be in round 15, Saturday, June 18, with a kick-off time of 3.00pm.
Throw in the week one bus ride south to take on the Raiders and the last round excursion north to Newcastle to face the Knights and the Sharks travel agents will be busy locking in their road game requirements for the 2022 season.
Saturday night’s all right
The Sharks have four Thursday night games, two at home and two away, for what represents outstanding media value on a prime free-to-air timeslot, however the release of the draw has revealed they are set to be Saturday night favourites in season 2022.
The Sharks will play nine Saturday night/evening matches next year, three times at 7.30pm and on six occasions at 5.30pm. Add to that two 3.00pm Saturday kick-offs, one in Coffs Harbour and the second when they face the Bulldogs away in round 16, and almost half their games in 2022 will fall on a Saturday.
Only once will they play at home on a Friday, and that comes week one when they face the Raiders at 6.00pm, with two Friday’s away, while six Sharks games are scheduled for Sunday’s.
See the breakdown by day and time slot for Sharks matches in 2022:
|Day & Kick Off||Home||Away|
|Thursday 7.50pm||2 Home||2 Away|
|Friday 6.00pm||1 Home||2 Away|
|Saturday 3.00pm||1 Home||1 Away|
|Saturday 5.30pm||3 Home||3 Away|
|Saturday 7.35pm||2 Home||1 Away|
|Sunday 2.00pm||1 Home||1 Away|
|Sunday 4.00pm||2 Home||1 Away|
|Sunday 6.00pm||0 Home||1 Away|
Once is enough
With 16 teams and only 24 rounds, each club plays nine teams on two occasions, but six teams only once.
Who that favours is open for debate and whether a particular draw works to the benefit of a club, or alternatively adds up to making a season draw that little more challenging, is often a topic up for discussion.
Going on 2021 form, the Sharks have been dealt somewhat favourably in terms of who they are set to face just once during the 2021 season, however 12 months is a long time in rugby league, with new contenders likely to emerge.
Of those the Sharks play just once, four went deep into the 2021 NRL Finals series, included amongst those the defending premiers the Penrith Panthers, along with fellow Grand Finals Souths, the Sydney Roosters and Parramatta Eels.
The Sharks also play the Broncos and Cowboys just once next season, with both of those games away from home.
On the flip side, the Sharks play the other four 2021 Finalists in the Storm, Sea Eagles, Knights and Titans twice in 2022.
|Sharks to play only once||To play twice|
|Broncos, Cowboys, Eels, Panthers, Roosters, Rabbitohs||Raiders, Dragons, Knights, Tigers, Storm, Sea Eagles, Warriors, Titans, Bulldogs|
Free to air Sharks
While the Sharks certainly encourage their members and fans to attend PointsBet Stadium or the various away venues to support the team, those unable to get there in person can benefit from free-to-air coverage offered by the NRL’s host broadcaster Channel 9.
Foxtel also simulcast all matches, including the Channel 9 matches, through their subscription channels of Fox Sports and Kayo, as do the NRL via their digital network, however the reach is greater and there is opportunity for a wider audience to watch the games through the free-to-air channel.
Media values are also enhanced for club partners and sponsors when games are telecast on Channel 9, with eight games to be shown on the free-to-air broadcaster in 2022.
In breaking down the mix of matches, the Sharks have a reasonable blend of free-to-air and Fox Sports games, with their Channel 9 schedule including four Thursday night blockbusters, three Sunday afternoon matches and a late season 7.30pm Saturday evening game, against the Dragons at PointsBet Stadium, to be shared amongst both channels.
And while Thursday night's aren't always a fan favourite for families with work and school the next day, the bonus for Sharks members and supporters is that both scheduled games fall during the School Holiday's, the first during the Easter period in April, the second when the Storm come to the Shire in July.
|Sharks Free-to air match schedule|
|Round 3 v Dragons, away Thursday|
|Round 5 v Tigers, home Sunday|
|Round 7 v Sea Eagles, home Thursday|
|Round 8 v Broncos, away Thursday|
|Round 9 v Warriors, home Sunday|
|Round 11 v Titans, away Sunday|
|Round 17 v Storm, away Thursday|
|Round 21 v Dragons, home Saturday|
For the complete 2022 season draw – CLICK HERE
And for Sharks 2022 season membership information, call 1300 SHARKS, or to renew your 2021 membership go to the website at https://www.sharks.com.au/membership/ for more details.
New 2022 memberships will be on sale from November 16.