Here is all you need to know about the Parramatta Eels' 2020 Telstra Premiership draw.
Teams they play twice
Bulldogs, Cowboys, Dragons, Wests Tigers, Broncos, Sea Eagles, Storm, Panthers, Rabbitohs.
Teams they play once
Titans, Warriors, Sharks, Raiders, Roosters, Knights.
Thursday - 2, Friday - 5, Saturday - 8, Sunday - 8, Monday - 1.
3 (Round 6, Round 12, Round 19).
With three of their first five games at Bankwest Stadium and no games against 2019 finals teams until round seven, the Eels are every chance of starting fast. They'll probably need to bank some wins early with some much tougher stretches awaiting through the mid to late season.
Five key match-ups
Panthers (Round 11, Bankwest Stadium; Round 25, Panthers Stadium): This western Sydney derby is always fiercely contested and their round-11 home loss in 2019 (one of just two all year at Bankwest Stadium) to Penrith was one of their most disappointing efforts. Potentially the first game against Penrith for Waqa Blake and Reagan Campbell-Gillard, whose salaries Penrith are still helping pay. The Eels host in round 11 then finish the regular season at Panthers Stadium, which could be a bell-ringer if both sides are still in contention.
Sea Eagles (Round 10, Lottoland; Round 17, Bankwest Stadium): There has been no love lost between Parra and Manly since they entered the comp together in 1947, with the Eels losing their first grand final appearance to Manly in 1976 then repaying the favour twice in 1982 and '83. There's been a mountain of player movement between the clubs in the past five years with Shaun Lane one of the buys of the year in 2019 and the Eels still enjoying the recruitments of Brad Arthur and Clint Gutherson. In both of the past two seasons, each side has racked up a huge score against the other at home to leave honours even at two apiece.
Bulldogs (Round 1, Bankwest Stadium; Round 6, ANZ Stadium): The only team the Eels have met more often in their history than Manly is Canterbury, with the rivalry exploding in the 1980s and simmering along in countless classic battles since. The Dogs, like Penrith, managed the rare feat of downing the Eels at Bankwest in 2019 and the Eels will be out to continue what has otherwise been a period of dominance (six wins and two losses since 2016) against the blue-and-whites. The fact the Eels host this one at their Bankwest Stadium fortress in the very first game of the year gives them a chance to start 2020 on the front foot.
Broncos (Round 7, TIO Stadium, Darwin; Round 20, Suncorp): The Eels should be looking forward to another crack at Brisbane, particularly given they shattered a host of records in a huge win in week one of the finals – the club's first finals win since 2009. They also piled a huge score on Brisbane at the same venue through the regular season, though fell to a one-point loss at Suncorp – a venue where they've had plenty of success. Brisbane may be relieved not to face the Eels at Bankwest; instead they are the Darwin fixture in Anzac Round while the Eels travel to Brisbane in round 20.
Storm (Round 10, AAMI Park; Round 22, Bankwest Stadium): On the flipside of Brisbane lies Melbourne, the team that piled on Parramatta's ugliest night of 2019. Magic Round at Suncorp was a total capitulation against the red-hot Storm with Craig Bellamy's men repeating the dose to end Parramatta's season at the semi-final stage. If the Eels want to be a contender they have to figure out a way to play better against the Storm.
From the middle of the Origin period, the Eels play eight straight games against 2019 finals teams. Fortunately most of those are home games but they'll need some of that Bankwest magic with the likes of the Roosters, Storm, Sharks, Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles coming to town.
And another thing
The Eels fly to Queensland or the NT four times in the first eight weeks but following a round-10 trip to Melbourne their sole game outside Sydney for the rest of the year is in Canberra, meaning as a gruelling season wears on they will have a much lower travel burden than most other teams.