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Breaking down a tough start to the year

Dan Talintyre

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It’s official — Wests Tigers start to the 2018 NRL Draw is officially the hardest in Telstra Premiership history.

After opening the season against the Sydney Roosters (who finished second last year), Ivan Cleary’s side will then face off against the other three top four teams from 2017 (Melbourne, Brisbane and Parramatta) before facing the premiers again in Round 5.

It’s the first time in history that the first five games of the year have seen a team play against the previous year’s top four plus a second clash against the defending premiers.

In 2017, Brisbane began the season with four games against the previous year’s top four, but didn’t face the defending premiers in Cronulla again until Round 23. In 1999, the Sharks themselves played the defending premiers (Brisbane) twice in the opening five rounds, but had a much easier draw in between in regards to their other matches.

To make matters even more intriguing for Wests Tigers, their second clash against the Melbourne Storm is off the back of a five-day turnaround that also must see Cleary’s men fly to New Zealand as part of the blockbuster double-header at Mt. Smart Stadium.

In total, Wests Tigers will play six games against top four sides in the first eight rounds.

It’s certainly going to be an intriguing start to the year for Wests Tigers Members and fans, with all the competition heavyweights in town to kick off the 2018 season!

Click here to see Wests Tigers 2018 NRL Draw in full!