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NRL: The pick of the games in Round 1

After the NRL fixtures for the 2024 campaign were confirmed on Monday, here’s a look and the pick of the games in the opening round.

All eyes on Vegas

There’s no other place to start than with the doubleheader to come from Las Vegas for the season openers on Sunday, 3rd March.

While there’s no sign of the reigning champions Penrith Panthers in Nevada, the Manly Sea Eagles take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the first game of the new season at Allegiant Stadium.

The home of NFL franchise the Las Vegas Raiders can host up to 65,000 supporters and it’s set to be a unique NRL season opener.

Manly are 2.60 for the win, while South Sydney are available at 1.50 to make a winning start to the 2024 campaign.  

For the second game in Vegas on that Sunday, last season’s runners-up Brisbane Broncos will be hoping to avoid any hangover from the grand final when they face the Sydney Roosters.

Brisbane were agonisingly close to ending Penrith’s reign of dominance in the NRL but just fell short with a 26-24 defeat at Accor Stadium.

The Broncos are favourites at 1.60 to make a winning start in the USA, while the Roosters are 2.35 to hit the ground running on the opening day.  

Champions handed tricky opener

As Penrith look to become the first side in NRL history to win the title four years in a row, the Panthers have been handed a tricky opening test at Melbourne Storm on Friday, 8th March.

Melbourne finished third in the standings at the end of the regular season this year and were certainly not far away from reaching the grand final.

The Storm will be looking to build on the foundations of last season and will get a good early acid test against the reigning champions.

Melbourne are 2.25 for the win on home soil, while Penrith are 1.65 to make a winning start to their title defence. 

Interesting clash awaits in Auckland

Two of the form sides towards the end of last season go head to head in Auckland, also on 8th March, as the New Zealand Warriors host the Cronulla Sharks at Mount Smart Stadium.

The Warriors finished in fourth place in the standings last season, while the Sharks were just two places below them in sixth.

Both sides will have aspirations of going deep into the playoffs next year and again it will be intriguing to see how they match up in this early exchange.

The Warriors are the favourites at 1.60 on home soil to claim the victory in Auckland, while the Sharks are 2.35 to head back across the Tasman with the soils.  

In a couple of the other standout games from Round 1, the Parramatta Eels will host rivals Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at CommBank Stadium, while the Dolphins square off against the North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium.

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