Lower Clarence Magpies to host Kyogle in NRRRL opener
LOWER Clarence Magpies will open their season on home turf according to a draft Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League draw.
The draft draw, which has not yet been officially released, has the Magpies open their season against Kyogle Turkeys at Maclean Showground on the weekend of April 6.
They will then travel away to Byron Bay Red Devils, before returning home for a clash with the Troy McLean-coached Casino Cougars.
The Cougars are shaping as early premiership favourites following the recruitment of former South Sydney Rabbitoh Matt King and Northern United playmaker Roy Bell.
They bolster an already-solid backline featuring the likes of Todd Johnson and David Briggs.
Casino will open their season at home against Marist Brothers with Byron Bay travelling to Murwillumbah for one of the toughest NRRRL road trips.
Ballina Seagulls will kick off their premiership defence at home against Evans Head Bombers, while Northern United will host Mullumbimby Giants.
NRRRL fans will have to wait until round five (May 11) for the grand final rematch between Murwillumbah Mustangs and Ballina, which will be played at Kingsford Smith Park in front of what should be a bumper crowd.
With Grafton Ghosts and South Grafton Rebels moving to Group 2 next season, the Magpies "local rivals" will now be Evans Head, who they play in round nine. They host the return fixture in round 18.
The draw has only been released to the NRRRL clubs so far and is open for feedback from club officials.
A final draw is expected to be released early next year.