In Sydney, Parramatta, Canterbury, South Sydney, Cronulla and the Sydney Roosters will host games at Bankwest Stadium.
It means the Roosters won’t play their blockbuster return match against South Sydney at the SCG as they had hoped.
The Wests Tigers, Canberra, St George Illawarra and Penrith will share Campbelltown Stadium. And the Gosford-based Warriors, Manly and Newcastle will use Central Coast Stadium in Gosford.
“Each venue requires customised infrastructure to meet our strict biosecurity requirements,” NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said.
“We’ve adopted a phased approach for venues should restrictions be eased in the future. We’ve chosen three consolidated venues for clubs in and around Sydney to ensure there are no double headers at venues.”
Grounds were chosen based on those best equipped to meet the NRL’s biosecurity measures. Geographic location and the preference for rectangular venues rather than ovals also came into consideration.
The move is a big boost for the Eels, who have won 10 from 12 matches at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta and were undefeated in the first two rounds. They are now among the premiership favourites.
Melbourne are one of the other big winners, as only they and the Warriors will train daily out of the venue they are playing at.
The Storm usually train nearby at Gosch’s Paddock but that is now being used by Super Rugby club Melbourne Rebels, so they get to use AAMI Park.
“It’s an advantage for us,” Storm centre Marion Seve said. “This is where we’ll be playing so getting used to the ground and grass is a huge advantage.”
The venue plan was met with disappointment by the Titans, who had hoped to play at their regular ground Cbus Super Stadium but must now travel to Brisbane. However, Gold Coast prop Shannon Boyd said it would not bog the team down.
“If we’re playing footy, I’m happy,” he said. “As long as we can get back playing that’s the main thing.”
The rest of the NRL draw will be released on Thursday, with venues marked as TBA from round 10 on.
Where each team will play
Bankwest Stadium: Parramatta, Canterbury, South Sydney, Cronulla, Sydney Roosters
Campbelltown Stadium: St George Illawarra, Wests Tigers, Penrith, Canberra
Central Coast Stadium: Newcastle, Warriors, Manly
Suncorp Stadium: Brisbane, Gold Coast
QCB Stadium: North Queensland
AAMI Park: Melbourne