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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 28:  Penrith celebrate their teams win at the VB NSW Cup Grand Final match between Newcastle and Penrith at Allianz Stadium on September 28, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Renee McKay/Getty Images)

The New South Wales Rugby League’s 2015 VB NSW Cup draw has been released – and the upcoming season looks set to provide fans with more footballing excitement and entertainment than ever before.

The 2015 VB NSW Cup season kicks off with 2014 grand-finalists Newcastle meeting the Warriors on Saturday, March 7 – a day in which a total of four Round 1 afternoon matches are scheduled.

The 2014 VB NSW Cup premiers Penrith will enter the new season as favourites but a host of other sides will likely be hot on their heels.

The Knights should once again prove worth challengers while the Illawarra Cutters, Wentworthville Magpies, NZ Warriors, Wests Tigers, Mounties and Cronulla Sharks (who have partnered with Newtown) will also likely prove hard to handle. Last year’s surprise packets Wyong will be looking to go even deeper into the finals in 2015 while Canterbury, Manly and North Sydney have points to prove after disappointing seasons.

Coach of the NSW VB Blues Laurie Daley said he was excited about the prospect of watching second-tier rugby league in 2015, with the VB NSW Cup proving a genuine feeder system to his 2014 Origin-winning side.

“The VB NSW Cup is arguably rugby league’s greatest feeder system,” Daley said.

“I know the NSW VB Blues have benefitted from the competition – our halves Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds, for example, only played in the VB NSW Cup a couple of years ago.

“It’s a great breeding ground for future footballing superstars. I can’t wait to watch more of it in 2015.”

Chief Executive of the NSWRL David Trodden said the competition grew significantly in 2014 and that he was expecting even better things in the season ahead.

“Viewer numbers and attendances at VB NSW Cup matches rose in 2014 – a sign the competition is one held in particularly high regard by players and fans alike,” Trodden said.

“The standard of play also rose to another level in 2014 and I’m expecting even more excitement and entertainment in 2015. I can’t wait.”

The Panthers start to 2015 is as follows:

Round 1  
Panthers vs Bulldogs 
Sunday 8th March - Kick off: 1.45pm
Sportingbet Stadium, Penrith

Round 2

Panthers vs North Sydney
Saturday 14th March - Kick off: 2.15pm
Carrington Park, Bathurst

Round 3
Panthers vs Newtown
Saturday 21st March - Kick off: 3pm
Sportingbet Stadium, Penrith

Round 4

Panthers vs Knights
Saturday 28th March - Kick off: 12.45pm
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle

Click here to view the full 2015 VB NSW Cup draw.

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.