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Streamlined 2020 Magic Round shooting for the stars

The 2020 Magic Round in Brisbane has been tipped by NRL CEO Todd Greenberg to be a bigger success than this year's debut.

As players from all 16 clubs converged on the Queensland capital for the launch on Tuesday, Greenberg labelled the May 1-3 event "one of the great innovations in rugby league".

The NRL boss said last season's Magic Round - which attracted more than 130,000 fans - was a huge success while adding that the NRL was always looking to improve the concept.

That's why it has been condensed into three days for 2020.  

The NRL's broadcast partners were consulted before ditching the Thursday night timeslot which this year saw the Titans play the Sharks in front of 17,113 fans.

Greenberg frustrated by off-field incidences

"We thought three days made great sense. It allows effectively for a double-header on Friday and a triple-header for fans on Saturday and Sunday," Greenberg said.

"For less than $100 you can see all eight games over a weekend. I think it will be bigger next year.

"I think the precinct will come alive in a greater fashion. I thought it was a great success [in 2019] and I think it will be a bigger success next year. I hope that fans jump in and get their tickets early and get their accommodation sorted.

"Rugby league is a long season and it is important that we come up with innovations in the middle of it that create differences for our fans."

The draw has been structured so that one of the Queensland-based teams competes on each of the three days.

Oates: Good to see Fifita home

On Friday night, May 1,  the Sea Eagles play the Brisbane Broncos in what is a "home game" for Manly. The Cowboys do battle with the Roosters on Saturday while the Titans play the Panthers to finish off the round on Sunday.

Long-time rivals and 1999 grand final opponents the Storm and Dragons clash on Sunday, a day after 1994 grand finalists the Bulldogs and Raiders face off.  

Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker said his team stayed at tourist hot spot South Bank in 2019 where there was a carnival atmosphere.

"We saw all the kids and families in different jerseys but everyone is here for the one reason," he said.       

Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones said this year's Magic Round contributed more than $20 million into the Queensland economy and expected at least as much of an injection next year.

Broncos winger Corey Oates also hailed the weekend as a special part of the rugby league calendar.

"It is a great weekend. The crowds are awesome. When you get there and look around there is every jersey in the stadium and everyone is there to support the game," he said.

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.