From https://www.nrl.com/news/2019/09/05...dule-options-open-but-storm-set-for-saturday/ NRL keeping finals schedule options open but Storm set for Saturday Michael Chammas Chief Reporter, NRL.com Thu 5 Sep 2019, 03:53 PM The NRL is in the process of finalising the schedule for the first week of the finals, with minor premiers Melbourne looking likely to play on Saturday night next weekend. NRL officials are going through all potential machinations of the final round, however the greatest consideration will be given to player welfare and ensuring fair turnaround times for all teams. Other considerations include NRLW scheduling, AFL finals fixtures, broadcasters and maximising crowd attendance. While things could change over the weekend, the Storm have been told to plan for a Saturday night 7.45pm fixture against the fourth-placed team, likely to be the Rabbitohs or Sea Eagles. If the Storm win, it’s almost certain they will host a Friday night preliminary final to avoid clashing with the AFL grand final on the Saturday of week three of the NRL finals. The rest of the week-one finals schedule is still up in the air, however the second-placed Roosters are guaranteed to host a game and will likely play on Friday night or the Saturday 5.40pm timeslot. The NRL will finalise the schedule and make an official announcement on Sunday after the Tigers-Sharks clash determines the make-up of the playoffs, however it is expected the Roosters will host the Raiders or Rabbitohs at the Sydney Cricket Ground. That would provide all teams at least a minimum seven-day turnaround. The NRL is also mindful of the women’s game, with the NRLW locked in as the curtain-raiser to the first Saturday men’s final and the Sunday men’s final as part of the broadcast deal. The Roosters would like to host a men’s and women’s double header, which is why they may play on Saturday. Parramatta are the other team guaranteed a home final for finishing fifth or sixth, however the NRL is reluctant to schedule the Eels on Friday night if they play against Cronulla or the Tigers. The Tigers and Sharks square off at Leichhardt Oval this Sunday afternoon, meaning a Friday fixture against the Eels would only allow them a five-day turnaround. The Friday night Eels match at Bankwest Stadium could be an option if Parramatta are drawn against the Brisbane Broncos, who play on Saturday this weekend. The Rabbitohs can cement a top-four spot with a win over the Roosters on Thursday night, however if they lose and Manly beat the Eels and make up a 32-point differential, South Sydney will finish fifth and host in one week of the finals. ANZ Stadium is capable of hosting a double-header, however there are restrictions at Brookvale Oval that the Sea Eagles will need to meet if there are to be two matches on the same day at the venue. The Sea Eagles are in the same boat as the Eels, with the timing of their fixture to be determined by their opponent and their turnaround time from the previous week.