New Zealand Warriors 2021 draw snapshot
Author Alicia Newton
Here is all you need to know about the Warriors' 2021 Telstra Premiership draw.
Teams they play twice
Titans, Knights, Raiders, Sea Eagles, Dragons, Storm, Cowboys, Wests Tigers, Sharks.
Teams they play once
Roosters, Eels, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Broncos.
Thursday - 0, Friday - 7, Saturday - 5, Sunday - 12.
5 days – 3, 6 days – 4, 7+ days – 16
The Warriors will start their campaign against the Titans at Mt Smart Stadium, where they've won nine of 12 clashes at home between the two sides, followed by another home game hosting the Knights six days later. The Raiders and Roosters (both away) complete a tough first month.
Five key match-upsKnights (Round 2, Mt Smart Stadium; Round 15, McDonald Jones Stadium):
Warriors coach Nathan Brown
will get his first chance at coaching against the side he practically put together before he departed the Knights in 2018.
The Warriors embarrassed Newcastle 36-6 in Tamworth the last time the sides met with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
making a mockery of the Knights' goal-line defence. Blake Green
's unlikely to be fit in round two for his first game against his former club but the recipe is there for a great battle.
Storm (Round 7, AAMI Park; Round 14, Mt Smart Stadium):
A return to the traditional and emotional Anzac Day clash after a 12-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Warriors haven't beaten the defending champions since 2016 and were handed a 50-6 hiding at Kogarah in round 7, 2020
as they struggled to come to grips with being away from their families.
They dug deep to win five of their nine and will relish another crack at Melbourne. Stephen Kearney
's return to the Storm as an assistant coach adds some extra spice.
Warriors' top five tries of 2020
Cowboys (Round 8, Mt Smart Stadium; Round 12, Queensland Country Bank Stadium):
Warriors players will get their first crack at facing former coach Todd Payten after he knocked back the chance to remain on as head coach in August. While most of the fresh faces in Nathan Brown
's line-up had little to do with Payten, he will know several of the players' game inside out.
Eels (Round 10, Suncorp Stadium): Jazz Tevaga
v Nathan Brown
in the NRL's Magic Round, let's get it on. A couple of rugged forwards looking to get one over the other.
was sin-binned for striking at Brown in round 17 as tensions spilled over and it's unlikely the pair will have forgotten what transpired. Add in Kane Evans
taking on his former club, and former Warrior Isaiah Papali'i joining the Eels, and it should be an intriguing encounter.
Sharks (Round 17, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium; Round 21, Mt Smart Stadium):
Forget Shaun Johnson
's return to Mt Smart Stadium for the first time, Cronulla were among the main reasons the Warriors missed a fairytale finals spot in 2020
because of another man - Toby Rudolf.
If the Warriors had it their way, Rudolf would've been playing for them in 2021, but he changed his mind after originally agreeing to a long-term deal. Making matters worse, Rudolf scored the match-winner in a tense affair in round 18 that proved costly.
The Sharks have had the wood over the Warriors, winning 12 of the last 15 clashes.
The Warriors' five-week block after their round 13 bye looms as critical with home clashes against the Storm (round 14), Dragons (round 16) and Panthers (round 18) and away trips to Newcastle (round 15) and Cronulla (round 17).
And another thing ...
The Warriors will return to the Sunshine Coast to play the Rabbitohs in 2021 after the fixture was cancelled in 2020
due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two sides turned on a thriller at Sunshine Coast Stadium in 2019 with two late tries to Cody Walker proving the difference.