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The New Zealand Warriors became everybody’s second-favourite NRL team in 2020 and weren’t far off reaching the finals despite spending a majority of the season outside of their home country.
The club made some tough calls over the course of the campaign, including the decision to axe Stephen Kearney and appoint Nathan Brown as head coach for 2021.
Can the Warriors improve again and push for a place in the top eight? Let’s see what Australia’s best NRL betting sites have to say.
|Home ground:||Mt Smart Stadium|
|2020 ladder finish:||10th (8-12)|
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|2021 Premiership||Make Finals||Wooden Spoon|
There are dozens of NRL futures markets for the Warriors, but where are they likely to return some real value?
Click on the tabs below to get more analysis on these markets:
|1||Gold Coast Titans||Central Coast Stadium||Saturday, March 13||5pm|
|2||Newcastle Knights||Central Coast Stadium||Saturday, March 19||8pm|
|3||Canberra Raiders||GIO Stadium||Saturday, March 27||5pm|
|4||Sydney Roosters||Sydney Cricket Ground||Sunday, April 4||8:15pm|
|5||Manly Sea Eagles||Mt Smart Stadium||Friday, April 9||8pm|
|6||St George Illawarra Dragons||Netstrata Jubilee Stadium||Sunday, April 18||4pm|
|7||Melbourne Storm||AAMI Park||Sunday, April 25||8:15pm|
|8||North Queensland Cowboys||Mt Smart Stadium||Sunday, May 2||4pm|
|9||Manly Sea Eagles||Lottoland||Sunday, May 9||4pm|
|10||Parramatta Eels||Suncorp Stadium||Sunday, May 16||3:50pm|
|11||Wests Tigers||Mt Smart Stadium||Friday, May 21||8pm|
|12||North Queensland Cowboys||Queensland Country Bank Stadium||Friday, May 28||8pm|
|14||Melbourne Storm||Mt Smart Stadium||Sunday, June 9||4pm|
|15||Newcastle Knights||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, June 19||5pm|
|16||St George Illawarra Dragons||Mt Smart Stadium||Friday, July 2||8pm|
|17||Cronulla Sharks||Netstrata Jubilee Stadium||Sunday, July 11||6:05pm|
|18||Penrith Panthers||Mt Smart Stadium||Sunday, July 18||4pm|
|19||South Sydney Rabbitohs||Sunshine Coast Stadium||Saturday, July 24||5pm|
|20||Wests Tigers||Bankwest Stadium||Friday, July 30||8pm|
|21||Cronulla Sharks||Mt Smart Stadium||Saturday, August 7||5pm|
|22||Canterbury Bulldogs||Mt Smart Stadium||Sunday, August 15||4pm|
|23||Brisbane Broncos||Suncorp Stadium||Sunday, August 22||6:05pm|
|24||Canberra Raiders||Mt Smart Stadium||Friday, August 27||8pm|
|25||Gold Coast Titans||Cbus Super Stadium||Sunday, September 5||4pm|
Since the departure of Blake Green midway through 2020, the versatile Kodi Nikorima has emerged as a classy operator in the halves. His partnership with Chanel Harris-Tavita will be central to the Warriors’ fortunes this year.
This might prove to be the signing of the year. Addin Fonua-Blake was a huge presence in Manly’s forward pack, and his partnership with star lock Tohu Harris could help shape the Warriors for years to come.
Few players in the NRL are as important to their team as Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is to the Warriors. Can the 2019 Dally M Medal winner drag this side to the finals one last time before he leaves for rugby union next year?
Serious talk of a NZ-based team joining the NSW Rugby League first arose during the expansion push of the 1980s. Years of campaigning bore fruit in 1995, when the Auckland Warriors were admitted to the newly formed Australian Rugby League. The club switched to the rival Super League for the 1997 season and then joined the reunified NRL in ’98.
Auckland’s early years were a struggle both on and off the field, so much so that the club was sold in 2000 and rebranded as the New Zealand Warriors. Turning their focus to unheralded local talent, the new-look Warriors marched to their first finals campaign in 2001 and were losing grand finalists in 2002 after claiming the minor premiership.
A return to hard times was not far away, however. The Warriors finished second from bottom in 2004, 11th in 2005, and 10th in 2006 when they had premiership points deducted due to salary cap breaches the previous season. Ivan Cleary took over in ’06 and steered NZ to three finals series in five years, but the club has struggled to impact the upper half of the table since the 2011 NRL Grand Final defeat to Manly.