The New Zealand Warriors are long out of excuses.
Since taking the reins in 2017, local hero Stephen Kearney has made some big changes to a playing group that has delivered doughnuts in recent times.
Will the Warriors bring the fight in NRL 2020? Let’s see how the odds are shaping up.
About the New Zealand Warriors
|Home ground:||Mt Smart Stadium|
|2019 ladder finish:||13th (9-1-14)|
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Updated NZ Warriors futures odds
|2020 Premiership||Make Finals||Wooden Spoon||Dally M Odds|
Best NZ Warriors bets for NRL 2020
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:
- The Warriors have shown glimpses of promise in the past few years, but a serious lack of consistency has hampered their progress. It would be a big shock if NZ were anywhere near the upper reaches of the NRL ladder come September.
- NZ snuck into the finals in 2018 but dropped back to 13th last year. Treat those finishes as your markers when assessing whether or not the Warriors will make the finals this season. They are a chance, but there are better bets out there.
- Roger Tuivasa-Sheck won the Dally M Medal in 2018 and finished in the top six last year. The Kiwi fullback is without doubt the best bet on NZ’s list.
NZ Warriors players to watch in 2020
‘Fus’ was the competition’s deadliest attacker in 2018, topping the charts with 23 tries from as many games. He managed only five tries in 2019, so Warriors fans will hope to see the dashing winger back to his best this season.
Position: Second row
A broken foot kept Harris out for the back half of the 2019 campaign, so he will be eager to make an impact from the start this year. The former Melbourne Storm star adds great experience and quality to NZ’s second row.
Few players are as important to their team as the 2019 Dally M Medal winner. If RTS has a down year or cops an injury, it is hard to see the Warriors going anywhere near the finals this season.
NZ Warriors records and stats
- Most games: 301 – Simon Mannering
Most career points: 917 – Shaun Johnson
Most career tries: 152 – Manu Vatuvei
Most points in a season: 242 – Ivan Cleary (2002)
Most tries in a season: 23 – Francis Meli (2003), David Fusitu’a (2018)
Most points in a match: 28 – Gene Ngamu (vs. Cowboys, 1996)
- Most consecutive wins: Eight (2002)
Most consecutive losses: 11 (2012-13, 2015-16)
Biggest winning margin: 66-0 (vs. Souths, 2006)
Biggest losing margin: 6-62 (vs. Panthers, 2013)
Largest NRL attendance: 38,405 (vs. Eels, 2011)
- While rugby league is the code of choice in Australia, it remains the scrawny little brother in union-mad New Zealand. Nevertheless, league football has enjoyed a healthy cult following in the Auckland area since the early 20th century.
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.