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 2019? Let’s see how the odds are shaping up.
About the New Zealand Warriors
|Home ground:||Mt Smart Stadium|
|2018 ladder finish:||Eighth (15-9)|
Best bookies for NZ Warriors betting
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Updated NZ Warriors futures odds
The best NZ Warriors NRL odds come courtesy of Sportsbet, where new punters can pocket up to $501 in bonus bets upon joining. Sign up now for free.
|2019 Premiership||Make Finals||Miss Finals||Dally M Odds|
|Jan||$26||$2.50||$1.50||R Tuivasa-Sheck $15|
|Feb||$26||$2.50||$1.50||R Tuivasa-Sheck $15|
|Mar||$26||$2.75||$1.45||R Tuivasa-Sheck $15|
|Apr||$34||$3.25||$1.28||R Tuivasa-Sheck $15|
Best NZ Warriors bets for NRL 2019
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:
- Despite a strong run home in 2018, there is no support for the Warriors this year. The loss of key players leaves NZ scrabbling around mid-table with little hope of mounting a serious title challenge.
- NZ snuck into the finals last year, but there are several teams ready to knock them out in 2019. Most online bookies rate them a much better chance to miss the top eight.
- Roger Tuivasa-Sheck won the Dally M Medal and is without doubt the Warriors’ best bet again this season. Even if you don’t think he can defend his title, the skipper is a very good chance to hold down the fullback slot in the Dally M Team of the Year.
2019 NZ Warriors draw
|1||Canterbury Bulldogs||Mt Smart Stadium||Saturday, March 16||5pm|
|2||Wests Tigers||Campbelltown Stadium||Sunday, March 24||8:10pm|
|3||Manly Sea Eagles||Christchurch Stadium||Saturday, March 50||5pm|
|4||Gold Coast Titans||Mt Smart Stadium||Friday, April 5||8pm|
|5||South Sydney Rabbitohs||Sunshine Coast Stadium||Sunday, April 13||5pm|
|6||North Queensland Cowboys||Mt Smart Stadium||Saturday, April 20||7:30pm|
|7||Melbourne Storm||AAMI Park||Wednesday, April 25||9:50pm|
|8||Newcastle Knights||Mt Smart Stadium||Sunday, May 5||4pm|
|9||St George Illawarra Dragons||Suncorp Stadium||Saturday, May 11||7:30pm|
|10||Penrith Panthers||Panthers Stadium||Friday, May 17||8pm|
|11||Brisbane Broncos||Mt Smart Stadium||Saturday, May 25||7:30pm|
|13||Melbourne Storm||Mt Smart Stadium||Saturday, June 8||5pm|
|14||Gold Coast Titans||Cbus Super Stadium||Friday, June 14||8pm|
|15||Penrith Panthers||Mt Smart Stadium||Sunday, June 30||4pm|
|16||Newcastle Knights||McDonald Jones Stadium||Saturday, July 6||9:35pm|
|17||Brisbane Broncos||Suncorp Stadium||Saturday, July 13||7:30pm|
|18||Cronulla Sharks||Westpac Stadium||Friday, July 19||8pm|
|19||Parramatta Eels||Bankwest Stadium||Saturday, July 27||5pm|
|20||Canberra Raiders||Mt Smart Stadium||Friday, August 2||8pm|
|21||Manly Sea Eagles||Mt Smart Stadium||Friday, August 9||8pm|
|22||Sydney Roosters||Sydney Cricket Ground||Sunday, August 18||4pm|
|23||Cronulla Sharks||Shark Park||Saturday, August 24||5pm|
|24||South Sydney Rabbitohs||Mt Smart Stadium||Friday, August 30||8pm|
|25||Canberra Raiders||GIO Stadium||Saturday, September 7||5pm|
NZ Warriors players to watch in 2019
‘Fus’ was the competition’s deadliest attacker in 2018, topping the charts with 23 tries from as many games. New Zealand will need more of the same to have any chance of playing finals this year.
Position: Second row
The Warriors have lacked experienced, reliable performers in recent years, but Harris brings a winning mentality from his time at the Melbourne Storm and knows how to deliver week in, week out.
‘RTS’ edged out the likes of Kalyn Ponga, Luke Brooks and Valentine Holmes to win the Dally M Medal in 2018. After losing some top talent in the off-season, the Warriors need another big year form their captain.
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 not finished in the top eight since the 2011 NRL Grand Final defeat to Manly.
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