New Zealand Warriors

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The New Zealand Warriors compete in the National Rugby League (NRL) and are based in Auckland, New Zealand. They are the only NRL team based outside of Australia. The debut year for the club was 1995 when it became the twentieth team in the Australian Rugby League (ARL) competition and was named the Auckland Warriors. 1997 saw the Warriors leave the ARL to join the rival Super League competition. They joined the unified NRL competition the following year. The team was re-branded the New Zealand Warriors in 2001.

Co-incidentally it was the 2001 season that the newly named Warriors made their first finals appearance. Although they lost heavily to the Parramatta Eels and were eliminated, they at least showed they were headed in the right direction as a club. In 2002 the Warriors won the Minor Premiership with a 17:7 win/loss record at the end of the regular season. They made the Grand Final against the Sydney Roosters, but were easily defeated 30-8. 2003 was another strong year for the club, yet ultimate success continued to elude them. They suffered a 20-28 Preliminary Final loss to eventual premiers Penrith Panthers.

The club went through various struggles for the next three years, finishing second last in 2004, 11th of 15 in 2005 and receiving salary cap breach penalties in 2006. 2007 signalled a return to the finals for the Warriors after finishing in 4th place on the ladder at the home and away season’s end. They hosted the Parramatta Eels at Mount Smart Stadium, losing 12-10. Their next final saw them suffer a humiliating 49-12 loss at the hands of the Cowboys in Townsville.

Moving to season 2011, the Warriors finished in sixth place. Despite a 40-10 thrashing by the Brisbane Broncos in week one of the finals, the Warriors still managed to progress to the next round. They pulled off a stunning 22-20 win over the Wests Tigers to earn a grand final qualifier berth against the Melbourne Storm. The easily accounted for Melbourne and played Manly in the Grand Final. Unfortunately, they lost 24-10 in a game ruined by some poor referee calls.

2012 was a dismal year for the Warriors, finishing in 14th position on the ladder. They recorded 8 wins and 16 losses for the season. They will hope to make a drastic improvement in 2013.

Records & Achievements

Premierships: Nil

Most capped: 261 Stacey Jones, 1995-2005, 2009

Past prominent players: Francis Meli, Lance Hohaia, Ivan Cleary, Steve Price

Current prominent players: Ben Matulino, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering, Nathan Friend

Stadium: Mt Smart, Penrose, Auckland, New Zealand.

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