The Warriors return home this week and a tough visitor awaits in the shape of the Canberra Raiders, who are flying high this season.
- 41 – Friday will be the 41st clash between these two sides. The Warriors have won 19, while the Raiders have a slight upper hand with 21 victories.
Returning home for the first time since June, the Warriors would have to consider their month-long sojourn a success despite last weekend’s frustrating loss to the Eels.
- 4 – The Warriors came away with two narrow wins, a draw and a narrow loss in their four games on the road in July. They had a total points differential of just +3 points after four straight cliff-hangers.
It was the manner in which they showed some real resolve in these games that will have given fans a small glimmer of hope though. After an awful run at home they have restored some pride in the jersey and are a chance of salvaging this season. But they will need to rectify their recent home-ground hoodoo first.
- 5 – The Warriors have lost their last five straight games at Mt Smart Stadium.
- 6 – The Warriors’ most consecutive defeats at Mt Smart Stadium is six, from Round 24, 1998 through to Round 9, 1999.
Meanwhile, the Raiders have been in sublime form this season, and will provide the Warriors with a real test to gauge where they are at having not played a top-four side since the Storm in Round 13, when they lost 32-10.
- 6 – The Raiders have won six of their last seven games.
- 7 – The Raiders have won seven of their 10 away games in 2019, winning six of them by 12 or more points.
Recent history in this fixture is relatively even, although the Warriors had the wood over the Raiders last season winning both games by narrow margins.
- 7 – The Warriors have won seven of the last 12 meetings between these two sides dating back to 2013. They won five straight from 2013-2015 before the Raiders won four straight from 2016-2017.
- 60 – The Warriors have won 60 percent of their home clashes against the Raiders, winning 12 of the 20 games at Mt Smart Stadium.
- 50 – Three of the last four occasions that the Warriors have scored 50 points or more in a game have come against the Raiders. In fact, they all came in a row across 2013-2014. Manu Vatuvei scored 8 tries across the three games and Shaun Johnson picked up 26 points on two occasions.
The Raiders are a different outfit this year, however, and one that should be feared. They possess serious threats across the park, none more so than the English trio of Josh Hodgson, John Bateman and Elliott Whitehead. All three having a profound influence on Ricky Stuart’s side this season.
- 30 – All three players average more than 30 tackles per game, the most of any of the Raiders players.
Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has undoubtedly been the buy of the season for any NRL club. The player the Warriors no longer wanted has turned into one of the best fullbacks in the NRL. His battle with his former mentor Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will be a real contest in itself.
- 1 – Tuivasa-Sheck leads the NRL for the most runs (365), most run metres (3,575), and is in the top five for the most line breaks (13 – fourth), most post-contact metres (921 – fifth), most tackle breaks (97 – second) and most kick-return metres (962 – second).
- 1 – Nicoll-Klokstad is revelling in his new fullback role, and leads the NRL for the most kick-return metres (1,245) as well as the third-most run metres (3,310 – behind Tuivasa-Sheck and Ken Maumalo), third-most runs (325 – behind Tuivasa-Sheck and Maumalo), and the sixth-most tackle breaks (77).
- 4 – Nicoll-Klokstad has scored at least one try in each of the Raiders’ last four games.
After some dubious calls by the match officials last week, which were subsequently confirmed to be incorrect by the NRL match review committee, captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has urged his side to move on and focus on the football in what is a do-or-die game.
- 9 – The Warriors copped nine straight penalties against the Eels, not receiving one themselves for 70 minutes of play.
They will be without rejuvenated hooker Issac Luke this week who has been suspended for three weeks but are boosted by the return of Kodi Nikorima.
If the Warriors’ engine room can stand up again like they did against the Eels they are in with a real chance here. Add in Ken Maumalo’s and Tuivasa-Sheck’s strong carries from the back and they will have the perfect platform to try and break down a rigid Raiders defensive line.
- 77 – The Raiders possess the second-best defence in the NRL this year, conceding just 14.77 points per game.
- 14 – Maumalo leads the NRL try scoring charts in equal-first place with the Eels’ Maika Sivo, both having scored 14 tries in 2019.
- 0 – Maumalo has never scored a try against the Raiders in five appearances.
- 9 – Peta Hiku has scored nine tries in nine career games against the Raiders, including four in a game in 2014 while playing for Manly.
- 4 – Hiku has scored a try in each of his last four games against the Raiders, two while playing for the Panthers and two for the Warriors.
This is a season-defining game for the Warriors; a win will keep their season alive for another week, a loss will virtually book Mad Monday in for the 9th of September.
- 5 – Realistically the Warriors still need to win five of their last six games to guarantee a play-off berth.
- 4 – The Warriors have won all four of their Friday night games in 2019.
- 9 – Adam Blair has won nine of his last 10 games against the Raiders.