A week is a long time in rugby league, and in these unprecedented times with the goalposts quite literally moving on a daily basis it is extraordinarily hard to understand what Warriors side will turn up this week.
After a lacklustre start to the 2020 season last weekend, where they were outplayed by the Newcastle Knights maybe the distractions that we are experiencing right now could be a double edged sword for the embattled club.
The focus has been taken off that woeful performance somewhat, and is centered more on player welfare and where things will head in both the short and long term.Such is the clubs predicament of being temporarily relocated to Kingscliff just south of the Queensland border that the possibility of bringing in external NRL players on short term loans has been floated just to be able to get a team out on the park to keep the season going.
With everything that has been going on we have been quick to move on from last weekends flat performance and focus on the bigger picture. So here is a recap, numbers wise, of that Knights game, and how things look statistically speaking ahead of this weekends game against the Raiders.
ROUND 1 V NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS:
1 – This was the club’s first opening round loss since 2016’s 34-26 defeat to the Wests Tigers.
1 – The defeat also became the first opening round loss in Stephen Kearney’s tenure as Warriors head coach.
11 – The defeat was the 11th time in 19 games that the Warriors have lost against the Knights when playing in Newcastle.
4 – The Warriors conceded the first try in a game for the fourth consecutive NRL game. Each time they have conceded in the opening 15 minutes.
0 – The Warriors were held scoreless in the first half by the Knights for the first time since their inaugural clash in May 1995.
0 – The Warriors were held scoreless after 80 minutes for the first time since May 2019 against the Roosters.
9 – The Warriors were held to nil for the ninth time in the clubs history.
39 – This also ended a 39 consecutive game run of scoring points for the Warriors.
4 – A total of four players made their debuts for the club. Wayde Egan, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Eliesa Katoa and King Vuniyayawa taking the total number of players to represent the Warriors to 243.
2000 – Eliesa Katoa became the first-born Warrior from the 2000’s. Following on from; Dean Bell (1960’s), Sean Hoppe (1970’s), Wairangi Koopu (1980’s), Siuatonga Likiliki (1990’s).
312 – Adam Blair broke the record for the most first grade games by a New Zealander, overtaking former Raiders and Warriors legend Ruben Wiki who played 311 games. Blair’s tally consists of 121 games for the Storm, 71 for the Tigers, 74 for the Broncos and now 46 for the Warriors.
152 – As usual Roger Tuivasa-Sheck led the way in terms of running metres for the side, but both he and Ken Maumalo (115 metres) only clocked up half of the metres they were making on average last season.
2 – Only two of the Warriors forwards passed the 100 metre mark. Adam Blair (104 metres) and Eliesa Katoa (144 metres) in his NRL debut – and first competitive rugby league match with less than a year in the sport under his belt.
1 – Noticeably, new hooker Wayde Egan ran just once from dummy-half for a two-metre gain. Quite astonishing when you consider the Tigers Billy Walters in just this third NRL game darted out of the ruck nine times.
41 – Defensively both teams were pretty even, but the Knights took their chances. Lachlan Burr the only Warriors player to top 40 tackles – making 41 out of his 43 attempts. Adam Blair noticeably missing six tackles.
So, it is on to the Raiders now, in truly bizarre circumstances. Here is a breakdown of the history between these two clubs and some key numbers worth looking at.
HEAD TO HEAD:
20 – This will be the 43rd meeting between the two clubs, with the Raiders narrowly on top with 22 victories to the Warriors 20.
3 – Recent history shows that the Warriors have won just three of their last eight games against the Raiders. But those three wins have come in the last four games. No victory being bigger than a four-point margin.
6 – Whilst the Warriors have only won six of 19 games away against the Raiders in Canberra that is effectively null and void as the teams will be battling it out at a neutral venue in the Gold Coast.
8 – CBUS Super Stadium has been a reasonably successful hunting ground for the Warriors, winning eight of the 13 games they have played there since 2008. And losing only once there since 2010.
61 – Their 61% winning record on the Gold Coast is their best record at any ground that they have played more than three games at.
0 – The Warriors usually attract a fairly parochial expat crowd when they play on the Gold Coast, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic the game will be played behind closed doors with zero spectators in attendance.
2 – With points being so hard to come by last week, it will be a huge concern that the Warriors have been notoriously slow starters and only managed double figures in the first half against the Raiders twice in their past 10 encounters. Though going on to win on both of those occasions.
80 – But it gets even worse when you consider that the Raiders score first in 80% of their games.
3 – Coach Stephen Kearney has won just three of his eight games he has coached against the Raiders. All three wins coming in the last two seasons.
5 – However the drums will only start to beat louder for action to be taken when you consider Kearney’s recent run of results. With just five wins in his past 15 NRL games as a coach. Including just two in his last eight.
0 – Last season’s leading tryscorer for the Warriors, Ken Maumalo, has never scored against the Raiders in his seven outings so far.
10 – Adam Blair has won 10 of his last 12 games against the Raiders dating back to 2012, whilst Blake Green has won five of his last six games against the Raiders going back to 2016.
2 – Adam Keighran and Adam Pompey are both recalled due to the unavailability of Peta Hiku and Patrick Herbert. It will be a first NRL outing for both Keighran and Pompey since they played in the Warriors’ final-round victory over the Raiders in Round 25 last season.
98 – David Fusitu’a will line up for his 98th game for the Warriors. However it is uncertain when he will reach his 100th appearance due to the volatile nature of the state of play right now.
50 – Isaiah Papali’i will play in his 50th first grade game for the Warriors when he comes off the interchange bench this weekend.
49 – Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck needs just one more try to reach 50 in his NRL career. He dotted down 28 times for the Roosters and has scored 21 times for the Warriors.
149 – Kiwi international backrower Tohu Harris will run on for his 149th NRL appearance. Along time coming, he has struggled for game time over the past three seasons. Harris played 117 games for the Storm before joining the Warriors in 2018 where he has played just 30 of a possible 50 games.
49 – Journeyman forward Lachlan Burr will make his 49th NRL appearance against the Raiders this weekend. He has also played 31 games across the English Super League and Championship. His NRL journey includes games for the Bulldogs (1), Titans (23), Warriors (24). Whilst in England – Leigh (28) and Sheffield (3).