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The NRL’s second Magic Round at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium creates a neutral-ground scenario for seven of this weekend’s eight matches.

The Warriors are $3.00 underdogs ahead of Sunday afternoon’s showdown with second-placed – but depleted – Parramatta. The Warriors drifted to $56 in the 2021 premiership market following their Round 9 loss to Manly, while the Eels are on the fourth line of NRL title betting at $7.50.

The Warriors will be aiming to repeat their efforts in the inaugural Magic Round in 2019, when – after opening as $2.40 outsiders – they hauled in a 12-point halftime deficit to beat St George Illawarra 26-18. Kodi Nikorima was instrumental to the victory on club debut, while Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scooped three Dally M points, and Ken Maumalo and Karl Lawton also starred.

Central Coast Stadium has become the nomadic Warriors’ adopted home ground – and they’ve crafted a decent 6-6 record at the Gosford venue since setting up camp in the region. Five of the six losses were to 2020 finalists.

The Warriors previously had one loss (v Manly in 2013) and one win (v Sydney Roosters in 2016) in neutral matches at Central Coast Stadium.

But the club’s overall record in ‘impartial’ territories leaves plenty to be desired.

Perth springs to mind as one of the Warriors’ great hoodoo destinations. Not including a pair of losses to the now-defunct Western Reds at the WACA, the Warriors lost seven from seven in the city between 2005 and ’17 against Cronulla, Manly and Souths. They belatedly broke the drought with an opening-round upset of the Rabbitohs in 2018 at the brand-new Optus Oval as a $2.85 underdog.

One-off successes in matches with no genuine home team at North Sydney Oval (v Souths in 2005) and Tamworth’s Scully Park (v Newcastle in 2020 as a $2.91 outsider) are countered by defeats in sole neutral-game visits to Carrara Stadium (v Broncos in 2001), Sunshine Coast Stadium (v Souths in 2019), Cbus Super Stadium (v Canberra in 2020), Kogarah Oval (v Melbourne in 2020) and Campbelltown (v Penrith in 2020).

But the most staggering aspect of the Warriors’ poor strike-rate at neutral grounds is their record at alternate venues in New Zealand, where they enjoy overwhelming crowd support and travel time advantages.

The Warriors have played 31 premiership matches at Kiwi venues other than Mt Smart Stadium – for a return of eight wins, one draw and 22 losses. Check out the roadshow of woe below:

Westpac/Sky Stadium (Wellington): Played 10 – won 3, drew 1, lost 6
Eden Park (Auckland): Played 6 – won 1, lost 5
Lancaster Park/Jade Stadium (Christchurch): Played 5 – won 2, lost 3
Waikato Stadium (Hamilton): Played 4 – lost 4
Rugby League Park (Christchurch): Played 3 – won 1, lost 2
Owen Delaney Park (Taupo): Played 1 – won 1
Yarrow Stadium (New Plymouth): Played 1 – lost 1
Forstyth Barr Stadium (Dunedin): Played 1 – lost 1

Perhaps the heart-warming proposal for the Warriors to play all their 2022 away games throughout their homeland as a reward for their sacrifices over the past two seasons isn’t in their best interests…

Warriors fans and punters will be heartened by the 1.50pm (AEST) kick-off time for their Magic Round clash with the Eels. Last Sunday’s rollercoaster loss to the Sea Eagles was just their third from their last 10 in the daytime, while the six-point margin saw the Warriors cover their 11th straight day game.

TAB’s The Shark is tipping the Warriors to win by two against a shorthanded Eels outfit, with the +7.5 points start shaping as a juicy option – particularly when they are 12-4 ATS when getting more than six points.

The Warriors boast a handy overall record of six wins and a draw from 15 visits to Suncorp Stadium.


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Categories: Team News + Stats, WARRIORS NEWS

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