The Warriors are in a familiar position at the halfway mark of the NRL regular season: stationed in the bottom half of the standings with a 5-7 record. Fans don’t need reminding the team left four premiership points out on the park in last-minute, one-point losses to Manly and North Queensland.
But the good news is the State of Origin period is upon us – that disjointed mid-season stretch where the Warriors, who are $31 in the premiership market and $2.88 for a Top 8 Finish, traditionally make up ground.
The Warriors’ supposed Origin advantages have perhaps been a tad overblown in the past. The club has had just six interstate representatives since entering the competition in 1995 – but the Warriors would certainly prefer to have had more Origin-calibre players in their ranks.
The stats regarding the Warriors’ ability to take advantage of Origin-weary opponents are compelling, however.
Obviously taking on a team stripped of their NSW and Queensland stars is an advantage. But the Warriors’ only game leading up to an Origin in 2021 is in Round 17 against the Sharks, who do not have any players involved in Game 1 and are unlikely to contribute any to the decider.
So let’s focus on how the Warriors have fared historically in the rounds immediately following Origin.
Since 2002 – when State of Origin made a permanent shift back to Wednesday nights (barring the standalone Sunday Game 2 format currently in vogue) – the Warriors have played 47 matches within four days after an Origin match. They boast a record of 26 wins, one draw and 20 losses.
But over the past decade, that success rate has been far more pronounced. In 21 post-Origin games since 2012, the Warriors have won 14, drawn one and lost just five. During one run from 2012-16, the Warriors won 11 straight games played four days or earlier after an Origin.
Unfortunately, the club’s long-running habit of bookending a midyear charge with a slow start and a late-season fadeout means it failed to make the finals in any of those five seasons.
PODCAST | The Advantage LIne team are joined by the one and only @ayshford_blaketo preview tonight's State Of Origin I.
— TAB Sport (@TAB_Sport) June 9, 2021
But it does bode well for their Sunday showdown with a Melbourne Storm side who have five players on show in Wednesday’s series opener: Josh Addo-Carr, Cameron Munster, Harry Grant, Christian Welch and Felise Kaufusi.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has regularly rested players after Origin matches – and the depth at his disposal is second to none. The Storm have powered on seamlessly with Munster and Grant out injured in recent weeks, while they grinded out a win over the Titans last weekend without their full Origin contingent.
But the Origin fatigue factor does make the Warriors a more enticing option as $4.70 underdogs as they attempt to snap a 10-match losing streak against the Storm, who will also be without suspended enforcer Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
The Warriors have lost whiz-kid Reece Walsh to a one-match ban, but that has been tempered by the hopeful return of front-row spearhead Addin Fonua-Blake for the first time since Round 4.
TAB’s The Shark is still backing the Storm to cover the 14.5-point start…but the Warriors are coming off the bye and primed for a trademark mid-season revival.
— The Shark (@TABShark) June 10, 2021