Wellington is to become the Warriors' first home away from
home after being confirmed as the venue for the club's NRL
clash against the Bulldogs in May.
While the Warriors took designated home games to Eden Park in
2011 and 2012 - and will do so again next year - the round
nine match at Westpac Stadium will be the first time in 19
seasons the club will play a home game outside Auckland.
They have played in the capital on five previous occasions
but only as the away team, with Canterbury-Bankstown and
Canberra opting to take home games across the Tasman during
the last decade.
When the NRL draw was announced last month, Warriors chief
executive Wayne Scurrah revealed the club would play one of
its 12 regular season home games elsewhere in New Zealand.
"It's hugely exciting for us and fitting as well that this
landmark event in our history will take place in the nation's
capital and at one of the best venues in New Zealand," he
said. "It's a fantastic opportunity for another part of the
country to see the Warriors take on last year's beaten grand
Confirmation of the match is set to mark a special homecoming
for Wellington-born and bred Warriors prop Ben Matulino,
while captain Simon Mannering was living in Wellington when
he was signed by the Warriors.
Adding to the interest, the Bulldogs boast current Kiwis Sam
Perrett, Krisnan Inu, Sam Kasiano, Frank Pritchard and Greg
Eastwood, plus ex-Kiwi Dene Halatau and former Junior Kiwis
Martin Taupau and Drury Low.
New Warriors head coach Matt Elliott said he certainly looked
forward to returning to Wellington for what will be his
second experience at Westpac Stadium as the nominated home
"I was there with Canberra in 2003 when we took our game to
Wellington to take on the Warriors," he said.
"I have great memories of the visit, too. We spent quite a
few days there and I've never forgotten how well the people
in Wellington looked after us. They were awesome then so it's
going to be terrific going back this time with us being the
home team there for the first time."
The decision to play a home match outside Auckland for the
first time is in line with the NRL's desire to have games
taken away from traditional home grounds.