League: Southern trip excites Warriors

The Warriors are due in town in a week and head coach Matthew Elliott says the team can not wait to head south.

The game between the Warriors and the Brisbane Broncos at Forsyth Barr Stadium on February 23 will be the first time NRL clubs have played in Dunedin.

Elliott is really looking forward to coming to Dunedin and seeing the covered stadium.

''I can't wait, to be honest. I think that from an organisational point of view, to be able to play the first game of league at the stadium is something to be really excited about,'' Elliott told the Otago Daily Times.

''From a personal point of view, to be able to get down and play on the stadium is a real thrill. I have heard a lot about the stadium and it is just a wonderful opportunity for us.''

He encouraged supporters in the South to get along and watch the game, as a league game up close was different to watching it on television.

The Warriors started their pre-season with a 42-24 loss to the Gold Coast Titans in Australia, and play the Penrith Panthers in Hamilton today.

The match against the Broncos will be their final trial before they kick off the season against the Paramatta Eels in Sydney on March 9. Their first home game is against the Sydney Roosters at Eden Park on March 16.

Elliot said the club wanted to get off to a good start to the season, so pre-season matches were important.

''From what I know, points at the start of the season are worth exactly the same as those at the end of the season. After what happened at the end of last season then we do want to get off to a good start.''

The Warriors had a disappointing season last year, finishing in 14th place. But Elliot said the side had not dwelled too much on last year.

''You can over-analyse that sort of things sometimes when the focus has to be on what is ahead and the new season, what we really need to do now and what is in front of us.''

Elliot was pleased with the trial against the Titans but said many of the players were young and there was a lack of combinations.

A stronger side would face the Panthers, and for the game in Dunedin it would be as full strength as possible.

''We'll be looking to bring down a squad of 19 and those extra two will only play a limited part in the game. The opposition are going to be strong so we need to be on our game.''

Elliot said the Warriors saw it as part of their job to be ambassadors for the sport. They took it seriously, so would be carrying out promotions for the sport while in Dunedin.

The Warriors will name their side on Tuesday, as is their practice during the season, and arrive in Dunedin on Thursday.

About 10,000 tickets have already been sold for the game. The NRL clash is being played the night after the Highlanders start their Super 15 rugby season with a match against the Chiefs at the stadium.


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