Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors Club is based at Ericsson Stadium in Auckland.
On 17th of May 1992 the announcement stating an Auckland-based team's entry into the Australian Rugby League competition, the Winfield Cup in 1995 was made.
The coach of the new team would be former Parramatta and Wigan coach John Monie. Former rugby union players such as John Kirwan and Marc Ellis were brought in also.
The Warriors first entered the NRL 1995 with their debut match against the Brisbane Broncos on March 10, 1995 to an almost full stadium of 30,000. The Warriors lost 22-25. Things never got any better for the Warriors in 1995 or 1996, they went on to finish last on the points table in both the Winfield and Optus Cups.
Monie was replaced with Frank Endacott as coach. Aside from occasional flickers of form such as in the 1997 Visa World Club Challenge, where the Warriors made the semi-finals to lose 22-16 to Brisbane, things continued to look lack-lustre for the Warriors as the team continued to miss making the play offs.
Former Kiwi Mark Graham took over as coach in 1999. In the 1999 and 2000 seasons the Warriors began to move away from the bottom of the table.
In 2000 the Warriors club was put up for sale after mounting debts forced the club's majority shareowner to sell. The club was bought by local business tycoon Eric Watson and operations of the club were made more effective through streamlining measures including letting go of many players and the beginning of a program to get more local talent into the team. Only three players had survived from 1995: Logan Swann, Stacey Jones and Monty Betham.
These measures seemed to work, as in 2001 the Warriors made the play-offs, albeit only just, having finished 8th. In the playoffs the Warriors were immediately eliminated when they lost to the Eels 56-12.
The Warriors reached their zenith to date in 2002. They won the minor premiership, i.e. they came first on the points table and, went on to end up runner-up after losing in the Grand Final to the Roosters 30-8.
For the final match against the Sharks at Homebush the Warriors' sponsors, such as Vodafone New Zealand and Eric Watson, purchased 15,000 tickets and gave them away for free to anyone with a New Zealand passport. Reportedly, in the 45,000 plus crowd there were more ‘black'(Warriors) supporters than there were for the local Sharks side which greatly reduced the 'home' advantage. The Warriors went on to win 16-10.
In 2003 the team finished 4th. Despite predictions from many in the pre-season of the Warriors in 2004 performing well, ended up finishing second to last and narrowly escaped being bottom on the table.
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