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Advertise on Site. The Warriors reached their zenith to date in the National Rugby League season They won the Minor Premiership , finishing in first place at the conclusion of the regular season after the Bulldogs lost 37 competition points late in the season due to severe salary cap breaches. The club played what stands as the first finals match to have been held outside Australia at Mt Smart Stadium in the first week of the Finals Series.
The Warriors would defeat their bogey side Canberra 36—20 after surviving an early scare. Reportedly, in the 45, crowd there were more Warriors supporters than Sharks supporters — astonishing considering the Sharks are a Sydney-based club. The Warriors went on to win 16—10 with John Carlaw scoring a famous try after latching onto a pinpoint Stacey Jones grubber-kick.
The Grand Final against the Sydney Roosters was a tight match for the first hour. The Warriors trailed 2—6 at half time, but took a lead just after halftime when Jones scored a great grand final try — as he left defenders sprawling in his wake on a metre run to the try line.
The Roosters ran away with the match in the final 20 minutes after captain Brad Fittler was involved in a head clash with Warriors prop Richard Villasanti. The final score was an unflattering 8— After blowing an early 16—0 lead to lose 26—36 to the Newcastle Knights in Round 1, the Warriors embarked on a five-match winning streak to announce themselves as contenders for the season. However, the Warriors then struggled through the middle-stages of the season, squandering a 26—12 lead with eight minutes remaining to lose to the Parramatta Eels dramatically 28—26 at Parramatta Stadium.
There was also an insipid 10—30 loss in Townsville to the North Queensland. They played their first ever extra time match, defeating South Sydney 31—30, recovering from a 6—24 deficit. On the back of inspired play by prop Richard Villasanti , the Warriors secured their playoff spot, ultimately finishing sixth on points differential, a dangerous position to finish, as the 6th-placed finishers had been eliminated after the first week of the playoffs in the past three seasons.
The Warriors turned on one of their finest performances ever, stunning the Bulldogs early to lead 16—4 at halftime, and after a Bulldogs comeback tied the scores at all, scoring five tries in 16 minutes to blow the Bulldogs away, eventually winning 48— Winger Francis Meli scored five tries, a finals record. This prompted Graham Lowe, a known critic of the Warriors to say that the Warriors would win the premiership.
The next week a Stacey Jones field-goal in the dying minutes got the Warriors past a gallant Canberra Raiders 17— It was a disappointing loss for the Warriors, who did not lead at any point of the match, and blew their chance early in the second half to take their first lead, when Henry Fa'afili lost the ball with the line wide open. Before the National Rugby League season started, there were predictions of the Warriors having a highly successful season. These were proved wrong, as the Warriors managed to only win six games to finish equal last, only escaping the wooden spoon by having a superior points differential to South Sydney.
Coach Daniel Anderson resigned mid-season after an embarrassing point loss to the Sydney Roosters. His assistant Tony Kemp was given the head coach position, and in his first game in charge the Warriors recorded an emotional 20—14 win over Canberra. A week later, the Warriors' first match in Christchurch since was a flop, as the Warriors were destroyed by the Wests Tigers 4— The season finished with an embarrassing six-game losing streak.
The management looked to rescue a poor year with some high-profile signings. The team remained competitive for all of their matches, and their largest loss was only 18 points.
The team had a good chance to make the finals, however a four match losing streak late in the season removed those chances. The season was tinged with sadness, as it was announced it would be star halfback Stacey Jones last season with the club before he would join French Super League club, Catalans Dragons. His last match for the team against Manly at Brookvale Oval was a fine way for him to sign off with the club as he scored the match-winning try with three minutes to go in a 22—20 victory.
At the end of the season the structure of the team was reviewed. Tony Kemp was sacked as coach and his assistant Ivan Cleary replaced him as head coach. National Rugby League season got off to a bad start for the club. In February, the Warriors were found to have committed major breaches of the salary cap in This followed the high-profile signings of Steve Price and Ruben Wiki. Even before the penalty the Warriors were expected to struggle and were being picked as wooden spooners in some quarters. With the four point deduction, the Warriors won their first NRL game away from Auckland, with a 26—10 victory over the reigning premiers, the Wests Tigers, at Jade Stadium in Christchurch.
On 25 June the Warriors recorded their largest ever win, defeating South Sydney 66—0 at Telstra Stadium , as part of a four-match winning streak that claimed the scalps of the Sydney Roosters, Newcastle Knights, and also the Penrith Panthers.
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This streak was ended in an 18—22 golden-point loss to the Bulldogs, in a game where the Warriors surrendered an early 16—0 lead. The Warriors finished the season on a positive note leaving room for optimism for and beyond. They caused arguably the upset of the season, defeating the Minor Premiers Melbourne 24—20 at Olympic Park Stadium in Melbourne, preventing the Storm from going the full regular season unbeaten at home. Impressively, it took the Warriors 24 weeks to be completely out of finals contention.
The Warriors finished winning eight of their final twelve games, including a 42—16 thrashing of the Roosters in Round 25, which included four tries by Jerome Ropati. Had the Warriors not suffered the four-point deduction, they would have finished in eighth place on the ladder, and hence would have taken part in the finals series. As it was, they finished tenth on the ladder. There were a number of revelations in the squad. Unheralded halfback Grant Rovelli was a standout performer. Winger Patrick Ah Van has cemented a first grade spot and impressed many with his performances, while George Gatis and Nathan Fien were fine performers at hooker, and centre Simon Mannering has been one of the Warriors most impressive backs.
The Warriors completed their pre-season with two wins from three games, defeating the Auckland Lions 64—4, losing to the North Queensland Cowboys 32—14 and defeating the Canterbury Bulldogs 36—6. The Warriors finished the season in fourth place. The season began with a 34—18 victory over Parramatta at Mt Smart Stadium. The following week the side created history by winning their first two games of the season with a 24—14 victory over premiers, the Brisbane Broncos — the first time they have ever won their opening two games of the season. After a good start which saw the team sitting in fourth place with a 4—2 win-loss record, the team hit a period of indifferent form, falling into a six match losing streak following a last minute win over South Sydney.
The team returned to form, defeating Cronulla 12—2 in wild weather at Toyota Park. Following that victory the side won 9 out of 12 games, with one draw. The Warriors clinched a playoff spot with a 36—14 win over an understrength Manly side, and claimed a home final the following week, defeating the Penrith Panthers 24—20 at CUA Stadium in Round The Warriors, by virtue of finishing the regular season in fourth place, won the right to host one of the finals matches in the first week of the playoffs. However, the Warriors narrowly went down to the Parramatta Eels 12—10 at Mount Smart Stadium , and their season ended with an awful 12—49 loss to the Cowboys in Townsville.
On 30 May the Warriors signed Australian Kangaroos ' centre, Brent Tate from to in what was described as a "major coup" for the New Zealand club. The season did not start as brightly for the club, losing Wade McKinnon for much of the year during a pre-season loss to Newcastle, and losing captain Steve Price rugby league for ten weeks, as well as injuries to other key players Manu Vatuvei , Jerome Ropati and Michael Witt. The team remained in contention for much of the season, however often performed very poorly away from Mt Smart Stadium, and suffered their first loss to South Sydney 28—35 since , and went on to lose to the Rabbitohs again later in the season 16— Despite poor results away, strong home form and a now common revival in the second half of the season saw the Warriors make the top eight for the second season running, incredibly despite spending only three weeks in the top eight all season.
A top-eight berth was secured in the last game of the season, when the Warriors defeated the Parramatta Eels 28—6 at Parramatta Stadium, marking the first time since that the Warriors had won away to Parramatta. With nothing to lose in the first week of the finals, the Warriors caused arguably the greatest finals upset ever, and arguably greatest victory in the history of the club, defeating the Melbourne Storm 18—15 at Olympic Park; in doing so, they became the first 8th placed team to beat the minor premiers, with Michael Witt scoring two minutes from full-time to clinch the win.
Witt taunted Melbourne captain, Cameron Smith , before placing the ball for the historic victory. In week two of the playoffs, the Warriors came from behind to defeat the Sydney Roosters 30—13 at Mt. Smart Stadium. The Roosters led 13—6 at halftime before a second-half comeback saw the Warriors pile on twenty-four unanswered points to earn the Warriors a place in the preliminary finals. This was the first time since that the Warriors have reached the grand final qualifier, and third overall in 14 seasons.
They however went down heavily to an inspired Manly Sea Eagles 32—6. He had gone into dangerous surf to rescue some relatives but was probably sucked under by a rip. Almost as if using the occurrence as an inhibitor, the Warriors had a very disappointing year, despite winning the opening two rounds against eventual grand finalists Parramatta Eels 26—18 and reigning premiers Manly Sea Eagles.
After those great wins they proceeded to win a poor 1 of 8 games including a draw. They did however manage to beat West Tigers 14—0 and the Knights 13—0 keeping both opponents scoreless, but it was the poor attacking that had every league fan questioning. But in the end the Warriors lost their final two games against the Bulldogs in Hazem El Masri's last home game [before the finals] and ultimately ended their poor season in a bad way losing 0—30 to the eventual premiers Melbourne Storm. Expectations were not high for the Warriors in after a disappointing season. The Warriors bolstered their playing stocks in the pivotal play-making positions by signing Brett Seymour after he was cut by Cronulla and James Maloney from Melbourne.
In arguably one of their best ever performances they humbled the Brisbane Broncos 48—16 at Suncorp Stadium in Round 3, with Maloney tying a club-record with 28 points 3 tries and 8 goals. Kevin Locke scored a hat-trick in the Warriors miraculous 20—18 win over the Sydney Roosters at AMI Stadium in Christchurch, narrowly escaping a serious hip injury after a high-speed collision with the goal-post in the process of scoring the game-winning try.
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The Warriors won five matches in a row for the first time since late in the season and finished in 5th position in the regular season. They were knocked out of the finals series in the first week, losing to Gold Coast Titans. The Warriors began the season with an historic match at Auckland's Eden Park , the first regular season home game the club had played away from Mt Smart Stadium.
The match drew a record home game crowd for the Warriors of 38, however unfortunately the Warriors could not repay the large crowd with a victory as they were beaten 24—18 by the Parramatta Eels. The Warriors went on to lose their following two matches and it appeared that Warriors fans were in for another season of disappointment. To their credit the Warriors bounced back and were in the running for a top four position late in the season but finished in 6th spot.
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Midway through the season coach Ivan Cleary was approached by the Penrith Panthers and was appointed as their coach for the season. Cleary remained coach for the remainder of the season and Brian McClennan was to be appointed his successor for the season. One of the highlights of the season was the unearthing of the young halfback Shaun Johnson who played a key role as the Warriors approached the finals series.
In week one of the finals series the Warriors were thrashed 40—10 by the Brisbane Broncos. Other results went the Warriors way and they were fortunate to progress to week two of the finals where they would meet a high flying Wests Tigers who had completed their 9th straight victory. The match was expected to go the Tigers way however a brilliant second half comeback by the Warriors culminated in a late and controversial try to Krisnan Inu which saw the Warriors win 22—20 and earn the right to play the Melbourne Storm for a place in the Grand Final.
The Warriors traveled to Melbourne as outsiders but turned in what is considered one of the most complete performances in the club's history. The Warriors controlled the match and sealed the Melbourne Storm's fate with Shaun Johnson mesmerising the Storm defence to send Lewis Brown in for the try that would send the Warriors to their second ever Grand Final, where they would meet the Manly Sea Eagles.
The Warriors would again start the match as heavy underdogs and with a side boasting only three players who had previously played in a Grand Final Manly on the other hand could boast their coach and eight players who had won the NRL premiership with the club, plus another who had won a premiership in with Penrith.
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Heavy defence from both sides was the feature until the Warriors opened the scoring with a penalty goal to James Maloney in the 28th minute, but a little more than a minute after the restart, a bad read in defence saw prolific try scorer Brett Stewart in for the 1st try. Just before the break, the Warriors were then unlucky not to receive a penalty for obstruction in the lead up to Manly's second try which saw them go into the sheds down 12—2. The Warriors refused to die however, and clawed their way back with tries to Manu Vatuvei and Elijah Taylor in the 63rd and 68th minutes.
Unfortunately Maloney missed both conversions which could have taken the score to 18—14 and a grandstand finish, but a try to Manly captain Jamie Lyon with only a minute remaining put the result beyond doubt as the Warriors were beaten by a clinical Manly outfit 24—10 — yet their effort in reaching just their second ever Grand Final and their first in nine years was a triumph for the club and departing coach Ivan Cleary and won praise from those in the NRL.
A new coach with a successful track record in Brian 'Bluey' McClennan, a stable squad and strong public support indicated that could have been the year they finally broke their premiership duck. The season again kicked off with a home game at Eden Park, with a strong crowd of 37, witnessing the Warriors go down 20—26 to Manly in a grand final rematch. The match was perhaps an indication of things to come, with the Warriors performing strongly on attack but being let down by weak defence at crucial stages which ultimately cost them the match.
The season did not improve much from that point, with the Warriors failing to find any semblance of consistency throughout the season. There were some highs, such as their 44—22 drubbing of the Rabbitohs, but these were far outweighed by the deep lows. Their season is best summed up by a dismal month of football between Rounds 20 and Not all information has been covered about this subject. You can help by expanding it! Contents [ show ]. View more Kung Fu Panda clip featuring Mantis using the gauntlet.
Originally aired November 7,