Can the NZ Warriors win their first game of the season for the first time since 2009?
New Zealand are notoriously slow starters and that is reflected in the fact they haven’t won in Round 1 for the past seven seasons!
Every season there is talk about the Warriors being contenders and punters asking themselves ‘is this the year?’, well, we for one believe it could be.
It is one thing to say it and its one thing to look like a premiership contender but unless you get results on the field, it accounts to nothing.
The Kiwis begin this match as one of the shortest priced favourites of the round and it’s no wonder considering they are taking on last year’s wooden spooners.
Newcastle managed just one win and one draw for the entire 2016 campaign.
The NZ WARRIORS boast one of the best looking rosters in the NRL and it will look even better when Kieran Foran comes back in a few weeks.
New captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is back from injury which saw him miss most of last season and that already gives them a new dimension to their attack.
Highly respected coach Stephen Kearney has been given the task of turning the Warriors into premiership contenders. One of his biggest issues will be finding out what happened in the back end of last season. With the finals looming, they dropped their last four games, all by big margins, to drop out of the finals race.
Nathan Brown’s side are coming off their worst-ever season and one of the worst of all-time in rugby league.
They have shed a lot of older players who were at the end of their tether and have recruited a few handy players including Jamie Buhrer and Ken Sio while veteran Anthony Tupou will give some much needed guidance as well.
Just how much have they improved from last season? It is hard to say but they did trash Canberra 44-0 in a recent trial. Take it for what it was but a win is a win and considering what Newcastle went through last year, that could suggest huge improvement from them.
Anything would be better than last year. They had the worst attack and defence in the competition and were conceding a whopping 33.3 points per game!
NZ Warriors have won the past 10 of 11 matches against Newcastle at Mt Smart Stadium so that is saying something.
Newcastle has struggled with the Warriors in recent years and has won just five times in 20 games since 2006, so on history alone, this game is right there for the home side to win.
It is difficult to make a case against the Warriors.
Traditionally one of the bigger forward packs of the competition, they now have a decent spine to work off the back of that go forward and when Foran enters the side they will be even better.
They have the wood on the Knights and are actually aiming for four straight wins against them for only the second time in club history.
While everything is in their favour do you really trust them to take the short odds on offer? We recommend looking around for a few exotic bets like 1st Tryscorer, Margin betting and Line betting because we can see the Knights putting up some stiff resistance.
MATCH WINNER: NZ WARRIORS
FIRST TRYSCORER: ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK
MARGIN BETTING: WARRIORS 1-12
OTHER TIP: NEWCASTLE +14.5 (LINE)