2023 NRL Preview Round 1: Warriors Vs Knights

New Zealand Warriors open their campaign on Friday night when they take on the Newcastle Knights at Sky Stadium in Wellington.

MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

New Zealand Warriors Vs Newcastle Knights
Venue: Sky Stadium, Wellington
Date: Friday, March 3 at 8pm (NZT)

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Warriors: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Brayden Wiliame 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Mitchell Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tohu Harris 14. Dylan Walker 15. Bunty Afoa 16. Josh Curran 17. Tom Ale 18. Viliami Vailea 20. Freddy Lussick 21. Ronald Volkman 22. Taine Tuaupiki 23. Edward Kosi

Knights: 1. Lachlan Miller 2. Hymel Hunt 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Dominic Young 6. Kalyn Ponga 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Jacob Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Kurt Mann 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Adam Elliott 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Leo Thompson 18. Jack Johns 19. Tyson Gamble 20. Brodie Jones 21. Dylan Lucas 22. Bailey Hodgson

Referee: Chris Sutton

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MATCHDAY PREVIEW

After a four-year absence, Wellington will host the opening Warriors game for 2023 when they take on the Newcastle Knights on Friday night.

In the last NRL fixture at Sky Stadium in July 2019 it was Blake Green’s field goal that was the difference in the Warriors win over the Sharks. Ironically it will be the Sharks five-eighth in that game who will hold the key to the Warriors success.

Starting his 13th season in the top grade, Shaun Johnson is in the twilight of his career and will be out to prove to his new coach Andrew Webster that he’s worthy of a new deal for the 2024 season. The interest will be in how he combines with fellow Kiwi, Te Maire Martin who makes his official debut for the club.

On the other side, Kalyn Ponga and Jackson Hastings will pair in the halves for the first time with former Sharks fullback Lachlan Miller making his club debut. The new halves combination can only be a positive after Adam O’Brien struggled to find the right combination during their last campaign.

The Warriors will be wary of the Newcastle Knights ability to start off the season strong. Last year they famously took out the Roosters at the Sydney Cricket Ground to open their campaign and their unbeaten record in round 1 dates back to 2018.

Newcastle have been dealt a blow with experienced Australian and Queensland centre Dane Gagai missing the trip to New Zealand’s capital, but the club hopes he will be available for their match against the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval to take place Sunday week.

This may well be a high scoring one with both sides at the wrong end of points conceded in 2022. The Warriors were very impressive in week 1 of the NRL pre-season against the Wests Tigers with Marcelo Montoya having an impact in scoring a hat-trick and slightly come in with a better preparation.

But will the Knights round 1 record play in their favour? Since 2006 they’ve only won twice in New Zealand, including last start in 2019.

LAST TEN MATCHES

Knights 6, Warriors 4.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Knights by 8 points.

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Comments (1)

  1. Interested all the best to warriors 💯♥️♥️♥️

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