New Zealand Warriors

Roache misses flight to Australia

The Warriors boarded a private flight to the New South Wales town of Tamworth as the NRL plans to restart the coronavirus-hit 2020 season on May 28.

However, an "unwell" Roache was not on the flight from Auckland after contacting medical staff on Sunday morning.

Warriors centre David Fusitu'a also remained in New Zealand on compassionate grounds.

They're en route to Tamworth but David Fusitu'a and Nate Roache delayed.#ALLIN

Kearney can't explain Warriors meltdown

The 46-12 loss to the Raiders on Friday left Kearney feeling angrier than he could remember.

His team trailing 30-0 at halftime, the coach was captured by television cameras delivering a dressing down to his players in the shed which involved furiously kicking a stray towel. It would have hit Peta Hiku in the head if the centre hadn't taken evasive action.

Kearney was angry that after a run of six gritty showings, in which no game was decided by more than four points, his side failed to front in their first game in Auckland for a month.

McGregor non-plussed with tactics used by Warriors

The Warriors defeated the Dragons 20-12 in Auckland on Friday night, despite finishing on the wrong end of a 13-5 penalty count.

Many of the penalties conceded by the Warriors came while the now joint premiership leaders were defending their own line.

While admitting the Warriors were the better side on the night, McGregor said the constant "stop-start-nature" of the match hindered the Dragons' ability to play with any fluidity.

Stat Attack: Hiku solves Warriors' centre problem

Centre has long been a problem position for the Auckland club, particularly finding one who could be relied upon defensively.

Not since Brent Tate left the club in 2012 has there been genuine stability on the right edge.

But ask Shaun Johnson and he'll tell you that void has finally been filled by Hiku, a Warriors junior who rejoined the club this season after five seasons in the NRL with Manly and Penrith and a brief stint in England.

"Collectively that right edge have done an awesome job so far this year and Peta has been a rock there for us," he said.

Kearney takes positives from Warriors win

Kearney rolled out a mix of youth and experience in front of a vocal Rotorua crowd, his side getting the job done 20-16 over a depleted Storm side without any notable first graders.

"There were some really nice patches there. In terms of expectations this early, I was pleased. For the most part it was good and there are some real positive signs," Kearney said.

"I think we started a bit sheepish, a bit slow there as a group but overall I'm pretty happy with what I saw."

Gelling hoping to produce fairytale story at Warriors

After seeking a release from Wigan to return to Auckland following a car crash in which his girlfriend was seriously injured, Gelling had to beg for an opportunity with the club he had always expected to play for when he joined Sydney Roosters as an 18-year-old in 2009.

Again turned away when he approached the Warriors late last year, Gelling refused to give up and the Cook Islands international now has 12 months to prove himself but he is aiming to win more than just a contract extension.

Warriors recruit Blake Green could be buy of the year: Soward

Running the rule over all 16 clubs ahead of the 2018 season, the former Dragons and Panthers star also named Knights recruit Connor Watson as the man under most pressure to perform at the club, even ahead of high-profile signing Mitch Pearce.

Soward also backed young Storm half Brodie Croft to seamlessly slip into Cooper Cronk's shoes and help the club press for back-to-back titles.

n terms of the Warriors, Soward identified Green as the man to reverse the problems that have dogged the talent-laden, but underperforming, team in recent years.

New Zealand Warriors predicted Round 1 line-up

There is plenty of depth when it comes to the pack and outside backs meaning some relatively experienced first-graders will be missing out in both positions. At this stage, the likes of Ken Maumalo, Mason Lino, Ligi Sao and Blake Ayshford might not crack the 21.

NRL.com expert Jamie Soward says:

Unwanted record awaits Warriors

A loss at Leichhardt Oval will make it nine-straight defeats for the Kiwi franchise, setting a new record for their worst run ever in a single season, and confirming they will finish their 2017 season without a win in three months of football. 

While some players this week said they weren't aware of the record, and others brushed it off, playmaker Ata Hingano confronted the issue with refreshing honesty.

Kearney rules out Vatuvei forward switch

With the 31-year-old having fallen behind Ken Maumalo, David Fusitu'a and rookie Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad in the race for a wing spot in the first-grade side, there have been suggestions that Vatuvei could bring his 226 games worth of experience to the pack as an impact forward off the bench.