24 Nov 2016

Warriors to start 2017 season at home

2:08 pm on 24 November 2016

The Warriors will start an National Rugby League campaign at Mount Smart Stadium for the first time in eight years after being handed back-to-back season-opening home games in 2017.

In other key features of the just-released draw, five of the club's first six matches will be played on home soil while the Warriors have landed five Friday night games at three different New Zealand venues plus one in Australia.

The Warriors celebrate Dominique Peyroux's try.

The Warriors celebrate a try Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The club's 23rd season opens against the Newcastle Knights at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday March 5th, followed by a blockbuster against the Melbourne Storm in the first of four Friday night home games on March 10th.

The Warriors' last season-opening home game at Mount Smart Stadium was a 26-18 win over Parramatta in 2009.

Since then they have had home starts just twice, but those two matches in 2011 and 2012 were both played at Eden Park.

Warriors managing director Jim Doyle says they'll only benefit from starting their season at home.

Warriors managing director Jim Doyle.

Warriors managing director Jim Doyle. Photo: Photosport

"It has been too long since we started our season at our home ground so we couldn't be more excited knowing we'll be at Mount Smart Stadium for the first two rounds," said Doyle.

"That's fantastic for the team, our members and other supporters after being forced to open our campaigns away over the last four seasons, including back-to-back games on the road the last two years.

"Having five of our first six games in New Zealand is a big help and introducing an earlier kick-off for the first Friday night game (8.00pm NZT) also works in our favour."

In 2017 the Vodafone Warriors have Friday night home games at Mount Smart Stadium against the Storm on March 10th, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on June 23rd and the Penrith Panthers on July 14th.

As announced yesterday, the Warriors are taking a home game to Hamilton for the first time -- they'll face the St George Illawarra Dragons at FMG Stadium Waikato on Friday May 19th.

Solomone Kata scores a try for the
Warriors in their loss to Wests Tigers.

Solomone Kata scores a try for the Warriors. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The fifth Friday night match in New Zealand is an 'away' game against the Bulldogs on March 17th, the first-ever NRL match to be played at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium.

They also play the Eels in Sydney on a Friday night.

The Warriors don't venture outside New Zealand until the fourth round when they take on the Dragons on March 26.

They play home and away games against the Knights, Storm, Bulldogs, Dragons, Titans, Eels, Raiders, Panthers and Sea Eagles (the away match against Manly is again in Perth but Penrith won't be returning to Christchurch).

The clubs they face once are the Roosters, premiership-winning Cronulla Sharks and the Broncos at Mount Smart Stadium and the Rabbitohs, Cowboys and Wests Tigers away.