NRL: Warriors to face Roosters at Eden Park

Sonny Bill Williams and the Roosters will clash with the Warriors at Eden Park. Photo /Getty Images
Sonny Bill Williams and the Roosters will clash with the Warriors at Eden Park. Photo /Getty Images

The Warriors will get an early chance to face Sonny Bill Williams next season when they play the Roosters at Eden Park in their first home game of the year.

The Warriors open their year against the Parramatta Eels, meaning seasoned coaches Matthew Elliott and Ricky Stuart will go head-to-head in their debuts for their new teams.

But there will be plenty of interest in their second game against the Roosters on March 16.

Williams will make his return to the NRL after a five-year stint with rugby when his side take on the Rabbitohs in the opening match of the season. The former All Black signed a one-year deal with the Roosters two weeks ago.

The Roosters' round six match against Williams' former club, the Bulldogs, will be one of the most eagerly awaited in the entire season after he walked out on the club in 2008.

Williams underwent shoulder surgery after suffering an injury playing rugby in Japan but is confident of making the start of the season.

The Warriors visit the defending champions Melbourne Storm in round seven on a Thursday night and host fellow NRL finalists the Bulldogs two weeks later.

The Bulldogs clash will be played at a yet-to-be-confirmed venue outside Auckland on Saturday, May 11.

The move to play the game outside Auckland has come about as the NRL seek to have more games played away from traditional home venues.

Another game will be played in Perth next year and, once again, the Warriors will be involved with the South Sydney Rabbitohs taking their 17th-round 'home' game to Western Australia.

A crowd of more than 20,000 turned up at Patersons Stadium when the Warriors met Manly this year, with the vast majority supporting the New Zealand-based side.

The Warriors are scheduled to play two Monday night games, one at home against the Cowboys in round four followed by a second in Brisbane in round 12.

The Warriors start the regular season on the road and also finish away from home but new head coach Matthew Elliott doesn't have any issues.

"The key aspect is the fixed nature of the schedule for the first 20 rounds,'' he said. "It's critical. It makes such a huge difference for us in terms of preparation and planning, especially given the travel demands we face.

"It's also brilliant for our members. They'll now be able to plan their lives around football with confidence next year.''

Warriors 2013 season
Round 1 - Eels (away)
Round 2 - Roosters (home)
Round 3 - Sharks (away)
Round 4 - Cowboys (home)
Round 5 - Rabbitohs (home)
Round 6 - Raiders (away)
Round 7 - Storm (away)
Round 8 - Titans (home)
Round 9 - Bulldogs (home)
Round 10 - Panthers (away)
Round 11 - Knights (home)
Round 12 - Broncos (away)
Round 13 - Sea Eagles (home)
Round 14 - Roosters (away)
Round 15 - BYE
Round 16 - Broncos (home)
Round 17 - Rabbitohs (away)
Round 18 - BYE
Round 19 - Wests Tigers (away)
Round 20 - Storm (home)
Round 21 - Sharks (home)
Round 22 - Sea Eagles (away)
Round 23 - Panthers (home)
Round 24 - Titans (away)
Round 25 - Raiders (home)
Round 26 - Dragons (away)


- nzherald.co.nz

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