NRL: Warriors' season defined by the numbers

By Michael Brown

The Warriors must beat the Raiders tonight at Mt Smart Stadium if they have any chance of making the playoffs. Michael Brown looks at their quest for the top eight and some other numbers that have defined their season

Konrad Hurrell. Photo / Getty Images
Konrad Hurrell. Photo / Getty Images

28 - Historically, clubs have needed 28 points to make the NRL playoffs. There have been exceptions - Brisbane sneaked in with 24 in 2007 but needed 32 points in 1999 - and 28 looks like being the cutoff again in 2013. That means the Warriors, who sit on 24 points, need to win their last two games and hope other results go their way to have any chance of making the top eight.

84 - Their points differential of -84 could come back to hurt them. It's not the worst number of the seven teams battling for two spots - Canberra are -136 - but it could leave them short if the Cowboys continue to keep winning along with the Warriors.

13 - You wouldn't want to rely on centre Konrad Hurrell to win you a game with his defence, although he's not the only one who has been a little porous this year, but he is one of the most damaging players in the game with the ball in hand. He's blown his trademark kiss to hismum13 times in 18 games this season, including 10 in his last 11, and some have been matchwinners.

Against the Titans last weekend, he displayed his full array when he busted through two tacklers before stepping past fullback David Meade and then beat the cover defence for speed. Francis Meli holds the Warriors' record for a season with 23 tries in 27 games in 2003, although Manu Vatuvei had a better strike-rate in 2010 with 20 in 19 games.

6 - There are likely to be many ifs, buts and maybes attached to the Warriors' 2013 campaign but it's hard to escape the fact they led for six games in a row heading into the final 12 minutes and won only two of them. The combined score of the last 10 minutes of those games was 44-3. Even if they had been able to hold on to win a couple more of those games, they would be comfortably in the top eight and in a good position to make the playoffs.

62 - As painful as it was, the Warriors' record 62-6 defeat to Penrith was probably the best thing that happened to them. They held a team meeting immediately after returning to Auckland where each member was asked to say in front of their teammates what they could offer the side. It was an uncomfortable time for the players but not as distressing as fans who witnessed some of the Warriors joking with Penrith players immediately after their heavy defeat which gave the perception they didn't care.

2 - In a banner made up of only 16 letters, there were two dreadful crimes against the English language but something struck a chord with the nonsensical message "Lets Gone Warriors" sighted during the Warriors' 56-18 hammering of the Broncos in Brisbane. It became a favourite saying in public and on Twitter (the hashtag #letsgonewarriors has morphed into other spheres) and saw some of the goodwill lost in the embarrassing defeat to the Panthers return. It was also the second in a run of a five-game winning streak and prompted some to wonder if the Warriors' season really was over.

488 - There's a popular misconception the Warriors are a huge and powerful unit, among other stereotypes, but it hasn't been that way for some time. It has affected the way they play and this year's side have produced the least number of tackle breaks in the NRL with 488. They are behind even the Wests Tigers (491), Dragons (505) and dreadful Eels (559). Unsurprisingly, the Rabbitohs (672), Roosters (664) and Sharks (623) top the list. The Warriors are also 14th for average metres gained in a game (1292m) and 11th for missed tackles but are second-equal in offloads with 251.

7 - If making the playoffs is the measure for an acceptable season, the Warriors have largely failed. Since the club's creation in 1995, they have made the playoffs only seven times and it took seven years before they did it for the first time. Compare that to Brisbane who won the first of their six titles in their fifth season and who made the playoffs for an incredible 18 years in a row. The Warriors had a good run under Ivan Cleary, making the finals in four of his six years at Mt Smart Stadium and missing the 2006 series because of the four points they were deducted because of the salary cap breach.

179, 246 - The Warriors have attracted a total of 179,246 people to home games this season, which is an average of 16,295. These numbers are inflated by the 32,740 who turned up to Eden Park for the first home game against the Roosters and 30,112 who filled Westpac Stadium when the Warriors took on the Bulldogs in Wellington. That translates to an average of 10,581 at Mt Smart Stadium, which would mean the club is barely breaking even when staging home games.

- NZ Herald

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