The Warriors will open their season at home in 2019, and newly married Kieran Foran could be part of the opposition lineup.

According to Australian media reports, Stephen Kearney's men will face the Bulldogs on Saturday March 16, in an afternoon game at Mt Smart.

It will be an early opportunity to avenge last season's surprise 27-26 loss in round 24, which ultimately cost the Warriors a home playoff.

Foran, who got married for the second time last week, could be back in the Bulldogs fold, after being sidelined with a toe injury since June.


It will be only the second time the Bulldogs have visited Mt Smart since 2012, with the Sydney club playing in Wellington (twice), Hamilton, Dunedin and at Eden Park during that time.

The full NRL draw is released on Thursday, but Australia media have reported details of the opening round.

As usual, and unlike Super Rugby, there is an emphasis on heavyweight clashes and traditional rivalries, and the storylines to flow from that.

The season will kick off in Melbourne on a Thursday night, with the 2018 grand finalists hosting the Broncos in Wayne Bennett's farewell campaign.

The following night is highlighted by the longest running grudge match in the sport, with the Roosters facing the Rabbitohs. That game will be extra special, as it will be staged at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Saturday sees the Sea Eagles travel to Leichhardt to face the Tigers, while later that evening Jason Taumalolo and the Cowboys host the Dragons.

Sunday's big game is the battle of the west, with Parramatta travelling to Penrith for a game that may also double as Ivan Cleary's coaching return.

Starting the season at Mt Smart has been rare for the Warriors this decade.

Since 2010 they only kicked off their campaign once in Penrose.

The others have been in Australia, aside from two games at Eden Park (2011 versus Parramatta, 2012 versus Manly).

The Warriors have been notoriously slow starters, though that trend has been arrested over the last two seasons.

In Stephen Kearney's first match in charge in 2017 they beat the Knights at home, which ended a seven year streak of losses on opening day.

That victory was followed this year by another hoodoo-buster, when they toppled the Rabbitohs in Perth.

The club has a preference to start the season at home, given the confidence and belief gleaned from a positive result in round one.

They made an exception last year, mainly because going to Western Australia for the first game negated part of the travel difficulties usually encountered with the long flight.

The clash with the Bulldogs will be one of 11 games at Mt Smart next season, with the other 'home' match to be staged in Wellington.

There won't be a repeat of the Mt Smart double header in 2019 – despite it's success as a sellout this year – but the Warriors will be part of the 'Magic Round' in Brisbane in May, which will see all 16 clubs play at Suncorp stadium across three days.

The concept has been borrowed from the Super League, which has had highly successful 'Magic Weekend' for the last decade, staged in cities like Manchester, Newcastle, Cardiff and Edinburgh.