The Warriors have a favourable start to next season but a tough run home.

That's the upshot of the 2019 NRL draw released today, which see the club play games in Wellington and Christchurch as well as 10 games at Mt Smart.

The club will also take a 'home' game to Brisbane, as part of the NRL's Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium in May, when all 16 teams will feature across four days in the Queensland capital.

The Warriors' schedule is dominated by Saturday games, with only four of 24 matches on a Sunday (and just two of those at Mt Smart).


And from July onwards the Warriors' games in New Zealand are on Friday night, often popular with the broadcasters but polarising for fans.

It's always risky analysing a draw at this time, as no one really knows how the teams will shape up and past performances aren't always the best indicator of future success (look at the Cowboys across the 2017 season).

But on balance, the Warriors have a good chance of another solid start to the campaign, although it's hard to imagine a repeat of the 5-0 streak to start 2018.

Four of their first six matches are in New Zealand, and during that spell they face only one team that finished in the top eight in 2018.

As coach Stephen Kearney endlessly likes to point out, no game in the NRL is easy but some are more complicated than others.

To counter that, the final stretch of the campaign looks daunting.

The Warriors face the Roosters, Sharks and Rabbitohs in consecutive weeks, before a trip to Canberra to end the season.

An often overlooked aspect of the draw are the teams a club faces twice (home and away), compared with to the clubs that you don't.


In 2019 the Warriors will play five of last year's top eight on two occasions (Storm, Sharks, Penrith, Dragons and Broncos) as well as the Titans, Sea Eagles, Raiders and Knights.

They'll play the Roosters, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs, Tigers, Cowboys and Eels only once.

The club will start their season against the Bulldogs in Auckland. It's been a rarity for the Warriors to start the year at Mt Smart, only the second time since 2010 they have kicked off a campaign in Penrose.

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

There had been hopes of a 25th anniversary match against the Broncos in the first round, to commemorate their inaugural game against the Brisbane club in 1995, but this hasn't eventuated.

In terms of logistics and player welfare, the news that there is no trip to Perth, ending a run of seven successive matches in Western Australia since 2012, and also no trek to Townsville will be well received.

A breakdown of the 24 regular season matches shows the Warriors have 12 Saturday games, seven on Friday night, four on Sunday and one on Thursday night (the annual Anzac Day encounter with Storm).

Of the Mt Smart games, four are on Friday night, four are Saturday fixtures and two are Sunday matches.

Warriors - 2019 NRL draw
(NB: local kick-off times listed)

1 Sat March 16 5.00pm Bulldogs Mount Smart Stadium Auckland
2 Sun March 24 6.10pm Tigers Campbelltown Stadium Sydney
3 Sat March 30 5.00pmSea Eagles AMI Stadium Christchurch
4 Fri April 5 8.00pm Titans Mount Smart Stadium Auckland
5 Sat April 13 3.00pm Rabbitohs Central Coast Stadium Gosford
6 Sat April 20 7.30pm Cowboys Mount Smart Stadium Auckland
7 Thu April 25 7.50pm Storm AAMI Park Melbourne
8 Sun May 5 4.00pm Knights Mount Smart Stadium Auckland
9 Sat May 11 3.30pm Dragons Suncorp Stadium Brisbane
10 Fri May 17 6.00pm Panthers Panthers Stadium Sydney
11 Sat May 25 7.30pm Broncos Mount Smart Stadium Auckland
12 Bye
13 Sat June 8 5.00pm Storm Mount Smart Stadium Auckland
14 Fri June 14 6.00pm Titans Cbus Super Stadium Robina
15 Sun June 30 4.00pm Panthers Mount Smart Stadium Auckland
16 Sat July 6 7.35pm Knights McDonald Jones Stadium Newcastle
17 Sat July 13 5.30pm Broncos Suncorp Stadium Brisbane
18 Fri July 19 8.00pm Sharks Westpac Stadium Wellington
19 Sat July 27 3.00pm Eels Venue to be confirmed
20 Fri August 2 8.00pm Raiders Mount Smart Stadium Auckland
21 Fri August 9 8.00pm Sea Eagles Mount Smart Stadium Auckland
22 Sun August 18 2.00pm Roosters Venue to be confirmed
23 Sat August 24 3.00pm Sharks Shark Park Sydney
24 Fri August 30 8.00pm Rabbitohs Mount Smart Stadium Auckland
25 Sat Sept 7 3.00pm Raiders GIO Stadium Canberra