Stat Attack: Road Warriors aim to make Mt Smart a fortress again
The Warriors are determined to make Mt Smart Stadium a fortress for the rest of the season after proving themselves to be road warriors away from home.
They have the equal-best away record in the NRL in 2018 with seven wins from nine in Australia, the same win/loss ratio away as South Sydney.
Considering the distances the Warriors have to travel it is a stellar achievement.
At home, they have been less than successful with just four wins from eight games.
A glance back at their history reveals the Warriors had a winning overall record at home for 13 of their first 20 seasons in the league but not since 2014 when they won eight from 12 at home.
Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson and CEO Cameron George are happy with what the club has achieved away from home this year, but the aim is to replicate that at Mt Smart where they play four games through the remaining seven rounds.
It all starts on Sunday with a home clash against arch rivals Melbourne.
"We speak about making Mt Smart a fortress but winning at home has never been an issue," Johnson said.
"For us especially, if you want to win this comp you’ve got to do it on the road.
"It has been a bit of a trail blaze type of mindset for us every time we go somewhere. Perth was a big one and going up to North Queensland was another.
"Going on the road and getting the job done is satisfying but we’ve got to be able to back it up at home. That is about our home fans and that is the place we love playing.
"When you are playing well you do get a bit of a bullseye on your back and teams come over there up for the game."
George said there was a determination amongst the playing group to get the job done in front of their home fans as they target a top-four finish and playing finals football for the first time since 2011.
"At the start of the year we had some goals around performing in New Zealand and offshore as well," the CEO said.
"The boys have certainly been ticking the box off-shore with the results they have been getting on the road and it is a priority for our fans and our club that we get back to Mt Smart and make it the fortress it once was.
"It is important we get that home record up where it should be."
The success of the Warriors has resulted in a massive injection of interest in rugby league in New Zealand; it is a pointer to what a difference a winning team can have on what is a bastion of rugby union.
"You only have to look at the figures around the Sky viewership, up twenty-odd per cent at this stage," George said.
"In New Zealand, and particularly around Auckland, the interest around the Warriors has been really strong this year. Our crowds have grown on the back of strong performances and it is a real credit to Stephen Kearney and the guys playing that they have been able to bring the fans back.
"We had come off a tough couple of years and we had to be honest about our ourselves. We were in a tough position as a club so we had to rebuild from within and the boys are responding well to that challenge."