Early wins crucial for Warriors' confidence

Historically poor round-one performers, the Warriors are aiming to replicate last year's confidence-boosting round-one win when they kick off their NRL Telstra Premiership campaign on Saturday.

Since entering the NRL, the Warriors have won their season-opener just eight times in 24 years.

The Auckland-based club knows better than most how damaging a first-up loss can be, and conversely the value to be gained from a flying start.

Last year the Warriors began the season with a convincing victory over South Sydney and went on to win their next four games.

The 5-0 start was the club's all-time best, a fact which Warriors prop Agnatius Paasi said is on the players' minds heading into Saturday's first-round meeting with the Bulldogs in Auckland.

"I reckon it did [set the tone for the whole year]. We broke through some barriers last year and getting the first win under your belt, that carries the momentum through to the next game and then to the next game after that," Paasi said.

Warriors prop Agnatius Paasi.
Warriors prop Agnatius Paasi. ©Fiona Goodall/NRL Photos

"We would like to get five wins on the board again, but we are going to have to take that week by week. Only half of the NRL teams can get wins, and that's our job this week."

Those thoughts were echoed by centre Peta Hiku, who said a poor start to the season can quickly snowball out of control.

"You don't want to go through a tough pre-season, come to round one and then nothing is going well for the team and you get a loss," Hiku told NRL.com.

Warriors centre Peta Hiku.
Warriors centre Peta Hiku. ©Dave Acree/NRL Photos

"You couldn't start a harder way because if you play and lose, the next game is even tougher, so winning round one is good.

"Just knowing we had a good start [last year] gave us a bit of confidence for what we can do in the competition."

The fact that the match is being played in Auckland bodes well for the Warriors, with six of their eight round-one victories over the years coming at Mount Smart Stadium.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said he lost little sleep over naming his first team of the year, with the preferred line-up confirmed in his mind for some time.

"The guys have pretty much set themselves in terms of the team list. It's been easy to pick it," Kearney said.

"We had two trial games and a week off last week, so it's been pretty easy to pick the group.

"That's all we can ask for, [that] they put themselves in a position to be selected."