While it’s a day of solemn reflection for most in Aotearoa, Anzac Day has been one that the Warriors have wanted to forget lately.
They haven’t won an Anzac Day fixture since 2014, and while the assignment they face every April 25 is one of the toughest in the NRL, if they don’t win one soon it’s liable to start being labelled a curse.
But it doesn’t look likely. The 10th placed Warriors are in Melbourne this evening, to take on the top-ranked Storm. To make matters worse, captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Blake Green and Solomone Kata have been ruled out, completely contradicting the team list released on Tuesday night. Will it end up being as bad as years gone by? Let’s have a look back at the painful memories:
Warriors 16 Storm 10
Even though they won, this result came only two weeks after the Warriors sacked their coach Matt Elliott and replaced him with Andrew McFadden. Things did go OK after that, though, but not quite good enough to make the playoffs. The team finished in ninth spot.
Warriors 28 Titans 32
Anzac Day fell on a Saturday in 2015, which meant that the usual midweek meeting with the Storm was swapped for an afternoon match with the lowly Titans. Even though they were gifted with the only Anzac fixture in the club’s history to be played at home, the Warriors still went down in a high-scoring thriller.
Warriors 0 Storm 42
At least the 2015 result was close. The Storm came back with a vengeance the year after, blanking the Warriors in one of the most one-sided games in the club’s history. Former Auckland schoolboy rugby star Suliasi Vunivalu gashed the Warriors for two tries, on the way to top-scoring with 22 for the season.
Warriors 14 Storm 20
Notable for being one of the rare good performances of Kieran Foran’s brief stint in the team, the Warriors looked on course to avenge the hiding they’d copped the season previously. Unfortunately, they ran out of gas in the dying stages, giving up their slender lead and a great chance to knock off the eventual 2017 premiers.
Warriors 10 Storm 50
Somehow the Warriors managed to find a way to lose in an even worse fashion than 2016 because this thrashing came off the back of a 6-1 start to the season. Before Anzac Day, people were already starting to believe that this could finally be the Warriors’ year. Afterwards, the rest of the season was about salvaging the damage – which they admittedly managed to do with their first finals appearance since 2011.