A rematch against original opponent Brisbane, a first-ever Anzac Day clash at home, a return to Wellington and visits by heavyweights Melbourne, Manly, the Sydney Roosters and North Queensland provide a mouth-watering home schedule for the Vodafone Warriors in their 20th anniversary season.
The Vodafone Warriors meet the Broncos on Sunday, March 29 (2.00pm kick-off) in what will be the launching pad for the club’s historic campaign.
The match will not only be shown live on Channel Nine in Australia but it will provide the lead-in to live coverage of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup being played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
After previously playing in Melbourne, the Vodafone Warriors will be at home on Anzac Day for the first time as the NRL rolls out a huge programme of commemorative games on the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli; the Vodafone Warriors will host the Gold Coast Titans (2.00pm kick-off) while there will be four more games in Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Aside from the Broncos in round four and the Anzac Day match in round eight, Vodafone Warriors members and fans have also been provided with home games against four of the last five premiers St George Illawarra (2010), Manly (2011), Melbourne (2012) and the Roosters (2013). The games against Manly, Melbourne and the Roosters will all be played at Mount Smart Stadium while the encounter with the Dragons has been set down for Wellington's Westpac Stadium (the Vodafone Warriors' third consecutive home game in the Capital).
While the regular Anzac Day clash against the Storm isn't possible in 2105, the Vodafone Warriors will have home and away games against Melbourne, the first at AAMI Park on Easter Monday (April 6).
“We’re thrilled about the chance of being able to mark our 20th anniversary against our very first opponents so early in the season. It’s going to be one of the real high points of a massive year for the club,” said Vodafone Warriors managing director Jim Doyle.
“It’s also a huge moment for the club having an Anzac Day game at home for the first time on what will be such an important day with both countries marking the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli.
“The fact we have so many of the big-name clubs coming to Mount Smart Stadium is going to ensure 2015 will be a season to remember for all our members and fans.”
While the campaign begins with back-to-back away games against Newcastle and Canberra it’s followed by consecutive home games against Parramatta on Saturday, March 21 (5.00pm kick-off) and Brisbane on March 29 (2.00pm).
“The start is challenging with two of the NRL’s most demanding away trips but we’ll plan for that accordingly,” said Vodafone Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden.
“It’s a great start at home, though, having the Eels and then the 20th anniversary encounter with the Broncos. That match-up against Brisbane means so much for everyone associated with the club.
“For the players, staff and the club as a whole, it’s brilliant knowing we’re going into a season with 11 games at Mount Smart Stadium. The players love playing at the ground and we’re all looking forward to our long-serving loyal members and new members getting in behind us in big numbers throughout 2015.”
Among the 11 home games are clashes against glamour sides the Roosters (Saturday, June 13), Melbourne (Sunday, July 12), Manly (Saturday, July 25) and also North Queensland in the final Mount Smart match of the year on Saturday, August 22.
Another feature is a run of three consecutive home games against Manly (July 25), Cronulla (August 1) and St George Illawarra (August 8), the first two at Mount Smart Stadium before the Vodafone Warriors travel to the Capital to meet St George Illawarra's Benji Marshall and company.
The clubs the Vodafone Warriors face once are South Sydney, St George Illawarra, Manly, Brisbane, Canterbury-Bankstown and Penrith.
VODAFONE WARRIORS - 2015 NRL DRAW
(NB: local kick-off times listed)
1 Sat March 7, 4.30pm | Knights, Hunter Stadium
2 Sun March 15, 6.30pm | Raiders, GIO Stadium
3 Sat March 21, 5.00pm | Eels, Mount Smart Stadium
4 Sun March 29, 2.00pm | Broncos, Mount Smart Stadium
5 Mon April 6, 5.00pm | Storm, AAMI Park
6 Sat April 11, 7.30pm | Wests Tigers, Mount Smart Stadium
7 Sat April 18, 5.30pm | Cowboys, 1300SMILES Stadium
8 Sat April 25, 2.00pm | Titans, Mount Smart Stadium
May 1-3 | Anzac Test
9 Sat May 9, 5.30pm | Sharks, Remondis Stadium
10 Sat May 16, 3.00pm | Eels, Parramatta Stadium
11 May 22-25 | Bye
12 Sun May 31, 4.00pm | Knights, Mount Smart Stadium
13 Sat June 6, 3.30pm | Rabbitohs, NIB Stadium
14 Sat June 13, 8.00pm | Roosters, Mount Smart Stadium
15 Sat June 20, 5.30pm | Titans, Cbus Super Stadium
16 Sat June 27, 5.00pm | Raiders, Mount Smart Stadium
17 July 3-6 | Bye
18 Sun July 12, 4.00pm | Storm, Mount Smart Stadium
19 Sun July 19, 2.00pm | Roosters, Sydney Football Stadium
20 Sat July 25, 5.00pm | Sea Eagles, Mount Smart Stadium
21 Sat August 1 | Sharks, Mount Smart Stadium
22 Sat August 8 | Dragons, Westpac Stadium
23 Sat August 15 | Panthers, Sportingbet Stadium
24 Sat August 22 | Cowboys, Mount Smart Stadium
25 Sun August 30 | Wests Tigers, Campbelltown Sports Stadium
26 Sun September 6 | Bulldogs, ANZ Stadium
1 September 11-13 | Qualifying Semi Finals
2 September 18-19 | Semi Finals
3 September 25-26 | Preliminary Finals
4 October 4 | Grand Final