Four games in New Zealand in the first six weeks and "home" games against St George-Illawarra in Brisbane and Cronulla-Sutherland in Wellington are features of the Vodafone Warriors' 2019 NRL draw revealed today.
As well as having a rare first-round home game at Mount Smart Stadium, the club has two other matches in Auckland and one in Christchurch in the opening six rounds.
Coming off their first taste of finals football in seven years, the Vodafone Warriors start their landmark 25th season against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Saturday, March 16 (5.00pm kick-off).
They have another 5.00pm Saturday kick-off for their away clash against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in round three at Christchurch's AMI Stadium on March 30 while they're back at Mount Smart Stadium in round four for their first taste of Friday night football when they take on the Gold Coast Titans on April 5 (8.00pm kick-off).
After a fifth-round road trip to Gosford to play South Sydney, the Vodafone Warriors are at home against the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday, April 20 (7.30pm kick-off).
The home game against St George Illawarra will be one of the eight matches on the bill for the first NRL Brisbane Magic Round
It has been confirmed that the club's scheduled home game against St George Illawarra will be one of the eight matches on the bill for the first NRL Brisbane Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium in May.
The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks will be the Vodafone Warriors' opponents for their other home game played outside Auckland at Wellington's Westpac Stadium in round 18 on Friday, July 19 (8.00pm kick-off).
Visiting Mount Smart Stadium during the season will be four of 2018's other top eight clubs (Melbourne, South Sydney, Penrith and Brisbane) while there will be four Friday night home games against the Titans, Raiders, Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs. Of the other six games at Mount Smart, four are Saturday fixtures and two are Sunday matches.
Everyone can make their plans now for all our home games at Mount Smart StadiumCameron George Vodafone Warriors CEO
"There's so much to be excited about now the draw is out and we know exactly who we'll be playing each week, when we'll be playing and where we'll be playing," said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.
"The beauty of the draw being done for the whole season is that everyone can make their plans now for all our home games at Mount Smart Stadium as well as making arrangements if they're looking to support us in Christchurch, Wellington or Australia.
"Now is the time to lock in memberships for everyone who hasn't done so already. We're going to have fantastic game days for our matches at Mount Smart so get on board and join the fun."
A breakdown of the 24 regular season matches shows the Vodafone Warriors have 12 Saturday games, seven on Friday night, four on Sunday and one on Thursday night (the annual Anzac Day encounter with the Melbourne Storm).
The Vodafone Warriors won't travel to Perth or Townsville in 2019
In other features, the Vodafone Warriors won't travel to Perth this season after a run of seven successive appearances there since 2012 and they won't have to make the trek to Townsville to face the Cowboys.
Of 2018's top eight teams, the Vodafone Warriors face the premiership-winning Sydney Roosters (away) and the Dragons only once. The other teams they don't play home and away are the Bulldogs (in Auckland), Wests Tigers (away at Campbelltown Stadium), the Cowboys (in Auckland), the Roosters (away) and the Parramatta Eels (away).
The Vodafone Warriors' first five matches of the season are against sides which failed to make the finals in 2019 but they have consecutive games against top eight teams the Dragons, Panthers, Broncos and Storm in May through to early June.
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VODAFONE WARRIORS - 2019 NRL DRAW
(NB: Local kick-off times listed)
1 Sat March 16 5.00pm v Bulldogs - Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
2 Sun March 24 6.10pm at Tigers - Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney
3 Sat March 30 5.00pm at Sea Eagles - AMI Stadium, Christchurch
4 Fri April 5 8.00pm v Titans - Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
5 Sat April 13 3.00pm at Rabbitohs - Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
6 Sat April 20 7.30pm v Cowboys - Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
7 Thu April 25 7.50pm at Storm - AAMI Park, Melbourne
8 Sun May 5 4.00pm v Knights - Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
9 Sat May 11 5.30pm v Dragons - Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane (NRL Brisbane Magic Round)
10 Fri May 17 6.00pm at Panthers - Panthers Stadium, Sydney
11 Sat May 25 7.30pm v Broncos - Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
13 Sat June 8 5.00pm v Storm - Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
14 Fri June 14 6.00pm at Titans - Cbus Super Stadium, Robina
15 Sun June 30 4.00pm v Panthers - Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
16 Sat July 6 7.35pm at Knights - McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
17 Sat July 13 5.30pm at Broncos - Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
18 Fri July 19 8.00pm v Sharks - Westpac Stadium, Wellington
19 Sat July 27 5.00pm at Eels - West Sydney Stadium, Sydney
20 Fri August 2 8.00pm v Raiders - Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
21 Fri August 9 8.00pm v Sea Eagles - Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
22 Sun August 18 2.00pm at Roosters - Venue to be confirmed
23 Sat August 24 3.00pm at Sharks - Shark Park, Sydney
24 Fri August 30 8.00pm v Rabbitohs - Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
25 Sat September 7 3.00pm at Raiders - GIO Stadium, Canberra
1 September 13-15 - Qualifying Semi Finals
2 September 20-21 - Semi Finals
3 September 27-28 - Preliminary Finals
4 October 6 - Grand Final