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Will it be home sweet home for Vodafone Warriors in 2021?

The NRL has today allocated 11 of the Vodafone Warriors’ 2021 home games to Mount Smart Stadium in the hope the borders will be reopened in time for the club to be based in Auckland next season.

The draw unveiled today confirms the Vodafone Warriors will launch their 27th season with back-to-back home games in the opening two rounds against the Gold Coast Titans (March 13) and the Newcastle Knights (March 19).

The 12th designated home match against Parramatta will be played at Suncorp Stadium in the NRL’s Magic Round (round 10).

Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George said the club remained optimistic it would be back home in 2021.

“We have always said our priority is to be playing at home in front of our families, members and fans in 2021,” he said.

We have always said our priority is to be playing at home in front of our families, members and fans in 2021

Cameron George Vodafone Warriors CEO

“While the Covid-19 situation has meant planning for all possibilities, being back at Mount Smart is our top wish. We couldn’t think of anything better after being forced to play away from home for the whole of this season.

“We have no control of any decisions around trans-Tasman border policy, but as of today we’re delighted that the NRL has officially allocated all our home games to Mount Smart.”

In another special feature of the draw, new Vodafone Warriors head coach Nathan Brown will have assignments against each of the two clubs he has previously coached in the first six rounds of the season. After encountering Newcastle in Auckland in round two, he takes on St George Illawarra in Sydney in round six.

An undoubted highlight will see the Vodafone Warriors hosting 2021 premier Melbourne in round 14 on Sunday, June 13 while they have a total of six home games against 2020 top eight clubs. As well as the Storm and the Knights, they also entertain Parramatta, Penrith, Cronulla Sutherland and Canberra.

After the opening games against the Titans and the Knights, the Vodafone Warriors face tough away trips in the next two rounds to take on the Raiders and the Sydney Roosters.

In a quirk of the draw, the season starts and finishes against the Titans.

The nine clubs the Vodafone Warriors face home and away are the Titans, Knights, Raiders, Sea Eagles, Dragons, Storm, Cowboys, Wests Tigers and Sharks. The clubs they take on once are the Roosters, Rabbitohs, Panthers, Bulldogs, Eels and Broncos.

The three clubs not travelling to play the Vodafone Warriors at home are South Sydney, the Sydney Roosters and Brisbane.

VODAFONE WARRIORS - 2021 NRL DRAW

(NB: local kick-off times listed)

1  Sat March 13     5.00pm        Titans                    Mount Smart Stadium

Fri March 19      8.00pm        Knights                 Mount Smart Stadium

3  Sat March 27      3.00pm        Raiders                  GIO Stadium

4  Sun April 4          6.15pm        Roosters                Sydney Cricket Ground

5  Fri April 9           8.00pm       Sea Eagles            Mount Smart Stadium

6  Sun April 18         2.00pm       Dragons                 Jubilee Stadium

7  Sun April 25         6.15pm        Storm                    AAMI Park

8  Sun May 2           4.00pm       Cowboys              Mount Smart Stadium

9  Sun May 9            2.00pm       Sea Eagles            Lottoland

10 Sun May 16         1.50pm      Eels                       Suncorp Stadium

11 Fri May 21           8.00pm       Wests Tigers        Mount Smart Stadium

12 Fri May 28           6.00pm        Cowboys               North Queensland Stadium

13 Bye

14 Sun June 13      4.00pm         Storm                   Mount Smart Stadium

15 Sat June 19        3.00pm         Knights                  McDonald Jones Stadium

16 Fri July 2            8.00pm        Dragons               Mount Smart Stadium

17 Sun July 11         4.05pm        Sharks                    Netsrata Jubilee Stadium

18 Sun July 18        4.00pm        Panthers               Mount Smart Stadium

19 Sat July 24          3.00pm         Rabbitohs              Sunshine Coast Stadium

20 Fri July 30           6.00pm         Wests Tigers          Bankwest Stadium

21 Sat August 7      5.00pm        Sharks                   Mount Smart Stadium

22 Sun August 15   4.00pm        Bulldogs                Mount Smart Stadium

23 Sun August 22     4.05pm        Broncos                   Suncorp Stadium

24 Fri August 27      8.00pm        Raiders                  Mount Smart Stadium

25 Sun September 5 2.00pm         Titans                     Cbus Super Stadium

FINALS

1 September 10-12                      Qualifying Semi Finals

2 September 17-18                      Semi Finals

3 September 24-25                      Preliminary Finals

4 October 3                                 Grand Final