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Tight bond has Warriors embracing life on the road

Playing away from the comforts of home has historically been one of the Warriors' biggest stumbling blocks but now presents little fear, thanks to a bond among the playing group that has them embracing opportunities to spend more time together.

Where many coaches have tried and failed to master trans-Tasman travel and getting the best out of the Warriors on Australian soil, Andrew Webster and the current group seem to have found the answer for success.

Last season's 8-4 road record was the New Zealand club's best since 2018, while so far this year they have earned a convincing win over the Rabbitohs in Sydney and were denied a drought-breaking victory in Melbourne only by a try-of-the-year contender on the final play of the game from Xavier Coates.

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The genuine friendship among the group isn't hard to see at training and during games, while even on days off this year many players have been opting to do things together, with invites onto Te Maire Martin's new boat currently the hottest ticket around at Go Media Stadium.

"It's been good fun on days off and the boys are enjoying it; we even had a night out on the water the other week," Martin tells 

The boys here all get along really well. I get along too well with them, which is why there is a long line wanting to come fishing!

Te Maire Martin

"But it's cool, it keeps your mind off footy and the rest of it, and it just keeps you happy. You've got to have a good balance.

"Sometimes we do talk about footy, even though it's obviously a time to get away from it, sometimes it actually helps and you might be thinking about something that you can do on the field.

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"The first week I got the boat Barny (Mitch Barnett) and Walks (Dylan Walker) came out with me and then that week they both got players' player awards, so I might have to do it more."

Over the years different strategies around arrival times in Australia and techniques to lessen the impact of travel have been tried with varying levels of success at the club. 

But when explaining the reasons behind last year's positive away record Webster said it's been simple tweaks to training schedules and the squad's mental approach that have made the difference. 

"We weren't victims around 'oh, it's hard to travel' we actually enjoyed it and went there with a real positive attitude," Webster said. 

"We design the week to make sure that they are ready for it physically and mentally. 

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"It's always enjoyable to win at home because you do it in front of your fans, but it's also a bigger sense of achievement when you do it on the road."

It will all be put to the test this Friday night when they face the Dragons at WIN Stadium, a venue where the Warriors have won just twice in 13 visits. 

The Kiwi side also have to contend with a six-day turnaround on the back of a 90-minute game in Round 6, with Shaun Johnson not training on Tuesday and Wayde Egan on a modified program due to soreness, but with both expected to play.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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