HEAD TO HEAD | New Zealand Warriors

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49 matches [1995-2022]

30 wins, 18 losses, 1 draw

Stats: themightypanthers.com/results_headtohead_nzwarriors.htm

The Auckland Warriors were one of the four expansion teams bought into the re-branded Australian Rugby League (ARL) competition in 1995. One of the Warriors marquee signings for their first season was Penrith legend Greg Alexander, who understandably was after a fresh start after the death of his brother Ben in 1992.

The first match saw the Panthers travel ‘across the ditch’ to Auckland, midway through the premiership season. Penrith were amidst a run of good form on the field where they won 6 of their 7 matches. This was one of these 6, with the Panthers comfortably accounting for the Warriors with a 34-16 victory.

In 1996, the Warriors came to Penrith for the first time and left with the two competition points with a twn point win.

The two teams would compete in the 1997 Super League competition, and met twice during the regular season – Auckland prevailed 16-14 at home, and then later in the season the Panthers won yet another tight encounter, this time 26-22.

One off meetings would resume in 1998 and 1999, with wins to Auckland in 1998 and to Penrith in 1999.

In 2000, the Panthers won both encounters in the regular season, and in high scoring affairs, winning 31-24 at home and then 24-20 on the road.

2001 saw the Warriors renamed as the New Zealand Warriors, but were still based in Auckland.

The Warriors won both meeting in 2001 – a 52-8 thumping in Auckland, and put 48 later in the season at Penrith, but at least on that occasion the Panthers still were able to post 32 points of their own. It was two of only quite a few heavy losses inflicted on the Panthers that year, finishing with the wooden spoon.

The Warriors made it three in a row with yet another big win in their solitary meeting in 2002.

The 28-14 win by the Panthers at Ericcson Stadium and then the 34-12 win five weeks later at Penrith Stadium was within the eight match winning streak that was a part of the stellar premiership season that the Panthers put together as they finished minor premiers. The two teams would meet for a third time, in the preliminary final at Telstra Stadium. The Panthers were in control for the entire match, and prevailed 28-20 – the victory resulted in Penrith qualifying for its third grand final (after 1990 and 1991).

The Panthers extended their winning streak over the Warriors to six with wins over the 2004 and 2005 seasons, culminating in a 42-34 win at Penrith.

The Warriors broke the streak with a win at Mount Smart Stadium in July 2006, but only four weeks later the Panthers disposed of the Warriors at CUA Stadium with a 36-6 win.

The Panthers suffered a heavy loss to the Warriors in Auckland midway through the 2007 season, and whilst they were more competitive in the final round at Penrith, the Panthers still lost and consigned them to a second wooden spoon for the decade.

Honours were split in 2008 – a commanding 46-22 win at CUA Stadium in Round 10, and then going down 42-20 to the Warriors in Auckland, which was part of a late season slump that at the time saw the Panthers free fall out of the top 8.

The Panthers pulled off the equal biggest comeback in their one off meeting in 2009, trailing 30-8 in the second half and forcing a 32-all draw at the end of the 80 minutes. However, neither team were able to break the deadlock in the golden point period, and hence finished as a 32-all draw.

From 2010 to 2014, the two teams would meet twice a season in the premiership rounds.

The Panthers would post a 40-12 win at Mount Smart in Round 6 of the 2010 season, but then the Warriors would win the next four to their first meeting in 2012 at Centrebet Stadium. The Panthers broke the streak in the return match in Auckland, with a try in the dying minutes seeing the Panthers travel back across the Tasman with the win.

Penrith would win both meetings in 2013 – in Round 10, the Panthers ran 10 tries past the hapless Warriors. The Panthers were 62-0 in the dying minutes, and on track to record their biggest ever premiership win, but a late converted try to the Warriors relegated it back to the second biggest win ever. Later in the season, the Warriors put up a much bigger fight, and the Panthers were provided with enough luck to get away with a 28-24 win.

The Warriors won at home during the 2014 season, and then met in the final premiership match of the regular season at Penrith, with the top 4 bound Panthers winning 22-6 at Sportingbet Stadium.

The teams met only once in 2015, with the Panthers running out comfortable winners at Penrith.

In 2016, both meetings were in New Zealand, with the Panthers shifting a home match to AMI Stadium in Christchurch – the Panthers won that encounter 30-18, however, the Warriors struck back later in the season with a 20-16 win in golden point in Auckland.

In shades of the 2009 match at the same venue, the Panthers came back from a 28-6 half time deficit at Penrith in 2017 to score 30 unanswered second half points to sink the Warriors 36-28. A few months later in Auckland, Nathan Cleary swagged a 22 point haul in a 34-22 victory.

In 2018, the Panthers thrashed a woeful Warriors 36-4 at Penrith with Jarome Luai, in only his second NRL match carving up the visitors with two tries and six goals. However, the tables would be turned later in the season when the Warriors comfortably defeated an equally woeful Penrith in Auckland 36-16. They would meet for a third time in 2018 in the first week elimination final – the Warriors raced out to an early 12-2 lead however as was customary for the Panthers that year, they finished the stronger by posting 25 unanswered points to win 27-12.

In 2019, the honours were split – the Warriors comfortably accounted for a woeful Panthers team in Round 10 at Penrith, but only weeks later the Panthers turned in a gritty 19-18 golden point win in Auckland.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and international border closures, the Warriors were an Australian based team for most of the 2020 season, the entire 2021 season and would be for a large portion of the 2022 season as well.

Both matches in 2020 were played at neutral locations, and were both won by Penrith – at Campbelltown in Round 4 (Panthers home game) and then in Round 14 at Gosford (Warriors home game).

In 2021, they met just the once – in Brisbane, after the entire competition was relocated to Queensland in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney. In what was a designated home game for the Warriors, the Panthers were winners once again, 30-16 against a plucky and injury depleted Warriors outfit.

The Panthers met the Warriors in their last “home” match in Australia (at Redcliffe) in June 2022 before finally returning home to Auckland. It would not be the farewell the Warriors wanted, with the Panthers running out emphatic 40-6 victors. Later in the season, the Warriors scored first but were overwhelmed by the minor premiers in their final home match of the regular season, winning 46-12.

Last updated 14 December  2022


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