Sonny Bill Williams returns to Eden Park on Saturday, the ground where New Zealand won their second Rugby World Cup in 2011.
For what it’s worth, according to this article in the Telegraph via AAP, the Warriors aren’t too worried about him. Says Simon Mannering:
“He’ll be playing, so I’m sure I’ll bump into him at some stage during the game.”
Yeah probably. If you go in with that lackadaisical attitude you could be put fair on your arse by the new Roosters’ starting second rower.
But of more interest in the article is the amazing hoodoo that New Zealand Rugby League has at that ground.
Eden Park is the spiritual home of New Zealand rugby and has developed into a fortress for the All Blacks – they haven’t lost there since 1994.
But it has been a barren hunting ground for both the Kiwis and Warriors.
They haven’t won there in five combined attempts, starting with the Kiwis’ defeat to Australia in the 1988 World Cup final.
“We haven’t played too many games there,” Mannering said.
“We haven’t won them, but you can’t say it’s a hoodoo for us.
Amazingly it’s the exact opposite of the Union squads, and it’s an interesting choice considering it’s a Warriors home game. They could’ve easily kept this in Auckland but instead have rolled the dice against superstition in the hope for a few more bucks at the turnstyles.
I reckon this is going to backfire.
Remember when the Roosters moved their home game to the tropical climate of Darwin to play the tropically-acclimatised North Queensland so they could get a decent crowd?
Of course you do. It was last year. And we got fucking flogged. What a dumb move, and what a predictable public lashing it was.
So the Warriors, having not heeded the message born of that stupidity, have moved the game to Eden Park to play the Eden-acclimatised SBW.