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Draw ’24: Breaking it down in absolute

It won’t be simple for the Warriors to follow up a 2023 season that turned out to be among the finest in team history, but Andrew Webster and company are anxious to show that it wasn’t a one-time event.

The Kiwi team, who begin 2024 with five of their first eight games at home, has a different-looking schedule with an ANZAC Day game returning in New Zealand this year and a home game moved to Christchurch.

Teams they play twice

Only the Storm, who finished above of them on the ladder, will face them in their home and away games against the Sharks, Knights, Raiders, and other four 2023 finals teams. Throughout the year, they also get to witness the Bulldogs, Sea Eagles, and Dolphins twice.

Teams they play once

On paper at least, they have already won as they only have to face the previous year’s grand finals once. Their matchup with the Panthers is scheduled for Magic Round, when the Warriors will be the home team. The Origin players will be retreating from Game Two for the Broncos encounter in Auckland in Round 17. They also play once against the Wests Tigers, Rabbitohs, Dragons, Roosters, Cowboys, and Eels.

Day-by-day breakdown

Thursday: 1 game (1 home, 0 away)

Friday: 8 games (5 home, 3 away)

Saturday: 9 games (3 home, 6 away)

Sunday: 6 games (3 home, 3 away)

Turnaround time

5 days: 1 game

6 days: 4 games

7+ days: 18 games

The Rabbitohs are the only team with more turnarounds of seven or more days than the Warriors; interestingly, they are also only one game away from a five-day turnaround. This is before they play the Sea Eagles at 4 Pines Park on Friday in Round 24, following their Sunday match against the Dolphins in Queensland.

Opening month

Round 1: v Sharks (H)

Round 2: v Storm (A)

Round 3: v Raiders (H)

Round 4: v Knights (H)

The Warriors have a fascinating start to the season as they play three of their four games at home against 2023 championship opponents. They will go to Melbourne in Round 2 for their first visit to AAMI Park outside of ANZAC Day since 2015. The following week, they will play the Raiders in Christchurch and the Knights in Auckland, which is a replay of last year’s finals encounter.

Magic Round

The Warriors have their sole regular season meeting with Penrith during Magic Round, after losing to them 18-6 in the corresponding fixture last year. The Kiwi outfit haven’t had a Magic Round win since 2019 when they beat the Dragons.

State of Origin watch

They’ll probably be among the teams least affected by Origin again, and they have a bye in Round 13 before facing a Cowboys squad that will probably have a few players returning from Origin I a week later. Three days after Game Two in Melbourne, the Warriors face the Bulldogs, then take on the Titans in Round 16 without any of their representative contingent. They play Canberra on the Friday following Origin III, which may cause problems for anyone attempting to travel back 48 hours after the interstate match. They also have another bye in Round 19.

Can’t miss game

Round 8 v Titans, Thursday at Go Media Stadium (H)

The Titans, with whom they last played on this day of memory in 2015, will be the opponents on ANZAC Day in 2024, as the players and club leaders have been requesting. It’s a memorable game regardless of the situation, and the Warriors are playing their last four games against teams who didn’t make it into the playoffs last season.

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